Graffiti at the Museum

Markings for the construction at The Corning Museum of Glass

As you walk through the Museum’s parking lot or in the construction zone of the old bus parking lot and under the Courtyard Stage, you will see mysterious dots, arrows, and lines sprayed onto the asphalt surface.  They come in a variety of colors.

NY 800-862-7962 or

NY 800-862-7962 or

I got a lesson in what they mean.  As you might suspect, there is an Institute, Association, or Society which issues guidelines for which colors represent what underground facilities.  The American Public Works Association (and its Canadian affiliate) has established a Uniform Color Code.  This paint marking system is used to lay out a surface representation of underground utility lines. Pink is for temporary survey markings. Red is for electric power lines, cables, conduit, & lighting cables. Yellow is for gas, oil, steam, petroleum and gaseous material. Orange is for communications, alarm, signal lines, cables or conduit. Blue is for potable water. Purple is for reclaimed water. Green is for sewers and drain lines. White is for proposed excavation.

As you can imagine, in the complex of buildings around our parking lot, pipes and conduit have been added and subtracted many times over the years. Buildings were built, modified, brought up to the current Building Code, portions abandoned, fiber optic cable added, new steam lines added, electrical systems upgraded, etc.

steam line marking

Two steam lines 2 feet deep.

The contractor called the UFPO or Underground Facilities Protective Organization (800-862-7962) to mark all of the known utilities out on the pavement. Red marks the electrical lines. Sometimes there is a number next to the line. It is the depth in feet or inches. H.V. stands for High Voltage. There are yellow lines for gas and steam. STM stands for steam. There are blue water lines including the sprinkler lines. There are also some green lines most or all of which are for storm sewers. There are some catch basins, manholes, handholes and valve covers which are also painted or marked.

The painted lines show the direction of the pipe. As you walk across the lot, it will give you some idea of what lies below.

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John Cowden works with special projects at The Corning Museum of Glass and supported the Hot Glass Show Innovation theater construction project in his retirement. Cowden was a supervisor and narrator at the Hot Glass Show from 1999 to 2011. Before joining the Museum, Cowden had more than 10 years of experience in the field of glassworking, primarily using cold working techniques, processes such as slumping, making molds, grinding, and polishing, where time is not a pressure.

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