In October 2011, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum Staff and Board of Directors decided that all museum programming and exhibitions would focus on glass to better align its programming with its core abilities and permanent collections. Since that announcement, the museum staff has been educating visitors along a continuum of glass with nationally recognized exhibitions featuring the beginnings of The Studio Glass Movement as well as shows of glasswork by local high school students. The museum staff have built a glass studio to offer instruction in flameworking and glass fusing for youth and adults and opened the studio for community art making activities with a glass emphasis. All of these actions have served to affirm the organization’s glass focus.
The name was proposed after the staff interpreted results from a market study conducted in early 2013 during which respondents were asked which title, in a list of names, best represented what the museum was about. Eighty-seven percent responded that the word glass should be part of the museum name.
“The name change is an outward sign of how the museum has evolved since its beginnings more than 50 years ago. Although we are internationally known for our paperweight collection, our other glass collections are lesser known. Our experience has been that people who live outside the area do not know about the continuum of glass visible through our collections. By adding glass to our name, the public will have a clear idea of what they will experience during a visit,” said Jan Mirenda Smith, the museum’s executive director.