Corning Museum of Glass

Museum Mobile

The Glassapp on iPad
  • Web app development
  • Digital signage
  • Drupal integration
  • Large-scale project planning

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) has been generating buzz with their new Contemporary Art + Design wing. As part of this expansion project, CoLab joined up with CMoG's digital department on a new mobile app designed to enhance the museum experience for visitors.

The project consisted of two parts: a web application, GlassApp, and a digital signage redesign.
The Corning Museum of Glass entrance


When we started, GlassApp had a three month timeframe and two goals:

  1. Make objects in the new contemporary wing accessible to visitors via rich media content.
  2. Provide important museum information, such as museum hours, event and demo schedules.
In addition to these short-term goals, the digital team presented us with the big picture plan: GlassApp could eventually expand to guide visitors through their entire museum experience.
The Corning Museum of Glass interior window wall

It made sense. The Corning Museum of Glass is home to the world's largest collection of glass, containing nearly 50,000 objects representing 3,500 years of glass history. The museum annually sees 400,000 visitors from around the globe.

Our answer was a responsive web application using Drupal's API. CMoG already had an existing infrasture built on Drupal. This approach met CMoG's short-term needs and set them up for long-term growth.
The Corning Museum of Glass from the outside


Oh, did we mention the entire museum was getting re-branded, too?

Running concurrent with GlassApp and the Contemporary Art + Design wing was a comprehensive museum re-branding. For Jenn and Ralph on design, this posed a unique challenge.

The re-banding was still in the early stages when GlassApp kicked off. Visibility into progress was limited. We had to consider how to proceed with design with a style guide in flux.

In a relationship with less alignment and trust, this might lead to challenges. However, in this case, it ultimately allowed CoLab and CMoG to think freely and prototype quickly.
A visitor in the Contemporary Art + Design gallery


The prototyping process looked like this:

  1. Provide feedback on CMoG's initial wireframes.
  2. Turn wireframes into a clickable prototype with light design touches.
  3. Meet weekly to review progress, layering design fidelity onto the prototype as we go.
  4. Once the user flows and information architecture were approved, move the prototype into development.

Actually, this might sum it up better:

  1. Don’t let users get to a place they can’t get out of.
  2. Don’t let users get to a place they can’t get out of.
  3. Don’t let users get to a place they can’t get out of.
With the prototype approved, it was time to hand off for device testing and integration with the Drupal API.
GlassApp in the Contemporary Art + Design Gallery


Finally, the design team shifted focus to digital signage.

It was a first for us. We welcomed the challenge, and the opportunity to bring together the museum re-branding and the GlassApp design in a highly visible and architectural medium.
Corning Museum of Glass digital signage redesign


Cris Nelson Ethan Winn Jenn Schlick Ralph Cutler Rylan Peery Scott Nelson