Press Center

You are here

The Corning Museum of Glass Unveils Special Exhibition Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Corelle

Press Center

July 22, 2020

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG), which reopened its doors on July 1 with new health and safety protocols, is now unveiling a special exhibition, Dish It! Corelle at 50. Commemorating the beloved American dinnerware’s 1970 introduction by Corning Glass Works, the exhibition showcases the plates, the people, and the passion behind this iconic brand known for its durability, simplicity, and practicality.

“During our temporary closure, we were hard at work preparing new exhibitions, like Dish It! Corelle at 50, which we hope will delight and capture the imaginations of visitors of all ages,” said Marvin Bolt, Curator of Science and Technology at The Corning Museum of Glass, and the curator of this exhibit. “Corelle dinnerware has been a staple of U.S. households for five decades. Dish It! shares the story of how Corelle was made and the patterns that make it so familiar.”

Dish It! showcases the variety of Corelle products through two feature walls: one displaying distinctive shapes another filled with patterns, including the 2020 anniversary pattern, which features festive turquoise, yellow, and pink birthday sprinkles. Also included is a video wall highlighting key moments in the manufacturing process: melting ingredients, forming a ribbon, fire polishing, inking patterns, fusing and tempering, and quality control testing. On view is a ribbon of glass from which plates are cut out.

“Affordable, casual, lightweight, stackable, and fun. All these elements ensured that Corelle would be a hit with consumers when it was first introduced in 1970—and these same attributes make it work just as well today,” said Rob Cassetti, Senior Director of Creative Strategy and Audience Engagement. “Before Corelle, it was unusual to buy high-quality dinnerware in a box and use it casually as you would a paper plate. Enter Corelle with four place settings for $19.99. It was revolutionary.”

Those who visit Dish It! will be introduced to a few of the people who made the brand a success from James Giffen, the engineer who designed and developed lamination and strengthening processes needed to make the dinnerware, to Sara Little Turnbull who challenged Corning Glass Works to rethink how dinnerware was packaged and marketed.

Dish It! also explores the remarkable way in which women shaped this brand over five decades—from Sara Little Turnbull to the work of today’s Vice President of Design, Tania Aldous,” said Cassetti.

Interestingly, several years prior to working on Corelle, Sarah Little Turnbull designed a paper mask for 3M that led to the creation of the N95 masks used to protect healthcare workers in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Five decades after Corelle was first imagined in Corning, New York, it continues to be manufactured here,” said Bolt. “It’s fitting that we celebrate its half-century legacy and share the story with all who visit our Museum.”

Dish It! Corelle at 50 will remain on view until spring 2021.

About The Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is the foremost authority on the art, history, science, and design of glass. It is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years. Live glassblowing demonstrations (offered at the Museum and on the road), bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio. The campus in Corning includes a year-round glassmaking school—The Studio—and the Rakow Research Library, with the world’s preeminent collection of materials on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Children and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission.