Our diverse, unique collection, gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell, serves as the base of our work, and provides inspiration for our innovative programs. Our mission is to use our collection to stimulate and engage our visitors, both within the Museum and within the greater Corning community.
Housed in Corning’s Old City Hall, we have a strong presence in the local community. The Rockwell hosts activities for people of all ages and interests, from innovative arts education for children and their parents, to exceptional lectures by leading scholars.
We provide our visitors with the opportunity to experience the history that lies at the heart of Corning, view world-class fine art, attend classes or programs, or simply relax, reflect, and shop.
As a hallmark of the Corning community, we offer an experience that is distinctly unique to the area. Visitors to The Rockwell experience the people, land and ideas that shaped America, all in a relaxed, intimate and accessible environment.
The Rockwell is home to an incredible collection of art. Diverse, complex, and engaging, this collection serves as our primary source of inspiration for everything we do in the community, in local schools, and with visitors from around the world.
The core of our collection was gifted by Bob and Hertha Rockwell, local business owners who amassed an incredible collection of American art and artifacts.
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 artifacts, 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.
Starting in 1976, the Museum moved through a handful of temporary locations, including the former Baron Steuben Hotel, until a permanent home could be found.
The Rockwell found a permanent home in the Old City Hall building. Old City Hall is a work of art in its own right, and is a cornerstone of Corning, NY. Constructed in 1893, the building was rich with history and architectural details, but was devastated in 1972 by flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes.
Corning Incorporated rallied the local community in support of the building with a capital campaign to generate the $2.5 million necessary for restoration. From 1980-1982, Old City Hall underwent a grand renovation to restore and resurface both the interior and the exterior. During the process, the entire space was re-imagined as a new museum experience.
With its historic details preserved, including tin ceilings and the iron door to the women’s jail, our venue offers relics that serve as frequent reminders of our rich history.
Today, The Rockwell Museum and the Old City Hall building is a vibrant center of the community, hosting nationally recognized works of art, a variety of events annually, and educating school kids throughout the region. Located just steps away from Market Street, Old City Hall provides a unique window to view the American experience through art.
We take steps every day to engage the community and offer enriching programs based upon our collection and artistic expertise. See how our work in the community is paying off.
Our board is established to ensure that we are meeting our goals, mission, and vision as an institution. They are invested in the work we do and ensure we offer a world-class experience for our community.
We’re busy at work, with dozens of programs and events throughout the calendar year. See the stories, news, and goings-on that make our museum The Rockwell.
Our staff is a committed group of individuals who are passionate about advancing our work and commitment to the community. Interested in becoming part of our team?
This program season at The Rockwell brings a series of exhibitions and special programs centered on the ever-changing and complex American experience. As the only conduit to Smithsonian resources in Upstate NY, we are excited to not only bring you nationally relevant topics to a local stage, but just as thrilled to present nationally renowned experts from the Smithsonian network.Reserve Your Seat