Performance Counts October 2013
A Token of Our Appreciation
If you were among the guests at Saturday members’ preview for Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War, you walked away with a replica of a sutler’s token from Lazarus Goldheim, a Baltimore-born merchant assigned to J.E.B. Stuart’s 1st Virginia Cavalry. To be more precise you walked away with an “improvement” on the sutler’s token – since this one was large enough to read AND it was made of chocolate! The token was a fitting symbol for our opening weekend, as we took the powerful story of the Jewish experience in the Civil War and made enhancements that made the topic, the exhibit and our greatest Civil War artifact, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, more accessible to the public.
In this issue of Performance Counts, I have asked my colleagues to share some of the details about our very successful launch of the project. But before we get to what we accomplished, I want to offer my own “token of appreciation” to those who provided the financial support that enabled every aspect of the project – from shipping the artifacts, to developing new Maryland content, to creating family activities and school group curricula to the opening events themselves. First on my list of thank yous is Barbara Katz who not only provided her personal support to the exhibit through the Morris Schapiro and Family Foundation, but also led the charge in encouraging the generosity of others. Our lead gifts came from Willard and Lillian Hackerman/Whiting Turner and the Middendorf Foundation. Major funding was also provided by the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, Richard and Rosalee C. Davison Foundation, the Eliasberg Family Foundation and the Gottesman Fund. Additional funding came from the Lois and Irving Blum Foundation, Stiles Colwill, the Miller Family Gift Fund, Nancy Kohn Rabin and the Joseph Smelkinson Foundation. As the cavalry needed it’s sutler for all its essential supplies, we relied on this exceptional group of philanthropists to achieve our “battlefield” objective.
~Marvin Pinkert, Executive Director
The opening of Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War came in two parts. At our special members’ preview on Saturday night, we enjoyed the music of the 2nd South Carolina String Band, a band of musical re-enactors. They played throughout the night which helped set the mood. To enhance the evening refreshments included Civil War-era punch, which was enjoyed by all. In addition, two students from the Baltimore School for the Arts attended in period costume which enhanced the event ambiance.
On Sunday we launched the exhibit’s public opening. The highlight of the day was a talk by Jonathan Karp who travelled from New York. As one of the exhibition’s curators, Jonathan provided fascinating insights on the development of the exhibit. We also welcomed two Civil War re-enactors, who came in full dress. They enjoyed talking to visitors about the different elements and significance of the details of their outfits.
Opening By the Numbers
Saturday evening attendance: 105 members and guests
Sunday public opening attendance: 91 people
Total attendance for both days: 196
Total Admission from Sunday: $335
Zip Code most represented in our attendance log: 21208
Our members came out in large numbers for Sunday’s opening which was also heavily attended by non-members who had previously visited the JMM. This reflects positively on the Museum’s marketing efforts with our membership and with the public in general about the opening. Our tag line “explore the Civil War you never knew” seems to have successfully appealed to people who were enticed to visit on opening day. In addition to the new exhibit, members and individuals who had previously visited were excited to have the opportunity to hear Jonathan Karp speak as well as follow on the 1861 synagogue tour. We were also delighted to see family groups in attendance and children had a wonderful time interacting with the educational stations set up in the exhibit.