CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – To kick off the 50th anniversary of the flood that struck the Twin Tiers due to Tropical Storm Agnes, the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) will present exhibits impacted and preserved from the flood.
One of these exhibits is a reverse glass painting of the nation’s first president, George Washington. The painting was nearly damaged from the floodwaters that flowed through the building.
Nowadays, the painting can be viewed with a flood line separating the damaged part from the undamaged part about halfway down the portrait. A copy of the reverse painting is now hanging at the museum while the original is lying flat on a table to avoid further damage.
“The painting was hanging in the library at the time that the flood came through,” said Troy Smythe, manager of interpretive strategy at CMoG. “Now you can kind of see where the flood line came up to, which is about George Washington’s shoulders.”
The 1972 flood also offers a lot of interesting connections to George Washington’s history, as the flood was not the only thing that brought destruction to Corning. Washington once settled where Corning sits today back in 1779. At that time, he expanded the United States westward after destroying 40 villages of the Haudenosaunee people in an effort to gain land for the growing country.
Other items at the museum impacted by the flood include a portfolio of Venetian glass beads. These beads are featured at the museum’s “Reused Restored Rethought” exhibit.
“The goal for the exhibition was to have visitors come a way learning about how the glass here at the Corning Museum of Glass survived the flood,” said Linnea Seidling, assistant curator for CMoG. “This reveals both the fragility and the strength of glass.”
Residents can learn more about these exhibits over at the museum as they will be up for the remainder of the week, especially Thursday, June 23rd, the anniversary of the flood.