The New Year is only a week old and I am already exhausted! How can that be?

Posted on January 7, 2011 by

Monday January 3:

According to Archivist Jennifer Vess, Monday dawns cold and clear. She doesn’t know that for a fact. She slept until 8:30 AM.

8:00 AM         In what is sure to be the ONLY time this occurs all year, I arrive at the museum on time. Early in fact. An hour and a half early! That’s okay. Today is a big, big day. Two de-installations to handle, plus it’s the first day back after a long holiday break. I can sit down and check my messages, return calls, or…. I can bring up the equipment carts and artifact crates.

8:45 AM          Garry Stone, the archaeologist working on the Lloyd Street Synagogue and Bob Shelton, exhibition engineer to de-install Blessings exhibition arrive at the same time. I open galleries, historic synagogues, un-alarm doors, point out how far I’ve gotten in bringing up supplies, and otherwise settle them both in.

9 AM                Rachael B., Karen, Elena and Deborah begin to dismantle the Sadie Crockin exhibit in the lobby. This needs to happen before Blessings can come down since we’ll be using the lobby space for staging.

9:15AM           The one and only elevator in the museum breaks. The good news: all of the equipment carts are upstairs, as are the two small exhibition crates. The bad news: the two large crates are still in the basement. No problem! I revise the approach to the de-installation – we’ll just bring up the individual boxes and work until each is filled. By then the elevator should be repaired and we can bring up the crate.

Weilding a drill.

10 AM      The gallery is open. Jennifer, Rachel K., Karen, Bob and I commence operation deinstallation. Bob handles removing the AV equipment while the collections staff writes condition reports and packs boxes.

11 AM Rachel B. and Deborah have Sadie Crockin on the road and install her at the Women’s Heritage Center.

12 PM It’s lunch time and all anyone can talk about is how busy we’ve been all morning! Okay, maybe a few people mention what they did for New Year’s Eve.

Jenn & the hat

Afternoon         The elevator miraculously fixed itself, but as a trade-off the copier is now jammed. Jenn & I spent the rest of the afternoon condition reporting. Jenn was excited about holding the pope’s hat again – and this time got photos to prove it. Other staff members were swirled into a series of meetings; apparently our director is back from vacation and raring to go with atleast 20 new ideas!

Meetings! MEETINGS!

5 PM                    Crate is all packed. I scamper out and hit the gym for step class.  (I’m quoted in this article, but that is not me in the photo.)

Tuesday January 4:

Aren't I lovely?

8:30 AM          A much more reasonable time to arrive. There is a present on my desk! A giant Hershey’s kiss with a pink foam flower in top. I have Elena hot glue it to a barrette and wear it all day long.

9 AM               Collections staff is back in the gallery with Bob continuing the de-installation.

12 PM             We’re done! Well, with the Blessing artifacts anyway.

A pretty artsy calendar choice!

1 PM                I break down and accept that 2011 is really upon us. (Read: I took a field trip to Barnes & Noble to buy a new datebook. I run into my gym buddy, Jean Marie who is still sore from yesterday’s class.)

Moving Sadie Crockin objects

3 PM   It’s time to de-install the Sadie artifacts. Since the traveling version is going to many non-museum venues, we didn’t include anything original. Education Director Deborah Cardin was so proud of her work taking down the banners, the collections staff allowed her to wear white gloves and help with artifacts.

An Honorary Member of Collections Staff!

4PM    I move a collection of 11 hat boxes (filled with hats!) from Baltimore department stores into temporary storage so that I can WALK into my office.

Wednesday January 5:

8:45 AM          Bob Shelton is ready to start breaking down the exhibition panels. Mark Ward’s 6 man crew arrives and is anxious to get started.  After opening the gallery, I stay out of their way.

Stacking panels

9AM- 5 PM     I sit at my desk for the first time this week. I answer those e-mails that I mentioned on Monday, returned a handful of phone calls, compiled monthly statistics from December, (you still have time to see a number of JMM items on display in The Thomashefskys: A Life in Theater at the Gershman Y) and file a huge pile of papers.

An archaeological find!

Sometime in the afternoon I meet with Karen and Mark Ward and hammer out the schedule for next week’s installation. Finally, I get to process 10 research interviews, 1 artifact from the Lloyd Street Synagogue (handed to me on Monday morning by Garry), 1 new donation and 1 new loan return.

Thursday January 6

5:39 AM          I wake up from a nightmare: A well-intended Board Member wanted to be “helpful” and took it upon himself to hand-carry 27 precariously balanced artifacts which he literally dumped on me as I turned around. Not only did they crash and break, but unnumbered archival documents are fluttering in the air. If that wasn’t enough, he overturns a temporary wall that does not have the hanging art firmly secured. He has the nerve to tell me that I am being mean (that’s not the word he used) when I tell him to stop.

Note to self: Make sure NO ENTRY signs are posted on the gallery doors first thing in the morning. Also, make sure a NO ENTRY e-mail is sent to the volunteers.

"The Guys" - minus Pete, who will be sad to not make it into the blog post.

7:56 AM          The gallery and front gate are unlocked. The fork lift is here. The crew is here. The first of two 53’ tractor trailers is waiting at the curb. One car is parked in our curb, but it moves in the next 10 minutes.

Volunteer Sara hard at work...we think.

10 AM              The microfilm repairmen leave as intern-turn-volunteer Sara arrives. Meetings continue throughout the day in the board room.

January's pencil options

11:56AM         I retire my first pencil stub of the year (Note: January has been designated as the finish all half-used pencil month) and go to lunch.

1:18 PM           I’m in my element: processing 2010 collections items!

Helping a JHU intern with research

3PM    I meet with Gabrielle Barr, an intern in the Museum Studies program at Johns Hopkins University. We discuss her upcoming exhibition of Torah Crowns and review objects.

5 PM   I’m off to teach Butts & Guts. This week it’s a Boot Camp style class.

Friday, January 7

That's a big 'ole couple of trucks

7:30     Stony is waiting for me at the gate. The rest of the crew shows up as I open up the gallery and front entrance. The tractor trailers are here and there are 3 cars parked in the curb.

The countdown is finished, time to tow!

8:04     Two cars are still at the curb so I call the police to have them towed.


9:30     I’m exhausted. This has been a long week. I treat myself to Starbucks.

10 AM             I start writing my blog post. Jennifer calls for directions to the Jewish Times office. Ben needs us to sign a service contract. Tot Shabbat kiddies are in the board room (that tractor trailer & exhibition stuff is blocking their usual location). Rochelle needs a new card pass.

Life is back to normal.

11 AM             I’m headed down to the basement to do some research for the Levindale exhibition. When I resurface, I expect Blessing to be entirely packed, the trailer to be gone, the gallery will be empty—except for our own temporary walls, my message light will be blinking like crazy and my in-box will have 26 new messages.

3:40                 The crew finds me hiding in the basement. We do one last walk through. The gallery is empty. The truck is ready to leave. I’ve posted new No-Parking signs for Monday.

4:07                 I say my work here is done. I’m going home early.

5:02                 Ok, I was going home early. But then I had to post this. It took forever. I hope you appreciate it.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland


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