35 Centuries of Glass

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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Although most people think of glass as a man-made material, it is found in many forms in the natural world. Volcanoes spew molten rock, lightning strikes desert and beach sands, meteorites pound the earth, and sea sponges and microscopic organisms inhabit the waters. All of these things—and even lunar soils—are materially related to the man-made glass that we use every day.

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35 Centuries of Glass Galleries

The 35 Centuries of Glass Galleries show the most comprehensive and celebrated glass collection in the world. The galleries explore Near Eastern, Asian, European, and American glass and glassmaking from antiquity through present day. They tell the story of glass creation, from a full-scale model of an Egyptian furnace to the grand factories of Europe, and, then America, and finally, to the small-scale furnaces that fueled the Studio Glass movement that began in America in 1962. The galleries contain objects representing every country and historical period in which glassmaking has been practiced.

The story of glass began more than 3,500 years ago and the galleries document the triumphs of glassmaking history. Several galleries feature a tableau that further illustrates how the objects were found, created, or sold.

Explore the galleries by area:

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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The works on view in this area illustrate the ingenuity of the earliest glassmakers, who used a variety of techniques to shape and decorate glass objects, including vessels, jewelry, inlays, and sculpture.

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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The works of Roman glass on view in this area of the 35 Centuries of Glass Galleries attest to the creativity of the ancient glass artists who developed new glassmaking techniques and distributed their wares throughout the Mediterranean and northern Europe.

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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The rise of Islam, and the resulting expansion of Muslim territories through the seventh century A.D., ultimately gave rise to a society that kept alive many of the achievements that were lost in the west.

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The quantity and quality of glass made in Europe declined following the collapse of the Roman Empire. From the 13th to the 17th centuries, the glasshouses of central and northern Europe, produced tableware, storage containers, and windowpanes.

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During the Renaissance (1300-1700), rural glasshouses all over Europe produced glass for daily use. Luxury glassmaking was revived, especially in Venice, where colorless and colored glass was crafted on the nearby island of Murano. This display focuses on glassmaking in Venice and its influence on glass production in other European countries.

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This section of the 35 Centuries of Glass Galleries presents a broad range of glass from the Baroque to the late Victorian periods.

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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Glassmakers responded to the growing demand for elegant consumer goods with high-quality products that were simple and restrained. The skill of the decorators—the glass cutters, engravers, and painters—became as important as that of the glassblowers.

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The Asian Glass case includes carved ceremonial objects from early China, blown and cut vessels made in Japan, beaded containers from Indonesia, and a variety of luxury glassware from India.

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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The displays of American glass show the history of its production in the American colonies and the United States from the 18th century until about 1920. The objects range from a few very rare pieces hand-blown in the earliest factories to mass-produced canning jars and bottles made in the second half of the 19th century, and art glass and cut glass pieces made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Visit the Museum’s newly refreshed Tiffany Studios gallery and be dazzled by the extensive range of objects on display. Founded by Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933), a leading tastemaker in America, the Studios employed hundreds of artists and artisans who turned Tiffany’s expansive vision into decorative objects and complete interior decorations.

Crystal City Gallery
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In celebration of the 150th anniversary of glassmaking coming to Corning from Brooklyn, New York, the Museum reinstalled the Crystal City Gallery which reopened on May 5, 2018. This refresh shares the story of how Corning became one of the premier centers for glass cutting in the United States, a trend in American luxury glass that developed as the Corning Glass Works was getting established in its new home.

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The Museum’s gallery of modern glass features international decorative arts, design, objects, stained glass, and sculptures dating from about 1900 to 1975.

35 Centuries of Glass Galleries
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The Museum houses one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections of paperweights. It contains more than a thousand paperweights—from the earliest examples, made in the mid-19th century, to a monumental modern weight.

Contemporary Glass Galleries
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Contemporary Art + Design Galleries
Innovation Galleries
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Innovation Center