Behind the scenes in the Museum Shops: Getting ready for the Just-After-Thanksgiving Sale

On the day after Thanksgiving, The Corning Museum of Glass opens its doors a little earlier than normal. Before the sun has come up, before the morning’s frost has melted away, an eager crowd of festive shoppers waits to come inside. Anticipation hangs in the air just outside the door: couples keeping each other’s hands warm, families remembering delicious plates of food from the night before, and avid bargain-hunters searching through the sales flier, circling their intentions.

datg_penguinAt 7 a.m. the doors open, everyone is welcomed inside with a friendly smile, and ushered toward a bustling holiday wonderland. The Museum Shops have been transformed: miniature pine trees in glass vases stand amongst the sculptural artwork of our local glassblowers, clusters of winter berries and magnolia leaves, planted in mirror cubes, accent the colorful displays of vintage Pyrex designs, and garlands of green ferns intertwined with fairy lights hang from the mezzanine balcony. All the while, hiding around every corner, giant white penguins and mosaic glass polar bears are on hand to point out glass gifts suitable for all the family.

The Just-After-Thanksgiving Sale is here, but it’s been a long time in the making. Read more →

Richard J. Urban hired as Digital Asset Manager and Strategist

The Corning Museum of Glass today announced the hire of Richard J. Urban, Ph.D. as its new digital asset manager and strategist. Urban brings more than 20 years of experience working in museum, library and cultural heritage informatics. He most recently served as an assistant professor at Florida State University’s College of Communications and Information. In his new role, Urban will direct the implementation of the new Piction digital asset management system, and collaboratively set and implement a strategic vision for how these assets can benefit CMoG’s current and future audiences. Urban will begin his new position on December 19, 2016.

Richard Urban, Digital Asset Manager and Strategist

Richard Urban, Digital Asset Manager and Strategist

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A gift fit for a princess

The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten took place on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. The princess, who would one day become Queen Elizabeth II, received over 2,500 wedding presents from all over the world. One such gift was this engraved Steuben crystal Merry-Go-Round bowl designed by Sidney Waugh and given to Princess Elizabeth by President Harry S. Truman and his wife Bess. In addition to the Trumans’ gift, Ambassador Lewis W. Douglas and his wife Peggy gave the couple 12 Steuben Audubon plates.

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The uncertain friendship of Van Leeuwenhoek and Vermeer

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), 1680 Jan Verkolije Oil on canvas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), 1680
Jan Verkolije
Oil on canvas
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) was a Dutch scientist best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope. From there, separating fact from fiction can be tricky. Key aspects of his career are uncertain: When did he start using microscopes? How did he make his lenses? Did he really craft hundreds of microscopes, as he claimed, or was this self-promotion? Some of these question have been resolved – we now know how Van Leeuwenhoek made lenses, but others remain.

One enduring mystery of van Leeuwenhoek’s life is whether or not he knew his contemporary, painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). Their lives are seemingly intertwined. They were born within a week of each other in October of 1632 in Delft, a small, but cosmopolitan city of 20,000 known for its tapestries, pottery, tiles and paintings. They lived within blocks of each other. The connection is so strong that many have pondered the implications of these giants of 17th century art and science being acquaintances: the conversations they might have had, their influence on their work. Yet, there is no conclusive evidence they knew or even met each other. Read more →

Ennion Society acquires 14 English scent bottles for the Museum

The Woodall team working on The Great Tazza and a two-handed vase, 1891

The Woodall Team working on the Great Tazza and a
two-handled vase Amblecote, England, 1891. CMGL 97796.

An exquisite collection of late 19th-century English scent bottles are the most recent gift to The Corning Museum of Glass from the Ennion Society, the Museum’s patron group. The 14 bottles represent a wide variety of cameo glass styles produced by Thomas Webb and Sons, a prolific and innovative glass house based in Amblecote, England. This collection of bottles demonstrates the variety of techniques used in the production of carved cameo glass, from the simple to the spectacular. Work by artists and engravers Jules Barbe, Harry A. Davies, and Fridolin Kretschman, who worked under the supervision of brothers Thomas and George Woodall, is included. Read more →

How To Clean Pyrex

Stephen Koob is the chief conservator at The Corning Museum of Glass and is responsible for the care and preservation of the Museum’s collections.

Editor’s note: Stephen Koob works in a lab where he takes seriously all safety precautions when dealing with chemicals. Please note that we strongly recommend using the precautions noted below before using lye. Should you experience any adverse effects, please contact your local Poison Control for information.

How To Clean Pyrex from Corning Museum of Glass Conservator Stephen Koob

Cleaning your beloved Pyrex — whether clear, colored, decorated, or plain — can be a challenge and should be done with care.

First, never, ever put any Pyrex through a dishwasher. This is the fastest and most damaging thing that you can do. It will slowly etch the Pyrex, and probably will not even do a decent job cleaning it. I generally recommend that you never put any glass through a dishwasher.

Second, never use any scrubbing sponge, even if it says “safe for glass,” or “non-scratch.” This includes wire wool cleaning pads.

Also avoid using sharp implements to clean off caked-on or burnt food. Glass can easily be scratched.

So, what do you use? Read more →

Blaschka Glass Marine Creatures Exhibition Opens May 14, 2016

Specimen of Blaschka Marine Life: Ulactis muscosa (Nr. 116), Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, Dresden, Germany, 1885. Lent by Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. L.17.3.63-54.

This May, The Corning Museum of Glass will present Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, an exhibition featuring nearly 70 exquisitely detailed glass models of marine invertebrates made by the legendary father-and-son team. Created as scientific teaching aids in the late 19th century, the models capture the diversity and splendor of aquatic life more than 100 years ago. Read more →