Time to get SUPER at the JMM!

Posted on January 9, 2013 by

A blog post by Program Manager Rachel Cylus.

It has been one year since I began working at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and in that year I have learned a lot about… food.  Basically if I described my job to most people it would sound like I work in a food museum or some type of community restaurant.  We have organized taste tests, food demos, cooking competitions, programs about the history of foods and food traditions – all in all it has been a delicious year.

But just as all good meals must come to an end (generally with some kind of tasty dessert), so must all good exhibits.  And now it’s time to switch gears from working in a food museum to working in a Superhero museum.  Lucky me!

Step one of working in a Superhero Museum – Read up on superheroes.  Ok, maybe I needed some help with this one (nods to Rachel Kassman, and her comic book library).

Step two – Talk to superhero experts.  To successfully complete this task, several of us took a field trip to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM), located just across the inner harbor from the JMM at 301 West Camden Street.  GEM was started by Steve Geppi, a local entrepreneur and comic book aficionado.  He is also a comic book publisher and distributor.  Basically everything you could ever hope to learn about comic books is located within the walls of GEM, not to mention all types of other pop culture memorabilia, and a hall of fame of local Baltimore heroes.  (Fun fact: I learned that the flat bottom ice cream cone was invented in Baltimore.  See, I am still preoccupied with food facts!)  The docent at GEM was kind enough to show us around the museum and put me in touch with the museum’s curator Andy Hershberger who put me in touch with the former curator, Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg.

Dr. Blumberg is – get this – a professor of comic books and zombies (seriously, he teaches courses on these subjects at UMBC and University of Baltimore. Amazing!)

Step three – Contact a real live superhero.  It’s not every day that you make a phone call at work and the person on the other line answers, “Hello, Batman speaking.”  But that is truly what happened when I phoned Lenny Robinson (oh no, first rule of superheroes has been breached – never discuss the superhero’s real world alter ego).  Robinson is a Baltimorean who visits charities, hospitals, and other events around the country as the Caped Crusader himself.

With the JMM’s transformation into the Jewish Museum of All Things Superheroes nearly complete, we invite you to get in on the fun (particularly steps 2 and 3 of becoming a Superhero Museum)  In just a few weeks we will open the exhibit ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938 – 1950, and everyone is invited!  We will be holding two opening events.  On Saturday, January 26th from 7-9pm, we will have an exclusive members-only preview event of ZAP! POW! BAM!  Meet Dr. Blumberg and hear from him all about the history of comic books and how they have informed his life’s work.  If you want to attend this event, but you are not yet a member, never fear, Sue Foard our membership coordinator is here to save the day!!!  You can contact her at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6400 ext. 220.

At the public opening on Sunday, January 27th, the exhibit will be open from 10am – 5pm.  From 11am – 1pm you can meet BATMAN (in his Batmobile, weather permitting)!  This event is free for members and free for kids in superhero costumes.  The event is included in the cost of admission for all other attendees.

We have lots of exciting programs planned for this spring, and we hope to see you here at the JMM to be super with us.

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