Corning Museum of Glass: A Kaleidoscope in our Society

dennis jacob

Dennis Jacob

Today’s post comes from teen volunteer, Dennis Jacob. Dennis is an eighth grader at the Alternative School for Math and Science. He has lived in and around Corning for his entire life, and is well-versed with the community. He has a keen interest in academics, from geography to mathematics. While he is not learning or studying, Dennis likes to play the piano, marimba, and video games. Dennis also enjoys volunteering, and is a frequent CMoG volunteer. He has been volunteering at CMoG for over six months, and also volunteers at the local library.

I am sure that many of you have experienced the joy of visiting a museum and looking at its various artifacts, but have you ever stopped to consider what effect the preserved history has on you and ultimately our society?

Hello, my name is Dennis Jacob and I go to the Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning, NY. After being asked to do a research paper on a social topic of my choice, I approached The Corning Museum of Glass to understand what social benefits emanated from this temple preserving our glass history. The very fact that the museum existed meant that it provided an opportunity for students like me to explore it.

My research approach was to first collect reflections from the friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate staff there, and then combine this information with my own experiences from volunteering at the museum.

Eric Goldschmidt, a gaffer at the museum, described the museum as an important community center, and believes that it must provide “exposure to art, history, and science.” This provides the visitors and our society an opportunity to learn and grow. He also mentioned how activities hosted by The Corning Museum of Glass have become a staple in the community to bring it together. Rebecca Hopman, the outreach librarian at the Rakow Research Library, said that the library influences society by being a research center for glass, and therefore teaching the surrounding populace (and the world) more about glass. Harry Seaman, the facilities manager at The Studio, said that the museum serves as part of its own history, in a sense living as an integral part of our society. Lastly, Warren Bunn, the collections and exhibitions manager of the museum, said that the museum is a cultural center, meaning that it exposes the history of glass and Corning to the world.

Ionic Structure of Glass, Dominick Labino, 1979. Purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. 80.4.30.

Ionic Structure of Glass, Dominick Labino, 1979. Purchased with
the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition, my own reflections as a volunteer helped me observe firsthand on how the museum can influence the community. Whenever I volunteer at the “You a Design It, We Make It!” program, perhaps the most obvious thing that happens is that people enter to draw an image for submission. However, the visitors who stopped by to draw images for submission ultimately ended up expanding their creativity as they contemplated what would be the best design for a glass sculpture. In a way, these volunteering opportunities at the museum allowed me to interact with visitors from all around the world, helping me broaden my perspective and adding many more colors in the “kaleidoscope” that The Corning Museum of Glass represents.

I have shed light onto the kaleidoscope that represents The Corning Museum of Glass’ influence on society; both through the experts’ opinions and my experiences. Next time you visit this museum, realize that the building that you are currently within is a very sacred place, with over 3,000 years of glass history that is influencing both you and the community, even when you don’t realize it.

Become a Teen Volunteer at The Corning Museum of Glass.

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