Founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works as a gift to the nation for the company’s 100th anniversary, the Corning Museum of Glass is a not-for-profit museum dedicated to telling the story of a single material – Glass. Thomas S. Buechner, who would later become director of the Brooklyn Museum, was the founding director of the glass museum, serving in the post from 1951 to 1960 and again from 1973 to 1980.
The Museum’s Glass Collection showcases more than 35 centuries of glass artistry. The Museum’s collection of contemporary artworks includes pieces by significant artists such as Klaus Moje, Karen LaMonte, Bruno Pedrosa, Dale Chihuly, Libenský / Brychtová and Josiah McElheny. The Glass Collection Galleries show the most comprehensive and celebrated glass collection in the world. The galleries explore Near Eastern, Asian, European, and American glass and glassmaking from antiquity through present day. They tell the story of glass creation, from a full-scale model of an Egyptian furnace, to the grand factories of Europe, to the small-scale furnaces that fueled the Studio Glass movement that began in America in 1962. The galleries contain objects representing every country and historical period in which glassmaking has been practiced. The galleries include: Glass in Nature, Origins of Glassmaking, Glass of the Romans, Glass in the Islamic World, Early Northern European Glass, The Rise of Venetian Glassmaking, Glass in 17th-19th Century Europe, 19th Century European Glass, Asian Glass, Glass in America, Corning: From Farm Town to “Crystal City,” Paperweights of the World and Modern Glass.
The Corning Museum of Glass offers exhibitions year-round. Past exhibitions have included: Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes and Peasants, East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries and Mirror to Discovery: The 200-Inch Disk and the Hale Reflecting Telescope at Palomar. Several special exhibitions are offered at the Museum and the Rakow Research Library each year, from shows focused on specific artists to major exhibitions on important topics in glass and glass history.