I’ve lived in the greater Elmira/Corning area for nearly 16 years; 10 of those years as a parent. And I just did something here that I’ve never done before.
I spent an afternoon with my family at the Corning Museum of Glass.
Now, we’ve been there a million times, of course. We attended the Little Gather story hours and the Families Explore! events when my babes were little. We’ve gone to Holiday Open House and danced ourselves silly at 2300°. We’ve done and done the myriad free events CMoG offers to families on a monthly basis.
But, for the first time last weekend, my family visited CMoG with intention. Last Sunday, we awoke to a chill, grey winter morning in the rare circumstance of having nothing to do. After a lazy breakfast and some mindless puttering, it occurred to me that we hadn’t been ever really been to the museum outside of some special free family event. And we had never visited The Studio to make glass. How is this possible after all these years?
We hatched a plan.
My 10-year-old daughter didn’t want to hit the galleries this time because she was heading to the museum later in the week on a school field trip. Even so, we still managed to idle away three really-enjoyed hours.
We arrived at noon, starving, so we checked in at The Studio and scheduled a 1:40 p.m. session to make three glass fusing projects.
Then, we headed straight to the museum cafeteria. The café offers a pretty nice selection of standards like pizza, salads, sandwiches, pasta, macaroni and cheese, a special entrée (roast pork tenderloin that day), and a world cuisine option. My seven-year-old son is not a patient man, so he loved grabbing a tray and jumping in line to watch his macaroni rapid-cooked, and the fresh real cheese sauce prepared before him.
The food there is generally pretty good, and certainly fresh, and a nice break from typical quick options around town. The dining area in the café is open, airy and filled with light. It feels very modern and innovative in there. It would be a nice place for an informal business meeting, or to gather with a small group. I kind of can’t believe my office is a seven-minute walk across the footbridge, and I’ve never just gone there for lunch.
We browsed the Glass Market where the kids bought a souvenir marble with their own money, and I contemplated what it would be like to, one day, have a full set of matching glasses and Corelle plates.
Full of food, we went to The Studio where we had a ball. Seriously, a lot of fun. Daughter made a heart pendant, Son chose a tic-tac-toe board with six game pieces and, together, we each designed a glass piece of a wind chime. And it’s not chintzy junk either. If my house burns down (again), I will definitely try to save that family wind chime. We had fun, doing something new together; nobody arguing or whining. And that wind chime is a reminder of that. It’s hanging in my kitchen window; representing each of us as an individual, and our family as a whole.
Before leaving, I had to pop back into the Glass Market and snag my coveted items. We left wondering, why have we not done this more?
To be sure, the day was not cheap. Three entrees, four beverages, four desserts and a coffee totaled $60. Had we done the galleries, we’d have paid a 50 percent local resident admission of $9 each, with kids 17 and under free. Three projects in The Studio was $68. And I dropped $140 on 16 glasses and eight four-piece place settings, all at hugely marked down prices. But I kind of feel like I paid the museum back a bit, for all the free programming I’ve taken advantage of through the years. And that time in The Studio, yeah … we’ll be doing that again. Grandparent gifts, teacher gifts … we’re going to do the fun stuff again and again, and kill the gift-giving bird with one stone.
It’s so easy to take our glass museum for granted because it is always just so … there. It’s easy to pop in for the many free events the museum provides our community, that make it possible for families to experience the museum regardless of ability to pay standard admission. And then we locals sort of forget about CMoG until the next event flyer comes home in the school folder.
Spending a few hours being really active and invested in the museum’s activities was completely delightful. And well worth it.