From NASCAR to Netflix, everything is Connected by Glass

This week, on October 1, 2020, the Museum’s virtual program Connected by Glass will air its 10th episode, a special discussion in connection with our new mini-exhibit Transparent: voting in America.

To reach this milestone is an exciting and well-deserved one for all of the staff working behind the scenes to bring you these engaging conversations, and the topic this week is an apt one for such an occasion.

This week’s episode will be moderated by Marvin Bolt, curator emeritus of science and technology at The Corning Museum of Glass, and he’ll be joined by special guests Ellery Foutch, assistant professor in American Studies at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and Mark Johnson, a civil rights attorney in Kansas City who teaches election law at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas.

The discussion will focus on topics touched on in the exhibition, including the notion that our past gives evidence showing that democracy can survive deep disagreements and that the desire for transparency in voting is a core value of our nation.

But how did we get here, and what is Connected by Glass all about?

Connected by Glass was a program born out of the Museum’s four-month closure from March to July 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With guests unable to visit us onsite here in Corning, our creative teams pioneered a new medium with which we could continue to educate, entertain, and inspire the glass community and beyond in their own homes. This was all made possible with the assistance of Microsoft Teams, a platform the Museum had slowly been integrating, but with COVID was forced to adapt to quicker than planned. Our very capable AV Team learned the intricacies of connecting multiple staff and specialist speakers from around the globe and livestreaming the discussion to our followers. Over time, our understanding grew, and we began to share each episode live on Facebook and YouTube as well. During the course of the presentation, viewers get the opportunity to ask questions which are then answered during a Q&A at the end. Each episode is recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel so that the topic can be enjoyed again and again.

Across the nine existing episodes, we’ve explored a variety of far-reaching topics, utilizing the talents and knowledge of Museum staff and the expertise of their peers and colleagues from outside the Museum profession. We’ve discovered along the way that glass plays an integral role in many facets of our lives.

Topics have included a catch up with the cast and crew from Netflix’s hit show Blown Away; an investigation into secret codes engraved in glass goblets to celebrate Pride month; an update from glassblowers in Murano; a look at the connection CMoG has formed with our close neighbor Watkins Glen International race track; and deeper explorations into the fascinating worlds of fiber optic technology, window glass, and microscopes.  

On some occasions, our search for guest speakers has also been far-reaching. We’ve been joined by a former NASCAR driver from Australia, a window historian from England, a glass expert from the Netherlands, and a cadre of familiar faces from the glasshouses of Murano, Italy. We’ve even talked to some folks in the media, including the host of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel, and the executive producer of PBS NOVA.  

And with this globe-trotting, high-profile group, the success of the program has truly been international. We’ve had viewers join us live from New Zealand, France, Japan, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, and many other countries, and of course from states all across the US, from California to Maine!

With such success already under our belt, we’re excited about where this program will go next, excited by the interesting people we will engage with, both as guests and viewers, and eager to see just how far our reach can go!

For the full playlist of Connected by Glass episodes, including our members-only sneak peek into what our curators have been up to this year, please visit our YouTube channel.

You can tune in to the next episode of Connected by Glass on October 1 at 7 pm.

For more information about the exhibition, Transparent: voting in America, please visit our website. The exhibition is on view through March 31, 2021.

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