We didn't know what to expect from the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York but it turned out to be a wonderful experience
One of the first stops on our road trip to the North Eastern States of the USA was the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The area got its name from the group of eleven long, narrow, roughly north-south lakes that are found in the area. The Finger Lakes are known for producing excellent wine, particularly for world-renowned Rieslings.
There are some interesting towns and cities in the area. We decided to spend a day exploring the small city of Corning, population 12,000, famous for its glass manufacture. Hence its nickname ‘America’s Crystal City. The city is home to the Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest museum of glass art and artefacts.
Corning’s Gaffer District—named after a gaffer or master glassblower—is home to over 100 boutique shops, art galleries, studios, as well as craft beverage producers, restaurants serving fabulous food, and two world-class museums. One of these museums is the Rockwell Museum.
It had been raining solidly for nearly 24 hours but luckily as we arrived in Corning the weather started to improve rapidly so, we decided to spend some time exploring the quaint shops around Corning’s Gaffer District. It reminded me a bit of where we live in Bend, Oregon.
The Rockwell Museum
The core of this interesting and diverse collection was gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell, local business owners who amassed an incredible collection of American art and artefacts. When I first came across this museum I thought these Rockwells were associated with the well-known artist Norman Rockwell (who we associate with the Boy Scouts!) So, these Corning Rockwells have no familial connection with Norm.
The Rockwells had keen eyes for art and exquisite taste. They owned a department store in the area and used their store as a venue to display their remarkable collection of American art and artefacts, Carder Steuben glass, classic firearms, and antique toys.
Their collection quickly outgrew their department store. In 1974, the Rockwells and a group of executives from Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) began working together to turn the collection into a museum for the benefit of the Corning, NY community. The Rockwells would donate their collection, and the company and the community would support the museum moving forward.
The museum building is housed in the Old City Hall building which itself is a very cool building. Constructed in 1893, the building was rich with history and architectural details but was devastated in 1972 by flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes.
Today, the Rockwell Museum is a centre for the local community and has achieved prestigious status as a Smithsonian affiliate.
The exhibits are truly eclectic ranging from classical art pieces, to modern art to native American artefacts. The museum is quite small but it has a fascinating collection.
In summary …
- If you are in Corning to visi the Museum of Glass then take the time to visit the Rockwell Museum … we were totally impressed
- You can get to see everything in about 90 minutes
- Corning is a great little town and would be a good place to base yourself for a visit to the Finger Lakes
Planning your visit to the Rockwell Museum
|Address:||111 Cedar St, Corning, NY 14830|
|Telephone:||T: (607) 937-5386|
The Rockwell is open every day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the fall, winter and spring. Memorial Day through Labor Day (Summer), hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Museum is closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day, December 24 and 25.
$11.50 Adults (18-61)$10.50 62+, $10.50 AAA and Military*, $5.50 Students (with ID), Kids & Teens (17 & Under). You can get combo tickets with the Corning Museum of Glass that will save you money if you plan to visit both
Free Parking is located directly behind the Museum. Additional parking is available in neighboring municipal lots; City of Corning parking fees apply.
You can also visit us via a free shuttle bus, which provides service between The Corning Museum of Glass, The Rockwell Museum and Market Street.
All museum entrances are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Public galleries are accessible and can be reached by elevator. However, not all doors are on power assist. There are wheelchair-accessible restrooms on the mezzanine level.
Manual wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis; just ask any Museum staff person for assistance. The Rockwell also welcomes your personal walkers, wheelchairs and scooters.
Best time to visit Finger Lakes
The best time to visit the Finger Lakes region is from May to September, when there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the area’s outdoor pursuits. Expect higher accommodation rates in the peak months of June to August and longer lines at attractions and wineries.
Other places to visit near Corning
1. CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS
2. WATKINS GLEN STATE PARK
Known for its natural beauty, the Watkins Glen State Park features a series of waterfalls and gorges that are sure to amaze anyone. An almost two-mile hike will take you past 19 waterfalls and up over 800 stone steps.
There are a number of small trails leading off of the Gorge Trail, giving way to a number of other outdoor activities close by the main trail. There are tent and trailer campsites, swimming pools, picnic facilities as well as guided tours of the local topography.
Leashed dogs are allowed on the outer rim trails but not on the Gorge Trail.
The entrance to the park is right on Main Street in Watkins Glen. You are never far from the conveniences of a town while being able to get away to the wonders that are the gorges and waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park.
3. TAUGHANNOCK FALLS STATE PARK
Pronounced Tuh-GA-nick. The falls’ name is believed to have derived from the Algonquian Taconic (“in the trees”) or Taghkanic (after a Lenape chieftain killed in battle nearby). Taughannock Falls carves a 400ft deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone that were once the bed of an ancient sea. With a 215 foot plunge, this waterfall stands three stories taller than Niagara Falls.
Where to stay near Corning
1. THE BLACK SHEEP INN AND SPA
2. TAYLOR FARM BED & BREAKFAST
3. GAFFER INN
Lodging at the Gaffer Inn (formerly named The Inn at the Gaffer Grille), opened in 2010, offers charming, boutique accommodations featuring the city’s history of glass creation and design. The Inn is located on historical Market Street in downtown Corning, New York. Corning’s Gaffer District is a unique area with many shops, the widely known Corning Museum of Glass and The Rockwell Museum, along with many other activities. Located above Burgers and Beer of Corning, you are only a few steps away from a relaxing meal or social gathering.
The Inn rooms include many features and amenities to maximize relaxation and comfort during your stay. In each room you will find new wall to wall carpet throughout, pillow-top mattress, plush leather couch in front of a fireplace, desk, smart TV’s, wet bar and small dining area.