JMM Insights: History Is Now

Posted on May 15, 2020 by

How do you know when you’re living through history?

The simple answer is that we’re always living through history, and that some future historian may look back on even the most innocuous era with great curiosity and excitement. Still, there are times when our lives change so rapidly and/or so completely (he said, writing on his iPad in his basement) that you know for certain people will want to keep a record of these times.

So in this week’s JMM Insights we’re offering a new type of interactive experience, one that builds the story of YOUR family into the story of our community, coming together while standing apart in the COVID 19 crisis.

~Marvin


Help us plan our digital museum offerings!


THE DIGITAL MUSEUM: HISTORY IS NOW

JMM Collects Stories of the Pandemic

We’re looking for your stories of life during the COVID-19 public health crisis! As a museum, we actively collect materials related to the events, past and present, that impact our audiences and communities.

This pandemic, which has affected nearly every aspect of daily life for Jewish Maryland, the City of Baltimore, our Jonestown neighbors, and other communities all across the state, definitely qualifies as one of those events. We believe it is important to gather and preserve personal stories, not only to help the historians of the future understand this moment in time, but also to help people today realize the many different ways the pandemic is affecting our family, friends, and neighbors.

We hope you will submit your experiences and stories — through words, images, or objects — to help us preserve the memories and experiences of Jewish Maryland for future generations.


Your words can be in whatever format you prefer: written (poetry, a journal entry, a letter, an essay, or just some scribbled thoughts) or recorded (on your phone, with a fancy camera, or maybe through your laptop or tablet). Photos and drawings can be used to illustrate your words, or stand alone as a record of your experience.

Use this form to easily share your work with us. If you prefer to submit by mail (we love getting mail!) or through email, or have objects that you think might interest us, that’s okay too!

Send your words and photos, and offers of objects, to Joanna Church, Director of Collections & Exhibits, at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org or The Jewish Museum, 15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.  Make sure to include your name, hometown or location, and age in your email or letter to us, and let us know how you would like us to attribute and share your work – use the questions on the form as guidance.


We know you might be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to start. You are not alone! We’ve got a few ideas that might help you focus on the story or stories you’d like to share. Remember – The Jewish Museum of Maryland is about the stories of everyday people. There’s no pressure to come up with a unique or earth-shattering tale; we’re interested in everything, from memories of the people you’re missing the most to what your home workspace looks like to whatever has most surprised you about living through our current events.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but let your own inspiration and experience guide you! Through words and images:

Tell us about your quarantined event or holiday: a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, Passover Seder, a bris, a b’nai mitzvah, Mother’s Day – how did you celebrate differently? What traditions did you manage to keep or adapt? How did it make you feel?

What’s a new hobby or skill you’re learning – or maybe an old one that you’ve picked up again?

What do you miss the most about your usual work/school/volunteer daily routine (or maybe, what have you realized you miss the least)?

What has changed the most about your neighborhood? What have you discovered about the people and places closest to your home?

Are there any silver linings you’ve discovered? Anything you want to make special efforts to continue post-pandemic?


Objects tell stories, too! 

If you have a physical object that you think helps tell your story, please let us know.

(We can’t physically take the objects in person yet, but we’d love to talk to you about them.) What sort of things do we mean?

Some suggestions might be:

A homemade mask (once you no longer need it, of course)

A “closed” sign from a business or synagogue

Take-out menus or carry-out bags from restaurants that had to pivot their business

A calendar empty of events, or tickets to a game or performance you couldn’t attend

School projects (after you’ve been graded) completed at home rather than in the classroom

Signs or artwork thanking first responders

What else can you think of?
We can’t wait to see, hear, and share your stories.

While this particular pandemic is new to us, life-changing events and “historic” moments are regularly preserved in museum collections, thanks to the people who take the time to record and share their stories, memories, and experiences.

We’ve got plenty of examples in our own collections, like photographs and mementos from The Great Baltimore Fire and World War One Homecomings. Just like in these two examples, the stories we gather today will provide crucial context and details for the historians of the future.

Looking for some more inspiration? JMM is part of a global initiative to collect and preserve examples of life during this pandemic. Explore our fellow institution, the Maryland Historical Society’s “Collecting in Quarantine” project as well as the Chicago History Museum’s “In This Together” initiative.


JOIN US – LIVE!

Virtual Author Visit

Hannah Salyer Presents:
PACKS: Strength in Numbers
Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 3:30pm

We’re thrilled to host author and illustrator Hannah Salyer for this special live stream reading of her book PACKS, an inspiring celebration of how togetherness helps many creatures thrive, including people! Hannah will also lead a drawing demonstration and share about learning from the togetherness we see in the animal kingdom.

Register for this Live Stream Event here!

Current Voices:

Uprising + 5 – Activists
Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 7:00pm

JMM is honored to host a special live stream panel discussion with female-identifying activists to share their ongoing work in remembrance of the 5-year anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising. These activists strive to bring our city together as a safe place for all our residents and visitors.

Register for this Live Stream Event here!

This program is presented in partnership with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Support for the program has been provided by Open Society Institute-Baltimore.


WONDERNAUTS 2020: VACATION DESTINATION

Pluto was once the ninth planet from the sun.

It was also the smallest planet in our Solar System. But Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet. Blast off into the future where dwarf planet Pluto is a popular vacation destination!


ESTHER’S PLACE: ONLINE

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at csniezek@jewishmuseummd.org and let us know.


 

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