JMM Insights, August 2013
This Sunday Zap! Pow! Bam! takes its final bow. But our comic book comrades aren’t the only super heroes we’re losing this week. We also say good-bye to this year’s class of interns. It seems like just yesterday I was asking Jobi to introduce our young colleagues. Now I have asked her to summarize their accomplishments.
Hail and Farewell
You probably have already seen or heard about our wonderful summer 2013 interns in some way—whether it has been through the spotlights in JMM Insights, the Intern Spotlight on the JMM blog, or through their own posts on the blog, twitter, and Facebook (if not, you can see what they’ve been blogging about here). The interns were asked to tweet weekly and write two blog posts about their experience over the course of their internship. Not only does this give them a chance to publish about their projects and work, but it gives public a chance to get to know them as well.
As the official “Intern Wrangler” it is my honor to brag about these amazing emerging professionals and their many significant contributions to our museum, whether it was behind the scenes in collections, developing the scenes in exhibitions, or in the public eye with our programs.
Saul L. Ewing, LCC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections Interns:
Katharine Harper, Kathleen Morrison, Erin Pruhs, and Clare Robbins worked with our photographic, archival, archeological, and three-dimensional collections (respectively). Although most of their time was spent our climate-controlled basement, they truly helped me run the collections department smoothing during the transition to the reduced department. They processed and housed many of our recent accessions, adding hundreds of new items to the database. Collectively they photographed or digitized upwards of 1,000 objects and photographs, bringing us to the astounding milestone marks of 90% and 70% of 3D and photo collections that are accessible in digital format!
Some individual highlights of their work include: Kathy selected the next 6 months-worth of Snapshots photographs for our partnership with the Jewish Times. Kathleen developed a spreadsheet of Baltimore Phone and City Directories, checking for duplicated (there were none). Erin read the Lloyd Street Synagogue Archaeology reports, refined existing records, and sorted the “new” archaeology collection from the 1996 expansion. Clare worked on an expansive condition report notebook for the 100+ original artifacts in the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition and brought oversized documents to be scanned at the Baltimore City Archives.
To understand how the departments are intertwined, collections interns were also involved in some exhibitions work. They worked together to condition report and rehouse objects from the Chosen Foods traveling exhibit, and pulled various objects and archival materials from our collections for the Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War exhibit. Each collections intern also transcribed a health-related oral history interview with a Maryland Jew—each more than an hour in length—for the benefit of the upcoming Jewish Health and Healing project (2015).
Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns:
Trillion Attwood and Marissa Walker, our Education and Program interns, hit the ground running! Within a week they were giving tours of our synagogues and exhibitions to visitors, and planning exciting events for the Museum. Together they worked on several successful events including Clark Kent’s Bar Mitzvah party; How to Create Your Own Superhero workshop; and the Tom Chalkley and Craig Hankin discussion—drawing over 140 people to the Museum. Trillion and Marissa created two Late Night on Lloyd Street programs: Best Hebrew Workshop Ever and A Taste of Jewish and Israeli Art events.
Lest you think it was all fun and games, Marissa and Trillion both created new educational materials relating to topics ranging from the immigration of Jews from Germany to Locust Point and the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit. In addition to providing tours to the public, they each guided (or corralled!) 6 groups of 25 ‘Super Kids’ through our campus (300 kids!) in a 5 week period. Whew!
Trillion also assisted in planning a group of 120 from the Meyerberg Senior Center to the Newseum. She helped install our Jews on the Move exhibition, and with planning the Super Art Fight, and this Sunday’s Up, Up and Away event, as well as the upcoming September Late Night on Lloyd Street. It is no surprise that with her enthusiasm and proven efficiency, Trillion was recently hired by the Jewish Museum of Maryland as the new Programs Manager.
Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg; Barbara Katz; Johns Hopkins University Andrew W. Mellon Exhibitions interns:
The summer 2013 exhibition interns Elaine Hall (Ewing), Todd Nesson (Katz) and Yonah Reback (Mellon) worked on the Jewish Health and Healing; Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War; and The Amazing Mendes Cohen exhibitions. Their projects ranged from preliminary background research for future projects, as well as urgent assistance for the immediate exhibition.
Elaine Hall read 40 oral histories, articles, and books relating to Jewish health and healing, extracting about 500 useful quotes for future use, conducted internet and database research relating to the topic, brainstormed and helped with the beginning stages of planning for the future exhibit. She also wrote a description of the current ideas for the exhibit, and documented where future researchers can go from here.
Todd Nesson has been essential in the organization and design of Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War; providing background research, producing labels, adding 60 items from the JMM collections to the upcoming exhibit (pulled by the collections interns), and finding 30 objects to add to the exhibit from 8 different lenders.
Although his internship was officially at the JMM, Yonah Reback found himself in the Maryland Historical Society archives for most of his internship. He attempted to sort through the archives and the apparently illegible handwriting of Mendes Cohen. Yonah got a start on collecting interesting facts and bits of information about the man and the legend. Rachel Cylus will be proud!
We also sent our interns out on field trips to different museums and cultural institutions. The education interns went to Gettysburg for inspiration on Civil War educational programs that would appeal to a wide range of students. Marvin Pinkert led a tour at the National Archives. The interns celebrated Flag Day at the Flag House and Museum; attended an evening event at the Walters Art Museum; visited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture; toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museums off-site storage; and learned the ins and outs of crating! The interns also participated in hands-on workshops at the JMM.
One workshop, led by Rachel Kassman, focused on the creation of a small lobby exhibit. Working together in groups, the interns were tasked with creating lobby displays based on a single subject areas and utilizing the JMM collections. Clare and Erin’s future exhibit will detail archaeology at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and has interactive activities. Trillion and Marissa’s display will introduce the public to Nechama and Paul Spector, local teachers who moved to America in 1949. Now on display, Elaine, Katharine, and Kathleen’s exhibit coincides with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Equality, revealing the Maryland Jewish connection to the civil right movement of the 1960s. This was an excellent way for the interns to gain some practical experience in the creation of exhibits and to be able to see a tangible finished product of their 10 weeks at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
-Jobi Zink & Elaine Hall