Chi­nese flock to see glass come to life

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By JACK FREIFELDER in New York jack­freifelder@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Corn­ing Mu­seum of Glass (CMoG) met with guests at an event on Thurs­day in New York City to fa­cil­i­tate a di­a­logue about the mu­seum’s in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity among Chi­nese tourists.

Vis­i­tors from China make up close to 40 per­cent of the mu­seum’s an­nual visi­ta­tion fig­ures, ac­cord­ing to El­iz­a­beth Duane, the di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nity re­la­tions with CMoG.

“As far as see­ing glass, we are very unique,” Duane said. “But the key is get­ting Chi­nese vis­i­tors to re­al­ize there’s more to New York than New York City.” Corn­ing, NY, is about 250 miles from New York City.

“CMoG has the largest collection of glass in the world — glass that’s 3,500 years old — so you can see glass that ranges from the an­cient to the mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary,” Duane added. “Live hot glass­blow­ing, flame work­ing and glass break­ing demon­stra­tions are all ways in which we tell our au­di­ence a bit more about glass, so that we can bring glass to life.”

Founded in 1951 by Corn­ing Glass Works (now Corn­ing Inc), the mu­seum is a not-for-profit en­tity that houses what is largely con­sid­ered “the world’s best collection of art and his­tor­i­cal glass”.

Corn­ing’s collection, which is home to more than 40,000 items, fea­tures ob­jects like glass por­traits of Egyp­tian pharaohs as well as con­tem­po­rary glass sculp­tures.

As part of CMoG’s an­nual ap­pre­ci­a­tion event for Chi­nese tour oper­a­tors, Duane and Sally Berry — CMoG’s tourism sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager — led a dis­cus­sion on Thurs­day about cur­rent visi­ta­tion trends and fu­ture plans for the mu­seum.

Ef­forts to help fur­ther ac­com­mo­date Chi­nese vis­i­tors have in­cluded print­ing trans­lated brochures, glass­blow­ing demon­stra­tions in Man­darin and of­fer­ing al­ter­na­tive lan­guage tours of the mu­seum’s fa­cil­i­ties.

CMoG also de­cided last month to al­low the use of China Union Pay, China’s largest bankcard ac­cord­ing to Berry.

In re­cent years, CMoG has started of­fer­ing free train­ing for Chi­nese-lan­guage tour guides, a move that Berry sees a boon to busi­ness be­cause CMoG “wel­comes so many Chi­nese vis­i­tors”.

“Corn­ing is the place to see glass in Amer­ica,” Berry said. “We have a lot of people post­ing pho­tos and talk­ing about the mu­seum on Weibo, and as our Chi­nese vis­i­tors grow, we’re adapt­ing and mak­ing the change to make things bet­ter.”

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oG has the largest collection of glass in the world — glass that’s 3,500 years old — so you can see glass that ranges from the an­cient to the mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary.” EL­IZ­A­BETH DUANE THE DI­REC­TOR OF MAR­KET­ING AND COM­MU­NITY RE­LA­TIONS WITH CMOG

As part of its free train­ing pro­gram, the CMoG trained 70 Chi­nese-lan­guage tour guides last year. This year it has trained 250.

The op­por­tu­nity to host events in New York City not only gives the mu­seum an im­por­tant venue to broad­cast the fea­tures and ameni­ties, but also helps it advertise for the greater Up­state New York area.

“We’re us­ing this as a mo­ment to ed­u­cate vis­i­tors on what there is to do in and around Corn­ing,” Duane said.

Through in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibits and demon­stra­tions, CMoG — a mu­seum in western New York ded­i­cated to the art, his­tory and sci­ence of glass — tells the story of one of the world’s most widely used ma­te­ri­als.

“Ev­ery­one who comes to the mu­seum walks away with some­thing, whether it’s from the store or some­thing you make yourself,” Duane added. “As a vis­i­tor you can make your own glass and all ages can par­tic­i­pate, so if you’re 2 or 92 you can make your own glass.”

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