Coming to the Corning Museum of Glass was an entirely new endeavor in my young career as an art historian. Glass was a world away from my early intentions in life and even as I studied decorative art history, it was hardly a player in my thoughts of what I loved in the field. But of course, this place changed that VERY quickly.
I came to the museum in June to be the Curatorial Research Assistant. What is that you ask? A mouthful of a job title, I know. At the museum we have four curators who each work with distinct aspects of the collection. There is ancient glass, European glass, American glass, and modern and contemporary glass (with some overlapping as you can imagine). I work with all four curators, which leads to an office full of piles, but also the excitement of something different to think about and work on every day. Each curator has one day with me to give me projects, inquiries, collection research, library research, and anything they can think of for that day. While the 5th day is technically considered “my” day, I tend to spend it working with the Museum’s registrars, who work hard to put order to the ever growing collection and manage all the information that has been collected throughout the years.
Is this a lot to handle? Some days, it can seem a bit daunting as I dig through a pile searching for some notes I swear I put there, then again, I work well in ordered chaos. My largest and overarching project for my three years here is to work with the bead collection and try to get a grasp on its full extent and how we may utilize that collection, allowing me to spend many hours in the farthest reaches of storage with only my iPod for company. This will hopefully end in the realization that we have an amazing collection of glass beads that will add even more context to our already incredible glass collection.