CELEBRATING 25: What Makes Glass So Captivating?

In 1997, The Corning Museum of Glass introduced a new attraction: The Hot Glass Show. It was an instant hit and quickly expanded beyond the original 90-seat theater hovering over the Steuben Glass Factory. In the past 25 years, the Museum has taken hot glass around the world—very literally—and to mark this special anniversary, we talked with some of our Hot Glass Team members.

This is part one of a three-part blog series. In this blog, we’ll meet some of the current members of the Hot Glass Team and learn what they think makes glass so captivating.

Eric Meek. Photo by David Leyes

Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs, hired in March 2005
“The process of glassmaking is beautiful and a bit mysterious, it’s unlike anything most people encounter day-to-day. When you combine that with a narrator who speaks passionately about the process from the maker’s perspective, that’s when the magic really happens. That human connection to an ancient process is the key to success.”

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Bill Gilbert, safety first laughter second

The work of the safety manager is never done. But, for Bill Gilbert, Senior Manager, Environment, Health and Safety at The Corning Museum of Glass for more than 17 years, it’s time to pass on the baton. Or, in Bill’s case, his high-vis vest and hard hat. At the end of last year, Bill announced his retirement, effective March 31, 2022.

Bill Gilbert

Since 2004, Bill has brought light and levity to the Museum’s many safety trainings without ever losing sight of the seriousness of the message at hand—safety first! Because of Bill Gilbert, safety at The Corning Museum of Glass has become a priority and a topic that our staff cares deeply about. That’s no easy feat, but Bill’s passion for the subject and years of experience matched with his empathy, charisma, and sense of humor have made his safety presentations legendary. For many staff, there are memories of accidents, events, projects, trips, slips, and falls that will always remind them of Bill.

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Museum Welcomes Alexia Hudson-Ward and Preston Singletary to Board of Trustees (Part 2: Preston Singletary)

The Corning Museum of Glass is delighted to announce that its Board of Trustees voted unanimously in December 2021 to appoint Alexia Hudson-Ward and Preston Singletary as its newest members. 

Alexia Hudson-Ward is the Associate Director of Research and Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries, and Preston Singletary is a Seattle-based, Native American glass artist of the Tlingit tribe.

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Museum Welcomes Alexia Hudson-Ward and Preston Singletary to Board of Trustees (Part 1: Alexia Hudson-Ward)

The Corning Museum of Glass is delighted to announce that its Board of Trustees voted unanimously in December 2021 to appoint Alexia Hudson-Ward and Preston Singletary as its newest members. 

Alexia Hudson-Ward is the Associate Director of Research and Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries, and Preston Singletary is a Seattle-based, Native American glass artist of the Tlingit tribe.

Read more →

The Maestro’s Farewell Tour: Corning Celebrates Lino Tagliapietra’s Impact on Glass

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum’s Amphitheater Hot Shop, May 13, 2022.

Lino Tagliapietra may be retiring, but not before one final visit to The Corning Museum of Glass. Last weekend was a monumental one for Lino, the glassblowers and staff at the Museum, and all the guests who filled the Amphitheater Hot Shop to see the Maestro at work during what will be his final performance in Corning.

To celebrate Lino’s enduring legacy, we asked those lucky enough to know and work with him, to describe the impact he has made on the glass world. To no surprise, the response was fervent and unanimous: Lino’s impact is, and will always be, extraordinary!

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 →

The Maestro’s Farewell Tour: Corning Celebrates Lino Tagliapietra’s Impact on Glass

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum’s Amphitheater Hot Shop, May 13, 2022.

Lino Tagliapietra may be retiring, but not before one final visit to The Corning Museum of Glass. Last weekend was a monumental one for Lino, the glassblowers and staff at the Museum, and all the guests who filled the Amphitheater Hot Shop to see the Maestro at work during what will be his final performance in Corning.

To celebrate Lino’s enduring legacy, we asked those lucky enough to know and work with him, to describe the impact he has made on the glass world. To no surprise, the response was fervent and unanimous: Lino’s impact is, and will always be, extraordinary!

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 →