The Corning Museum of Glass has appointed Dr. Marvin Bolt, vice president for collections at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, as its first curator of science and technology. He will assume his role in November 2013 and be responsible for managing the Museum’s science and technology collection, exhibitry and programming.
“The Corning Museum of Glass is unique in its focus on a single material that has applications in both art and industry, and is a pioneer in the application of scientific techniques to examine glass artifacts,” said Dr. Karol Wight, the Museum’s executive director. “It is a natural progression for us to add a science curator to our accomplished curatorial team, who are experts in the historic, cultural and artistic aspects of glass. We are delighted Marv is joining us and look forward to his contributions to our science-focused exhibitions and related collection.”
As curator of science and technology, Bolt will enhance the Corning Museum’s science and technology-based collections and exhibits; refine its science interpretation for a diverse audience, from schoolchildren to working scientists; develop new scientifically focused educational programs; and increase accessibility to the Museum’s scientific research and collections through digital channels.
“I am thrilled to join The Corning Museum of Glass in this exciting new role,” said Bolt. “Through the medium of glass, the Corning Museum plays a vital role in showing how culture, technology, innovation, and application progress hand-in-hand. I especially look forward to contributing to the wonderful work of the Innovations Center, which helps visitors understand myriad concepts in the science and technology of glassmaking.”
Bolt, a specialist in telescopes, comes to The Corning Museum of Glass from the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago, IL, where he was curator of the history of astronomy and vice president for collections at the Adler’s Webster Institute for the History of Astronomy. There, he oversaw a collection of approximately 2,500 objects and artifacts from the 13th to the 20th century and curated numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions including, Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass (2009-present) and Evening Amusements! Popular Astronomy, 1750-1930 (2002-2003).
Bolt has lectured and published widely. He is currently working on the publication Optical Instruments: Historic Scientific Instruments of the Adler. He also has served as a grants referee for NASA and NSF, and has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame. He holds a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science, as well as two Master’s degrees in philosophy and the history and philosophy of science, all from the University of Notre Dame. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, with a minor in mathematics and education, from Calvin College.
The Innovations Center at The Corning Museum of Glass is a hands-on gallery that introduces visitors to the science and technology of glass in all its applications from the industrial to the artistic. Designed by Ralph Appelbaum and Associates, it explores concepts of optics, vessels and windows through interactives, object displays, oral histories and live demonstrations. At the center of the gallery is the famous 200-inch telescope blank cast in 1934 for the Hale Reflecting Telescope at the Palomar Observatory.
The Museum’s glass collection includes numerous specimens of naturally occurring glass objects such as tektites and glass sea sponges, and scientific glass objects such as early telescope disks and 19th-century optical eye models. The Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass holds in its collection early manuscripts, books and materials related to the scientific properties of glass and glassmaking, including a 1704 edition of Opticks by Sir Isaac Newton.
From 1960 to 2010, the Scientific Research department of The Corning Museum of Glass pioneered the application of numerous scientific techniques to the examination of historical glass artifacts and to the study of the history of glassmaking. The findings of this research, done in collaboration with archaeologists and scientists from around the world, have been shared in more than 190 publications on the archaeology, chemistry, and conservation of glass.
Science-focused events and programs are held regularly for local families at the Museum, and an after-school, semester-long Junior Scientist program offers local teens an opportunity to explore the science of glass through hands-on experiments and research.