Karol Wight: Highlights from a Decade at the Museum

To mark 10 years with The Corning Museum of Glass, President and Executive Director Karol Wight looks back at some of the most memorable moments of her tenure.

“Last year marked my tenth anniversary with the Museum,” Karol said, “and I am irrevocably changed by the experience. From the opening of our award-winning Contemporary Art + Design Galleries to shepherding this institution through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am endlessly inspired by our creative and dedicated staff, our breathtaking collections, our depth of scholarship, and our pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement.”

Karol Wight at the Museum in 2021.
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2021: the best of Instagram

Hello, and welcome to 2022!

In 2021, our visitors found delight, inspiration, and above all else, bright colors at the Museum!

Photos, top to bottom, left to right: @casadegarcia_, @outlawglassco, @mdi_stainedglass, @wanderlustonabudget, @dimitri_unique, @crocodileglock, @cosogallery, @katemurraystudios, @ldab_glass

From making glass at The Studio to painting Fred Wilson’s To Die Upon a Kiss chandelier, visitors created their own works of art in our spaces and about work in our collection.

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The Warmest Welcome: Frank Starr, a memorial

Frank Starr embraces Studio student and glass artist, Olga Rozin, at his home in Corning’s Northside neighborhood.

The Studio and glassmaking community lost a dear friend, Frank Starr, who passed away in October 2021. Frank opened his home and his heart to countless Studio students and artists who traveled to Corning to work and study at the Museum.

A native of Corning, Frank worked at the Museum as a Gallery Educator in the Education Department before his retirement in 2006. Frank was the inspiration for The Studio’s Fun With Glass group glassmaking program. Says Studio Director Amy Schwartz, “Frank would bring groups of school children over to The Studio from the Museum and ask if they might try things. He had such a spirit of generosity and he loved to share and exchange ideas.”

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Glass Kwanzaa Display Gets a Refresh

Kwanzaa (pronounced kwahn-zuh) is a vibrant cultural holiday observed from December 26-January 1 that celebrates the African American community. The holiday serves as a time to gather as a family unit and cultural community to affirm communal values and African heritage.

Kwanzaa Setting on display at The Corning Museum of Glass.

The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili (Kiswahili) phrase mutaunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa combines aspects of several African harvest celebrations and focuses on the Nguzo Saba (seven principles) in the Swahili language. Each principle is commemorated in the daily lighting of a candle known as the mishumma saba (seven candles) along with a communal discussion about what the day’s principle means in the African American community.

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A Bull in a China Shop: Red Bull Spends a Night at the Museum

Aaron Colton is ready to ride his motorcycle through The Corning Museum of Glass. *

As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.

Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.

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2022: The International Year of Glass!

A Bordeaux Wine Glass by Riedel (83.3.222), featured in the 2021 exhibition Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?

For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.

Read more →

No Sign of Slowing Down: The Corning Museum of Glass Turns 70!

For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.

In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.

The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951.

To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.

So, let’s go back to where it all began.

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The Life-Saving Work of Glass: Corning’s Valor Glass Houses COVID-19 Vaccine

The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.  

Valor Glass Lab. Photo courtesy of Corning Incorporated.

Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.  

Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.  

Read more →

A Bull in a China Shop: Red Bull Spends a Night at the Museum

Aaron Colton is ready to ride his motorcycle through The Corning Museum of Glass. *

As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.

Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.

Read more →

2022: The International Year of Glass!

A Bordeaux Wine Glass by Riedel (83.3.222), featured in the 2021 exhibition Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?

For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.

Read more →

No Sign of Slowing Down: The Corning Museum of Glass Turns 70!

For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.

In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.

The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951.

To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.

So, let’s go back to where it all began.

Read more →

The Life-Saving Work of Glass: Corning’s Valor Glass Houses COVID-19 Vaccine

The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.  

Valor Glass Lab. Photo courtesy of Corning Incorporated.

Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.  

Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.  

Read more →