Part of our mission at The Corning Museum of Glass is to tell the world about glass. One of the ways we do this is outreach to specialized communities. At The Studio, we have many such programs: Road Scholars, Veterans Day Glassblowing, Beads of Courage, Expanding Horizons, art classes for Corning’s alternative high school, participation in a local Maker’s Faire, to name a few. Working with specialty groups is fulfilling for us as instructors because we can really tailor teachings around others’ needs.
Most recently, The Studio has partnered with the CMoG Education Department to participate in a CMoG/Rockwell Museum co-sponsored event, Meet Me at the Museum.
Meet me at the Museum is one of the many outreach programs the museum offers. It uses CMoG and Rockwell resources as a platform for hosting people with dementia and their caregivers. Meet Me at the Museum tours are offered in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester & Finger Lakes Region and the Rockwell Museum. Here is how we describe this program:
Meet Me at the Museum is a free social program for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Specially trained docents will highlight pieces in the Museum’s collection through a colorful presentation to stimulate conversation and reminiscence. The experience concludes with a small reception.
Currently, there are over five million Americans living with dementia. Programs like this are beneficial for both people with dementia as well as their caregivers, helping to create positive life experiences for both groups. Creative activity has been shown to reduce depression and isolation in dementia patients[i] and can be a respite from stress for caregivers[ii].
This type of programming is offered at many museums around the country and often follows the same basic outline: a tour with specially-trained docents followed by a reception. In addition to this type of program, Meet Me at the Museum incorporates a hands-on component. This is where The Studio comes in. This past December, The Studio’s crew made candy ornaments that look like stained glass.
This was fun for everyone involved and tied nicely with both our glass collection and the special glass ornament demo this group received from flameworker Eric Goldschmidt.
Anyone can make these ‘stained glass’ candy ornaments at home — you don’t need to be an expert glassmaker or have any special equipment. We used an egg-shaped ornament for our sample to help ring in the spring, but you could use any simple shaped cookie cutter for this project.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers)
- Metal cookie cutters
- Parchment paper
- Cooking spray
- Baking sheet
- Rolling pin
- Plastic bags
Step 1: Prepare candy. Smash Jolly Ranchers into smaller bits. This allows for more selective coloring.
Step 2: Prepare the cookie cutter and baking sheet. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spray a small amount of non-stick cooking spray on the inside of the cookie cutter and place onto parchment paper.
Step 3: Place your candy into the cookie cutter. Fill the cookie cutter to about a ½-inch high. You can be as simple or as complex as you like.
Step 4: Bake! Place your candy (cookie cutter and all) into a 400-degree oven and bake for five minutes or until the top surface is completely level.
Step 5: Remove from oven and begin to cool. Immediately out of the oven, you can swirl the colors together with a toothpick and then return the candy to the oven to re-level the candy. Once the candy has cooled a bit, you can use the same toothpick to create a hole in the top of the candy to hang your ornament.
This project is great for a crisp spring day, but if it’s humid you’ll find the final candy ornament is a bit sticky and drippy.
[i] Hannemann, Beat Ted. “Creativity with Dementia Patients.” Gerontology 52, no. 1 (2006): 59-65. doi:10.1159/000089827.
[ii] Lamar, Katherine L., and Jessica J. Luke. “Impacts of Art Museum-based Dementia Programming on Participating Care Partners.” Journal of Museum Education 41, no. 3 (2016): 210-19. doi:10.1080/10598650.2016.1193314.