An Update from Esther’s Place

Posted on June 29, 2020 by

A blog post by Chris Sniezek, Manager (Esther’s Place).  To read more posts from Chris, click here.


Hello everyone! It’s shop manager Chris again.

A lot has happened since my last blog post in May. In my personal life, I decided that after five years of dating I would propose to my girlfriend. I enlisted several of our college friends to help me and we all met up in Gettysburg, PA, (the site of where we first met) and after a quick socially distanced rendezvous with them, I asked her if she would marry me. She said yes! Even among all the stuff going on, there are still some happy moments. It was a nice and relaxing weekend otherwise.

I’ve enjoyed spending a little more time with my family when possible (both my parents are highly susceptible to the virus due to underlying conditions and age) and spending more time outside. I’ve gone on more walks and bike rides since quarantine began than I have in almost three years. These activities have become more important for me recently because they keep me active. Usually it is my hobbies which keep me active, but since they are all cancelled, I have a lot less activity in my life. Most reenactments have been cancelled or postponed (the Gettysburg reenactment, which usually runs the first week of July, has been pushed back until the last week of August rather than outright cancelled. Most other small events which don’t make up a large portion of the area’s tourist industry have been cancelled through at least the rest of summer) so there hasn’t been much activity for me outside. I’m very much looking forward to getting back out into the field again! I miss the smell of wood smoke and sulfur, feeling the ground under my blanket roll, the heat being trapped by the wool uniform, the ability to cook over an open fire, and the comradery of stories around the fire.

In work life, things are going well. The Museum’s gift shop is online, and I’ve seen a lot of people looking at our items on the eCrater site.

There have been some additions to the site such as our Jewish penicillin mugs (I bought one and I use it pretty much every day. I don’t use it for soup or coffee, but instead tea and juices) which are a highly sought-after item as well as a new jewelry line.

This jewelry line comes from the creator Emilie Shapiro who creates jewelry pieces out of recycled metals and uncut gems.

Emilie sources her materials directly from gem traders so costs are lower, and each piece is unique. What makes her work special, besides the use of recycled materials, is her technique for making each piece. Each item is hand-made, and the molds are individually carved out of hardened wax to hold the melted materials.

As the Museum entered phase I of the reopening process, we have been trying to figure out what works for keeping the most people (ourselves and you) safe. Since the Museum was in phase one, I have been able to pick up and go into the museum. Here I found the Emilie Shapiro jewelry waiting to be added to the store page, a new shipment of 120 “Oy Vey” mugs (coming to the online shop soon!), and all of the penicillin mugs waiting to be added to the shop. I still need to add the price tags to these items, but for now, I’ll just stick to the basics. Since I hadn’t been in the shop for several months, there is plenty to move around, putting away the items for Purim and ensuring the shop isn’t cluttered. On top of these responsibilities, I’ve also been assigned a position as visitor/member outreach. Now, for donations or membership renewal, I get an email alert notifying me and I reach out (via phone) to say thank you.


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