Fam­i­lies ‘Make a Turkey Out of a Potato’ at Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Melissa Schu­man mschu­[email protected]­di­anews­group.com Re­porter

"I like bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether and con­nect­ing with kids and their fam­i­lies.”

— ac­tiv­ity di­rec­tor Sunny Ra


» Dozens of fam­i­lies came to the Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum at Skid­more Col­lege on Saturday for a fun, free, Thanks­giv­ing themed take-home craft.

The 17th an­nual “Make a Turkey Out of a Potato” day had a very good turnout. Many peo­ple were “re­peat cus­tomers,” who come each year as a tra­di­tion.

“I like bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether and con­nect­ing with kids and their fam­i­lies,” said ac­tiv­ity di­rec­tor Sunny Ra, who joined the Tang team this sum­mer. Ra is the Mu­seum’s ed­u­ca­tor for K-12 and com­mu­nity pro­grams.

Though the fes­tive take-home craft is a fa­mil­iar rou­tine for the Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum at this point, it still takes quite a bit of prepa­ra­tion.

“The last cou­ple of days, we went to BJ’s to get about 400 pota­toes,” com­mented Ra. “Get­ting ready for this ac­tiv­ity took a lot of team­work and en­ergy for work­ing with all the kids.”

Ra’s ca­pa­ble and friendly team in­cluded four on-call ed­u­ca­tors and three Skid­more stu­dents, who spent their time mov­ing from ta­ble to ta­ble and keep­ing an eye on ev­ery­one

(ed­u­ca­tors call this process “float­ing”). They re­filled ta­bles with sup­plies, greeted new­com­ers, and gave lots of com­pli­ments on the cre­ative master­pieces be­ing built.

The ta­bles in the ac­tiv­ity room were loaded with pota­toes, feathers, pipe clean­ers, wig­gly eyes, craft sticks, beads, but­tons, felt, scis­sors, tacky glue - and more. Crafters were free to build a turkey any way they chose. There was no for­mal in­struc­tion, no wrong way to do it. Par­ents and chil­dren alike, let their imag­i­na­tions run as they de­signed their col­or­ful cre­ations.

“I like do­ing the feathers,” said Molly Jep­son, 9, as she care­fully worked on her potato.

“It’s great. It gets us out of the house to do some­thing,” added DJ Jep­son, Molly’s fa­ther. The Jep­sons have been com­ing to Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum to make potato tur­keys for at least three years.

“It’s fun,” said Ken­dall Ci­cardi, 9, as she showed off her turkey.

“I like cre­at­ing tur­keys,” agreed Si­enna Hall, 9.

Some chil­dren thought a lit­tle more out­side the box for their work. Broth­ers Con­nor and Braden Moore, 12 and 6, re­spec­tively, not only put to­gether tur­keys but also made tiny “turkey ba­bies” and built beds for them out of craft sticks.

“We are mak­ing stuff that is re­ally awe­some!” ex­claimed Braden as he worked.

“I like this just as much as he does! I made this lit­tle guy, and now I’m mak­ing a bed,” said Con­nor as he proudly showed off his cre­ations.

“It’s so much fun us­ing all this stuff,” added their mother Chris­tine. “They love arts and crafts.”

The Make a Turkey Out of a Potato fam­ily ac­tiv­ity was the last one of the year for the Tang Mu­seum. The mu­seum will re­open in Fe­bru­ary for its spring semester of ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We do eight or nine ac­tiv­i­ties each semester, and over the sum­mer,” ex­plained Ra. “This year we also pi­loted two new pro­grams, our Saturday Tween pro­gram and our Thurs­day Tang Teen Stu­dio. We’re try­ing to di­ver­sify and ac­com­mo­date the needs of all kids, not just the lit­tle ones.”

The Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum al­ready has a well-es­tab­lished rep­u­ta­tion for ac­com­mo­dat­ing needs. They are an all-abil­i­ties or­ga­ni­za­tion with an out­reach pro­gram that helps chil­dren all over the cap­i­tal re­gion. Ed­u­ca­tors reg­u­larly travel up to an hour in any given di­rec­tion from the Mu­seum to bring pro­grams to a va­ri­ety of schools and ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, from BOCES to com­mu­nity cen­ters to Saratoga Bridges.

“We re­ally want to in­crease our reach and make sure that ev­ery­one knows that all are wel­come,” said Ra.

To learn more about events and ex­hi­bi­tions at the mu­seum, visit https:// tang.skid­more.edu/.


From left to right: Con­nor Moore, 12, Chris­tine Moore, and Braden Moore, 6, make tur­keys and more at the Tang Teach­ing Mu­seum at Skid­more Col­lege.


Fam­i­lies are busy at work mak­ing tur­keys out of pota­toes.


Molly Jep­son, 9, shows off her work in progress.


Ken­dall Ci­cardi, left, and Si­enna Hall, right, both 9, show off their turkey cre­ations.


Hard at work cre­at­ing a potato-turkey mas­ter­piece.

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