Carder Glass Display on Market Street

Since 2001, the Museum has partnered with The Rockwell Museum of Western Art and Corning, Inc. to present a display of glass work in a window front on Corning’s historic Market Street. Located in the Corning, Inc. Learning Center on the corner of Market and Walnut streets, the display highlights glass designed by Frederick Carder (1863–1963), an English designer who managed Steuben Glass Works from its founding in 1903 until 1932, and includes glass from both the Rockwell Museum and The Corning Museum of Glass.

The display of Carder glass on Market Street, Corning, NY

The display of Carder glass on Market Street, Corning, NY

Local residents and frequent visitors to Corning may have noticed that the display of Carder glass on Market street is taken down every winter. This is done for the safety of the glass. The angle of the sun during the winter months causes the display cases to be in sunlight for most of the day. Sunlight itself does not hurt the glass, but the heat that builds up in combination with the drying effect of winter heating causes the humidity in the cases to be extremely low (10-20%) and the temperature high (120 degrees or higher). The display cases get really hot during the day (which lowers the relative humidity) and much cooler at night (which increases the relative humidity). This extreme fluctuation of both the temperature and the humidity during a 24 hour period is especially harmful to the glass. Since the air conditioning doesn’t run during the winter months, there is no way to cool the display area and thus no way to prevent the extreme fluctuations.

The back of the display cases on Market street during de-installation.

The rectangular device in the bottom of the display case is a hygrothermograph which measures and records temperature and relative humidity. We rely on these instruments to keep track of the climate conditions in display cases throughout the museum.

The glass pieces are usually removed in December and re-installed in the spring. This year there will be a new display with more photographs which will be able to remain year round. Look for it in April!

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Astrid van Giffen is the Museum's associate conservator. In 2007, she completed the conservation training program of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a specialization in glass and ceramics. Her training included internships at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD, and The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. Since completing the ICN program, she’s worked as a private conservator in Oregon and was the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Objects Conservation at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies of the Harvard Art Museum (2008-2009). She also holds a BA (2001) in Classical Studies from Willamette University.