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Expanding museums

museums-lead.jpgCourtesy Chrysler Museum of ArtMuseums are often seen as places of wonder — just one visit can result in experiences you never imagined were possible.

With breathtaking artwork and intriguing displays, it’s no wonder that great museums around the country are expanding to make room for more features. Coming within the next year are expansions to museums that will expand your views of art, science, glass, music and history.

Corning Museum of Glass
[ Corning, New York ]
The Corning Museum of Glass has experiences designed to teach visitors of every age about the fascinating world of glass, which is a major product of Corning, New York.

“Our mission is to tell the world about glass,” said senior director of creative services and marketing Rob Cassetti.

One of the biggest expansions happening in Corning is the 500-seat theater that will enable the museum to have a wider audience and expand its repertoire of demonstrations. There will also be a new gallery space.

“It’s all about daylight,” Cassetti said. “It’s designed to showcase contemporary glass. Gallery walls are curved to create a very distinctive feel.”

The $64 million project is being funded by Corning Inc., a major supporter, and the opening is scheduled for late fall of 2014.

But other expansions have been in the works, and some aspects are already open to the public, among them the Hot Glass Show Innovation Stage and the Hot Glass Market, a place to grab a meal while you explore.

Groups that can’t make it to New York can still experience some of the museum’s glass demonstrations. The museum took its Hot Glass Show on the road with a mobile glass studio in 2001 and was even at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. They also have glassblowing units on Celebrity Cruises so groups can enjoy demonstrations while at sea.

Chrysler Museum of Art

[ Norfolk, Virginia ]
The Chrysler Museum of Art is a repository of historic artwork and is undergoing an expansion to better showcase its impressive collections.

The expansion is completely revamping the museum to reorganize artwork and create a better experience for visitors. The main building is closed for the expansion, but all other structures are open to the public.

The Willoughby-Baylor House is being used as a gallery for American artwork while the museum is under construction, and the Moses Myers House is the oldest Jewish home in the United States that is now used as a museum.

“It’s an absolutely extraordinary time capsule,” museum director William Hennessey said.
Guided house tours are available every Saturday and Sunday for both houses.

The Chrysler Museum Glass Studio allows the public to attend demonstrations, and its Roadshow displays artwork around the community while the main building is shut down.

As for the expansion, “we’re adding two wings on the front of the building that will give us new gallery space, a really nice new restaurant that will open right onto the water, and fixing problems with circulation around the building,” Hennessey said.

The museum is working to be more energy efficient, so all the systems are being updated. The main building is scheduled to open in April.