Next Stop, ‘America for Beginners’: a novel comes to Corning

This blog post comes to us from guest contributor, Leah Franqui, a Philadelphia-native now living in Mumbai, author of the debut novel ‘America for Beginners’ (2018). The fascinating story of a wealthy widow from India who takes a tour of America in search of her long-lost son, ‘America for Beginners’ weaves its characters into the very fabric of America, and makes not least of all, a stop at our very own Corning Museum of Glass.

Get your summer reading started early while you continue social distancing, and find out what inspired Franqui to set a scene within the Museum’s galleries and the affect it has on her characters.


 
Leah Franqui

It’s probably not every bachelorette party that includes The Corning Museum of Glass on their itinerary, and frankly, that might be for the best. It is a glass museum, after all. But my bachelorette party knew me well, so they knew that while I would love the wine tastings they’d organized for me in the Finger Lakes, the real star of the show would be in Corning, where I would finally visit the museum in real life that I had been looking at online for months.  

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Virtual Journeys into our Collection: Behind the Glass with our Curators

This recurring blog series will feature virtual gallery walks with staff members from The Corning Museum of Glass. Everyone at our Museum interacts with the collection in different ways depending on the job they do and the perspective they bring. Hear from fascinating people and learn about their favorite objects as they provide a virtual peek at some of the treasures in our collection—and make plans to come see them in person when we reopen! This next comes from the curatorial team.


 

The curators at The Corning Museum of Glass come from backgrounds as diverse as their specialties. But something they have in common is their love for the collection and being able to share and talk about it with our guests; through the exhibitions they curate, the tours they give, and the lectures they present.

The Museum’s curators. Left to right: Alexandra Ruggiero, Christopher Maxwell, Susie J. Silbert, Katherine Larson, Marvin Bolt, and Linnea Seidling in front.

So, if you’ve already binge-watched everything on Netflix or simply can’t remember the last time you geeked out on an unusual topic, then our curators have some ideas for you. Several times a year, the Museum hosts a lecture series called Behind the Glass and invites amazing artists, researchers, and deep glassy thinkers to the Museum to give cool talks to our members and guests. Fortunately for us, many of these talks were recorded and are available on our YouTube channel for times just like these when we can’t stray far from the couch. We asked our curators to share their favorites.

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There and Back Again, A Steuben Story

In the glass world, the words “Steuben crystal” prompt numerous nostalgic reactions. Some may think of brilliant sculptural pieces gifted by U.S. presidents for decades; some may have fond memories of visiting the flagship Steuben store in Manhattan; some may reflect on the prismatic champagne flutes used on their wedding day, and some may think of how disappointed they were when Steuben ceased operations in 2011. However, what some people may not realize is that the Steuben brand was reacquired by Corning Incorporated in 2011, licensed to The Corning Museum of Glass in 2013, and is very much alive and well in 2020.  

Steuben’s Crusader Bowl,

A brief history of the Steuben brand   

Founded in 1903, Steuben, under the leadership of Frederick Carder, originally focused on producing colored glass much like other European glass companies at the time. Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) acquired the brand in 1918. In 1932, the proprietary formula that Steuben is best known for was developed. The glass produced from this formula has a high refractive index, causing cascades of rainbows to emit from the glass when hit by light. The development of this hallmark crystal led to all colored glass eventually being phased out of production in favor of this new, clear alternative. This signified a seismic shift in the Steuben brand – one that remains intact to this day.     

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Virtual Journeys into our Collection: Thoughts from a Librarian

This recurring blog series will feature virtual gallery walks with staff members from The Corning Museum of Glass. Everyone at our Museum interacts with the collection in different ways depending on the job they do and the perspective they bring. Hear from fascinating people and learn about their favorite objects as they provide a virtual peek at some of the treasures in our collection—and make plans to come see them in person when we reopen! This next comes from Regan Brumagen, associate librarian, public services, at The Rakow Research Library.


 
Regan Brumagen

When I first came to The Corning Museum of Glass over a decade ago, I was familiar with just one glass artist—bingo, it was Dale Chihuly. It wasn’t long after I arrived, however, that I began to learn about a “local” glass luminary named Frederick Carder.

I first encountered his name when I was looking for a house. The realtor told me the house I was considering was in the Carder school district. Then on my introductory tour of the Museum, my guide took me into the Carder Gallery, filled with Carder’s colorful, elegantly shaped glass. As a reference librarian at The Rakow Research Library, over the years I have been able to research and learn more about the fascinating person behind this glass and his connections with the Corning community. 

Exploring Carder’s story has led me to discover some of my favorite library objects as well.

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From CMoG with Love: Five Feel-Good Stories

The Corning Museum of Glass may be closed temporarily to guests and staff alike while the COVID-19 pandemic affects our community, but that doesn’t mean the work stops. Our staff and their families have been hard at work in many wonderful ways to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect our institution, our collections, our communities, and ourselves while maintaining our position as a world leader on glass.

Here are just a few of the things that we’ve been up to.

Masks and gloves boxed up and ready for donation.

1. When the Museum temporarily closed to the public on Monday, March 16, 2020, and asked its staff to work from home, an assessment was made of ways that we could continue to operate and send aid to the local community. Our Operations team searched the campus and located 2,000 masks, 1,000 gloves, and some safety glasses, that could all be donated.

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CMoG Keeps You Busy: Things You Can Do at Home

Are you at home and in need of new sources of inspiration? Have you already exhausted your to-do list of house projects, cleaned the kitchen multiple times, finished several books, and asked everyone you know what’s good on Netflix? Well, don’t worry, The Corning Museum of Glass has some fresh ideas for you and the whole family.

We’ve searched our blog archive for a selection of unique things you can do from the comfort of your own home while still practicing social distancing, so let’s see what’s on the agenda for today.

 

Perhaps it’s time you dusted off all the old Pyrex you have stored away in various cupboards and hidden in the attic and gave everything a thorough clean.

Read this blog about how to correctly clean your Pyrex collection and restore everything to its former glory. Maybe you’ll want to start baking afterward!

 
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Connect with The Corning Museum of Glass from your Couch: A Guide to our Digital Offerings

Dear blog readers,   

We are in the midst of an unprecedented moment for museums and cultural institutions across the country. With widespread closures due to COVID-19, our most direct way to reach the public is no longer a viable option. We are all doing what we can to make sure the visitors who would normally walk through our doors know that they can still engage with us from the comfort of their homes.  

The Corning Museum of Glass

Currently, The Corning Museum of Glass is closed, and all scheduled classes, events, and programs are canceled until further notice. It’s vital that we do our part to promote social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19. And while you’re doing your part to stick close to home, we know you’ll be in need of some educational entertainment.   

With our vast and myriad collection of online resources, we’ve got you covered.  

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The Corning Museum of Glass Partners on Glass Competition Show Blown Away 

The Corning Museum of Glass is thrilled to share news of an exciting collaboration on the forthcoming Netflix series, Blown Away, which will bring the art and beauty of glassblowing to television screens around the world. A visually compelling process often described as “mesmerizing” and “captivating,” glassblowing has never been the subject of any major TV programming—until now.  

The art glass competition show created by Marblemedia, an award-winning entertainment company based in Toronto, Canada, Blown Away features a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America creating beautiful works of art that are assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist is eliminated each episode until a winner is announced in the tenth and final episode. A co-production with Blue Ant Media of Toronto, Blown Away will air on the Makeful channel in Canada before coming to the Netflix platform worldwide later this year.

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