A Walk Around Collections

Posted on June 20, 2013 by

Kathleen MorrisonA blog post from Archives Intern Kathleen Morrison. Kathleen is working with Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Since I’ve been at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I’ve mostly been downstairs in the archival rooms cataloging papers. While down there, I get to work around objects and pictures hanging on the racks. Sometimes I get up and I take a walk around the aisles. Some of the objects are very ornate and special, and others are regular items.

When we go through school, we learn mostly about big names and events, but items like the ones we have here at the museum remind me that, as much as I love Great Man/Woman-based history, the majority of the world was and is ordinary people going about their lives. Their hopes and their problems are what makes history tangible. We have objects brought over from Russia and Eastern Europe by immigrants seeking a new life in a country where it was safer to be Jewish. The other day, I cataloged the US Customs ID card from 1918 that belonged to a young man. We have kitchen utensils, clothes, books, pins, badges, flags, sheet music. All the ephemera from daily life in the Jewish community and the Baltimore community one could imagine are here. It makes me wonder what people will be preserving in the future from this decade.

Kathleen photoIncluded is a photo of my favorite object, a bottle of camphor oil that has settled and begun to separate.

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