International Volunteer Managers Day

Posted on November 4th, 2011 by

Volunteer coordinators and managers make it their duty to thank, support, guide and appreciate volunteers all year long. I have just learned that November 5th, is International Volunteer Managers Day.  Who knew that Hallmark’s reach extended to the world of volunteers? I’m not certain that there are actually greeting cards for the occasion (yet) but it is a nice chance for all volunteers to pay it forward and make sure they know their coordinator/managers hard work does not go unnoticed!

It will be a nice gesture to take the time to give a hug, write an email, or offer a high five your favorite manager of volunteers to celebrate their special day. There are so many volunteer opportunities around today that it is very likely that you are one yourself.   If you are a volunteer, I recommend you take some time to thank your volunteer manager today!

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The New, Improved, West Wing

Posted on July 6th, 2011 by

By Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, Education & Program Coordinator

The JMM has two sides. The main administrative offices, in back of where the exhibits live, and the West Wing, where the Education and Programs Department lives. Not unlike the real West Wing, the JMM WW includes (arguably) the most important people. Okay, maybe not. But we’re definitely the most fun. Our department includes myself, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr (Education and Program Coordinator), Rachael Binning (Community Outreach Coordinator), Ilene Cohen (Volunteer Coordinator), Ilene Dackman-Alon (Director of Programs), Deborah Cardin (Director of Education), and a slew of interns.

The West Wing is divided up into four rooms. The first is what used to be a coat rack, which contains mostly storage. Once you’ve walked through this open room, you enter a large room where Ilene C, Rachael, myself, and interns work. Down a short hallway are Ilene D-A and Deborah’s offices. When I started, just over a year ago, the room where I worked was a hot mess. There were two desks, a large copier, a giant table with giant chairs, and a few shelving and storage units. The walls were dirty, the corners were filled with clutter, and nobody could ever find anything. It drove me crazy.

A few months after I started we hired Rachael, adding a third mismatched desk and another body to our small space.  We started dreaming about all the things we would change if we could have our dream office.  Eventually we drew out plans for an office redesign that would be affordable and revolutionary.  We figured that if we put together some Ikea furniture ourselves on the cheap our CFO would absolutely let us do it.  When we took the plan to her she said no to our Ikea proposal, and instead came up with a MUCH better plan of bringing an office redesign specialist in to trouble shoot with us!

Before (dramatization) via

After Susan’s office magician came in we waited and waited and waited for our furniture to be delivered.  Finally, one glorious day in late May, we got a call that our furniture would be delivered the following week!  We spent days clearing everything out of the office, recycling and trashing what felt like tons of things.

Rachel, Rachael, and I painting!

The Friday before the furniture was being delivered Rachael and I stood in the middle of the empty room and came to a realization- we needed to paint.  The walls were long over due for a touching up, and since spent all this time getting a “new” office it felt like a shame not to go the extra step to paint.  So Rachael and I walked over to the local Duron to pick up paint, thinking we’d paint sometime over the weekend. By the time we’d picked out the color and walked back to the Museum, we were too excited to wait.  So at 4pm on a Friday, with the help of Rachel Kassman, Jennifer Vess, and Rachael’s dog Wednesday, we painted the entire West Wing.

Wednesday, the best canine painting assistant ever.

When the new furniture arrived the next week we very carefully returned files, supplies, and decorations into the office.  So far, we LOVE it.  Our number one rule has been KEEP IT CLEAN, and it’s working!  The biggest compliment we’ve gotten so far? A fellow water ballet member said after seeing it “I can tell you went to art school by how beautiful your office is!”

I have to agree with her.

The office, a panorama

Another fun thing I did for my space, which doesn’t have a pinboard, is make this frame for hanging things.  Based on this DIY, this little frame has been the perfect way to display some pictures and make my corner of the office my own.

We love our little office!

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An Installation Process

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 by

One of the benefits of working at a small museum is that we each have the opportunity to wear many hats.  It’s how I became the graphic designer.  And the web master.  And part of the social media team.  Our days are full of little extra things that keep the job interesting.

One of those things is helping to move travelling exhibits.  The wonderful Community Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning is responsible for finding homes across the state (and, possibly, the country) for the exhibitions curated and created by the JMM.  This is quite a task, it involves a lot of research, emails, and phone calls.  I can say that because our desks are next to each other.

This past week we installed Drawing on Tradition: The Book of Esther, an exhibit of work by artist JT Waldman, curated by the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  On Tuesday Rachael (from hereon known as Toodles to differentiate her from Rachel Kassman) drove to DC in a giant van with the work.  We unloaded everything at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and then treated ourselves to Chinese food and frozen yogurt.

On Thursday night, Jennifer Vess (Archivist), Rachel Kassman (Photo Archivist), Toodles and I stayed after work to help with the 18 Stones Book Signing & Reception at the Museum.  It was here that we learned that (unsurprisingly, I guess) challah with sweet butter and chocolate sprinkles is delicious.

After the program we left for DC, with a stop at Target on the way (to buy an airmattress.  And a few blouses).  We arrived in DC at Toodles’ house, quickly snuggled her dog Wednesday, and then headed to Ted’s Bulletin for dinner.  Now, there are two points that need clarification.  1) We decided to all stay at Toodles’ house Thursday night so that we could get up and begin installing first thing Friday.  2) We chose Ted’s because they have adult milkshakes.

Mmmmm… adult milkshakes, burgers, and more!  This was a good dinner out.  After dinner we went back to the house, took Wednesday on a long walk, admired the architecture of Capitol Hill, and then knitted and watched movies.

Early the next morning we got moving, got breakfast, and arrived at Sixth & I.  Here is where I stop to say the most sincere thank you I can muster to Cecilio, the hanging genius/madman that helped us hang.  He was a precise hanging machine and we’d still be there, crying in the corner, exhibition unfinished, if not for him.  We all divided up tasks– hanging, condition reporting, putting up the giant decal that took 10 years off my life.  And amazingly, it went up!

Throughout the process, we took a lot of photos with my DSLR and the end product was (what we think is) an awesome stop-motion video.


Drawing on Tradition: The Book of Esther from Jewish Museum of Maryland on Vimeo.

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with much deserved frozen yogurt.  Be sure to stop by Sixth & I to see the exhibit through April 29!

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