Corning Museum of Glass -- A Potential Repository for Bead Collections
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Posted by: Karlis Post Reply
06/22/2022, 08:16:56

I recently wrote to the Corning Museum of Glass to see if they might be interested in receiving donations of important bead collections. This is the response from Kate Larson, Curator of Ancient Glass:

“Thanks very much for your message, and for thinking of CMoG for beads collections.

As you may be aware, we are currently in the midst of a project to improve the records and better catalogue our glass bead collection. The Museum actively acquired beads from around the globe in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, but so much came in, and was so little understood at the time in terms of its history and cultural origins, that the cataloging is very poor. In short - we have thousands of beads, but don't really know what we have. We have hired two researchers under an NEH grant to examine subgroups of this material over the summer and fall, and I am optimistic that this work will be a big step in the direction we need to go.

We are interested in expanding the glass history we present in the galleries to include more beads and beadwork, and beads do fit into our current mandate to collect and present more global histories of glass than we have in the past. However, I do feel strongly that we cannot responsibly take more objects into the collection without knowing more about what we already have. So, the answer to your question is a very qualified "maybe." We don't have the knowledge or the personnel on hand right now to consider acquisition of large collections of beads, but I could see that situation changing in the next year or two, as we identify potential gaps in the collection and are able to target specific acquisition strategies for certain kinds of material.”

So CMoG is a potential repository for significant bead collections in the not too distant future but to help them assess potential donations, and it is clear that as much as possible should be recorded about the specimens as possible, i.e., it should be accompanied by a descriptive catalogue.

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