April is a special time at The Corning Museum of Glass, and one of my favorites. Not just because the flowers are beginning to bloom and the leaves beginning to return, but because it is the celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 7 through 13. This year we appreciate and recognize our volunteers by demonstrating how they contribute to our mission: To inspire people to see glass in a new light. Thank you to our docent Karen Biesanz for collecting the volunteer voices represented in this blog post, and to all of our volunteers and docents for continuing to delight and surprise us and our Museum guests.
— Jessica Trump, Volunteer & Internship Program Supervisor
The Corning Museum of Glass hopes our visitors have an outstanding experience. Our friendly volunteers help guests feel comfortable as they connect with the Museum’s displays on the science, history, and art of glassmaking through the centuries.
Here are just a few of the suggestions that volunteers like to mention to visitors:
1. Don’t miss the Hot Glass Demonstrations. Many volunteers strongly urge our guests to attend a glassblowing show to watch a blown-glass design materialize in 25 minutes.
2. Take a tour. Docent Karen Navaie knows visitors can’t see everything in a day or two. She definitely recommends taking a tour to catch the highlights.
3. Be sure to visit the Innovation Center. Yizhou Zhang recommends the guests see its science and technology exhibits. She notes that visitors are amazed to view real optical fiber for the first time.
4. See all of Corning. Volunteer and docent Liz Berliner wants visitors to see our city through the periscope in the Innovation Center’s Optics Gallery to spot local landmarks.
5. Stay connected. Many volunteers advise visitors about the museum’s free WiFi and the 40+ free power stations for mobile devices located throughout the Museum campus.
6. Pick your favorite objects. Volunteers love to share their favorite objects in The Museum. Sharon Colacino likes to take guests to the American gallery to see “off-hand glass,” or whimsies. Glassworkers in the past were allowed to use the glass remaining in the tanks to make whatever they fancied at the end of their work day.
7. Don’t miss the natural glass. Docents like to show visitors how nature created glass long before humans did. Might nature have inspired inventive humans to try to make it?
8. Take a break. Docent Mary Young likes to show Museum visitors where they can find seats to relax and contemplate.
9. Be surprised! Volunteer and docent Mary Margeson likes to show our guests the glass Olympic Gold medal from the 1992 Albertville games in France. One day, a Canadian hockey player asked where it was located and Mary was thrilled to be able to direct him right to it!
10. Come back tomorrow. Volunteer Barbara Fisher reminds guests that museum admissions are good for two days and include all live demonstrations plus a free shuttle bus to downtown.
The good feelings generated by our personable volunteers help our guests develop a positive museum experience. The Corning Museum of Glass is grateful to them for the important role they play.
Interested in becoming a docent guide or volunteer at the Corning Museum of Glass? Contact [email protected] for more information.