Weekly Report: 1.8.09

Posted on January 8, 2010 by

Dear Friends,

This has been a hectic week for the Museum. Anita Kassof, Deb Weiner, and Jennifer Vess have been spending a lot of time completing script and design for our new core exhibition, The Synagogue Speaks, which will open to the public on Sunday 21 March. Other staff have been busy with 50th Anniversary projects ranging from man-on-the-street videos (Karen Falk) to invitations (Lauren Silberman) to our annual Purim Pandemonium (Rachel Kassman). All in all, this is an exciting time of preparation for the Museum’s Board, staff, and volunteers. Here are some other highlights:

GIFTS: We are delighted to report a number of recent generous gifts from Judy Langenthal, Barry Lever, Roger Levin, Margaret Nomentana, David Zee and many others. These contributions are essential to sustaining our programs and services and are greatly appreciated, especially in these challenging economic circumstances.

KUDOS: Several members of the JMM staff were awarded certificates for completion of the Me’ah program this past year. Mazel Tov to Deborah Cardin, Simone Ellin, Anita Kassof, Barry Lever, Lauren Silberman, and Esther Weiner on this important achievement. Meanwhile, we have gotten a spate of compliments on the recent issue of Generations magazine, none more welcome than Gil Sandler’s encomium: “It is first-class in every way, every word, every line! It has to be among the most interesting, page by page, of any of the Generations ever published.”

I am also pleased to announce that Jewish Museum is now an official stop on the Charm City Circulator’s Orange Route. The Circulator is a free shuttle bus that takes riders across the city from the B&O Railroad in the west to Harbor East in the east. To educate bus drivers about the various sites along the route, JMM staff gave a brief presentation about our Museum and distributed free passes and exhibition brochures to the drivers.

A photo taken in the Drawing on Tradition exhibition graced the cover of last week’s Jewish Times, and our Christmas Day program was mentioned in a JT article. Kudos to our wonderful marketing director, Simone Ellin.

PROGRAMS: More than 40 people visited the JMM on Friday 25 December taking advantage of free admission, exhibition scavenger hunts, and synagogue tours. The best line of the day was from a gentleman who was “happy to have a place to go where he did not have to listen to Christmas music!”

On Wednesday 30 December, the JMM offered a shadow puppet workshop for families as part of our winter break festivities. Led by Molly Ross of Nana Projects, more than 40 children and parents had a wonderful time creating shadow puppets of chickens that they used as part of a puppet performance based on the chickens of the Lombard Street market.

The JMM was invited to participate in Port Discovery’s Noontime New Year’s on Thursday 31 December. The event featured arts and culture of several countries including Israel. At the JMM booth, families learned how to write their names in Hebrew. Despite the icy weather, the event was well attended and many people who stopped by our booth were interested in learning about the JMM.

This Thursday, Weinberg Park brought 14 seniors to tour Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore. On Friday,the JCC and JMM partnered for a Tot Shabbat program geared for downtown families of very young children. Young children, along with their parents, caregivers and grandparents were actively engaged in songs, stories and a challah snack in connection with the Sabbath. These Tot Shabbat programs and Hands-On Holiday programs are part of the JCC’s program, “JCC Beyond the Borders,”funded by the The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Jewish Museum of Maryland joins The Associated and the Baltimore Jewish Council as co-sponsors of Beth Tifloh’s exhibition of Centropa in Commemoration of the Liberation of Auschwitz. The exhibit opens on 27 January, the day designated by the United Nations as The International Day of Commemoration to honor victims of the Shoah. This unique exhibit tells the stories of 790 Holocaust survivors through family albums and stories. At the opening ceremony, Edward Serotta, Director of Centropa, will make a special presentation, highlighting features of this remarkable exhibit. The exhibit opens at Beth Tfiloh on 27 January at 7:00 p.m. and will remain there for 10 days.

COLLECTIONS: This week Photo Archivist Rachel Kassman completed cataloging MS 17, began preservation scanning the first box of the 1990 accessioned photographs, and worked on selecting possible images for a traveling exhibition. She also engaged two new “winterns”-Beth Emmerling, a graduate student in the University of Maryland’s MLS program, who will be working with her and Jennifer Vess in the library; and Rosemary Fitzsimmons, a senior Art History major from Towson University, who will be working with Rachel in the photo archives. BHU Photo Intern Megan Dalrymple began work this week, preparing binders of readings for interns, doing some readings of her own, beginning training in Past Perfect, and creating photo descriptions for Box 12 of the BHU photo archive.

Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink reports that five people called in with identifications for our JT featured photograph. She also has received three boxes and two briefcases of archival materials from Brith Shalom for possible accession into the collections.

STAFF ACTIVITIES: On Thursday, Ilene Dackman-Alon attended the Greater Baltimore History Alliance meeting at the Flag House Museum. Museum educators from across the city met to discuss preschool programming. Presentations were given by educators from the Walters Art Museum and Port Discovery and a representatives of each museum spoke programming and ways to collaborate with one another.

On Tuesday, staff from the Historical Society of Frederick County toured the Museum as part of a professional development day in Baltimore. Curator Karen Falk has been working closely with artist-author Nancy Patz on her upcoming exhibit, selecting works for display from her studio collection and from the collections at the Goucher College Library. The exhibition will open this spring and will be titled Nancy Patz: Her Inward Eye.

Special thanks to our interns and volunteers for tremendous effort this week. Best wishes to one and all for a joyous Sabbath and a peaceful mid-winter weekend.


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