Performance Counts: June 2014
15 Years By the Numbers
For this week’s newsletter, I asked Jobi Zink to try to summarize her history with JMM. In the spirit of this “Performance Counts”, Jobi has elected to tell her own story “by the numbers”. On behalf of all our Board members, staff, interns and volunteers, we wish Jobi every success and to let her know that she will be #1 with us forever.
As many of you know, I am leaving the Jewish Museum of Maryland in July. I will be moving to Philadelphia to take the position of Registrar at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. I am sad to say goodbye to my friends and favorite objects, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career.
Since making my announcement, I have heard from staff, board, volunteers, and colleagues outside of the JMM about the impact I’ve made on the museum. I thought I would reflect on what I consider to be some of my major accomplishments over my tenure.
Number of Accessions: The first batch recorded in the accession notebook in my handwriting is 1999.037; since then 3,037 new donations have been made to the museum. Of course, over the 60 quarterly meetings that I’ve attended, the Collections Committee hasn’t accepted every single batch—they’ve done a diligent job sticking to materials that truly meet the JMM mission.
Number of Objects in the Collection: 10,954. Ironically, 10,000 was the number of objects believed to be in the JMM collections when I started. I am not sure what this early estimate is based on, and whether it included photographs or archival documents. When I organized the first collections inventory in 2000 (really more of a collections count), we discovered that we really had closer to 5,000 3-D artifacts.
Inventories Conducted: 5. Since that initial collections count in 2000, I have overseen 4 additional collections inventories that have each included portions of the archival and photograph collections. I also spoke about our triennial inventory project and procedures for the panel Inventory: Intimidating! Important! But NOT Impossible! at the 2012 MAAM Annual Conference.
Number of Hats Worn: I’ve never actually worn any of the hats in the JMM collection. On the other hand, I’ve worn a decided number of professional hats. I’ve had four official job titles during my tenure at JMM: Curatorial Assistant; Registrar & Curatorial Assistant; Senior Collections Manager; Acting Building Manager. I’m personally a bit partial to the five unofficial job titles held at the JMM: Queen of Traveling Exhibitions (Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator); Intern Wrangler (Internship Coordinator); Emergency Management Coordinator; Building Manager; Entertainment Committee Co-Chair. These unofficial titles reflect both the fun and serious sides of the JMM and also truly prove that the JMM is a dynamic place where no two days are ever the same.
Number of Archivists: 6. Ginny, Abby, Robin, Erin, Jon & Jennifer. 6 Collections Assistants –David, Karen H., Deborah, Olivia, Renee, Danyelle, and Chris—(though I suspect I have accidentally forgotten someone!) have also come and gone from that “back cubicle.” All of them have made my registration work and collections management that much easier to control! I thank you all!
Number of Skits for Outgoing Employees: 9 (Leah, Erin, Lauren, Melissa, Avi’s retirement plus his surprise 65th birthday party that he nearly missed; Simone x 2, Anita). While a registrar loves to live by the rules, sometimes we just need to be silly. As the Co-Chair of the Entertainment Committee, I probably put in 10 hours of seriously fun work for each production. And let us be clear, some of these skits were full-blown productions.
Number Pencils Retired: 229. Registrar’s love their pencils! What started as an experiment in June 2006 to see if I could use one pencil from start to finish without losing it has become a slight obsession. Number of pencils on my registration spreadsheet: 444. Most pencils retired in one month: 9. Maximum length for retired pencils: 2” from point to the metal cuff. Number of admitted pencil enthusiasts inducted into the club: 2.
Number of JT Photos 329 different photographs have been featured in the “Once Upon a Time” and “Snapshots” columns of the Jewish Times. And to date, 213 (64.7%) of these photos have been at least partially identified! This project is nearly as satisfying as retiring a pencil!
Number of Exhibitions. I’ve worked on 27 different full-gallery exhibitions—whether it was researching, curating, overseeing the installation, or coordinating the rentals. And in a close second place, I’ve worked with 26 different lobby exhibits either at the JMM or at an offsite location. Some of these exhibits highlighted select objects from our collections in conjunction with a program while others involved considerable skills in constructing an allegedly simple structure and hanging numerous art pieces. I’ve also travelled our various exhibitions to 50 venues across the state and as far away as the Spertus Museum in Chicago. The most memorable installation by far was installing We Call This Place Home in St. Mary’s County and discovering that the U-Haul we rented not only didn’t have working breaks but had been reported as stolen!
Number of Objects in a Single Exhibition. 1124. I didn’t even have to look that stat up, I still remember installing them all in Tchotchkes! Treasures of the Family Museum.
Boyfriends. 143. Although I got married in 2003, I had 143 “dates” between 2007-2008. Most of these were actually meetings with World War II veterans or their family members to gather photographs in conjunction with Ours to Fight For and lasted approximately 15 minutes, though a few did involve a corned beef sandwich at Attman’s.
Interns. Since starting the official internship program in 2006, we’ve offered 106 internships and I’ve personally supervised 28 collections management interns. That’s an awful lot of wrangling! Not only have I helped train the next generation of museum professionals, but I’ve coordinated field trips, workshops, and activities to introduce the interns to the varied world of museums.
Just last week I received the highest compliment from a colleague in the field who said, “I know that when an intern has the Jewish Museum of Maryland on their resume that they will come in knowing how to handle objects, use the database, and be ready for whatever task comes their way.”
Magic Number. 15. Number of years I have been at the JMM. Also, an address I will always remember.
 I have definitely missed a few quarterly meetings over the years, (I can’t believe I missed the meeting when Gina H. announced that she was pregnant with twins!) but my attendance record is pretty good.
March 2014. Apparently I found a bunch of previously used pencils and made it my mission to retire as many as possible. Prior to that, six was the most.
 I had planned on writing a blog post “Tips for Traveling Exhibitions: Do not rent a stolen truck!” but ran out of time. Feel free to ask Karen Falk or Darrell Monteagudo for the details.