Museo Antonio Felmer

Posted on December 13th, 2018 by

A blog post from JMM Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. To read more posts from Wendy, click here.

I knew extremely little about Argentina and Chile until this past month when I was fortunate to spend 2 ½ weeks there.

The majority of the population are descendants of immigrants, just like in the US.  Besides seeing people that resembled those I see on the streets at home, the immigrant similarity really hit home when I visited Museo Antonio Felmer, a museum outside the Chilean city of Puerto Varas.  The collection consisted of objects brought by German immigrants to Chile, starting from the mid 1800’s into the 20th century.  There was a parallel immigration of Germans to Baltimore at the same time.  Some of those Baltimorean immigrants established the congregation that populated our Lloyd Street Synagogue.  I wonder how many of their precious objects they carefully packed and brought to the new world to either help them in daily tasks or with their occupation.

Antonio Felmer, a descendant of one of the German families in Chile, wanting to preserve his community’s history, started collecting household and farm related items which he housed it in his barn.  Antonio has since died, but his son has taken over the ever-growing collection and is running the museum that fills the three floors of the barn.  Much to his son’s chagrin, Antonio didn’t keep records regarding the provenance of the items or the items’ function. It has taken some guess work, and input from visitors to determine the function of some of objects.  For example, for years, he wondered why a chair in the collection had only 10” tall legs.  A visitor recalled that mothers would sit on chairs like that to be close to their children as they sat around her on the floor.

The collection is wonderfully displayed with related items grouped together. Many of them are kept in working condition from items needed for daily living to items used for entertainment.

There were food molds, meat grinders, – wait, didn’t I see similar objects in the pop-up exhibit in the lobby of JMM in September?

There were multiple sewing machines which brought to mind the sewing machine in the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit.

Yes, there were wedding dresses, too, on display.  Most of the wedding dresses in the JMM “Just Married” exhibit were white.

In this collection, some of the dresses were black though the veils were always white.

Why black?  Because the dress owners lived in a poor farming community where the women needed to have the dress to wear for other good occasions and white was not practical to keep clean.

When I saw a steamer trunk on display, I wondered if Houdini held the patent on its design.

The Felmer family obviously has a passion to preserve their history, something all who are associated with the Jewish Museum of Maryland can relate to.

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What Learning Looks Like In the Lloyd Street Synagogue

Posted on December 12th, 2018 by

This post was written by JMM Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

Learning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland takes many forms. Since the beginning of the school year in September, over 1000 students, teachers, and chaperones have brought their curious minds to the Museum with the hopes of learning something new. In November, Northwood Elementary School’s seventy-one 4th grade students visited over two days. They participated in our Introduction to Judaism program that takes place in the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Northwood’s students were a perfect example of what learning in the Lloyd Street Synagogue looks like. However, my title is not completely accurate. It’s not just what learning “looks” like. It’s not just visual. It’s verbal. It’s auditory. It’s kinesthetic. At the JMM we encompass all these styles.

Learning is visual. Inside the sanctuary of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Program Assistant Emma asked Northwood students what they saw. She was curious to know what looked familiar to students and what was new. It was like a “show and tell” of the Synagogue. Students found the ark, bimah, Ner Tamid, and the Star of David stained glass window. Notably, students pointed out that the phrase written across the ark was not in English, but in Hebrew.

Students playing Show and Tell in the Sanctuary with Emma.

Learning is verbal. Its students sounding out letters of the Hebrew alphabet as Emma teaches them a new word. Students didn’t just find the Hebrew characters above the ark, they had an opportunity to learn Hebrew phonetically.

Students using Hebrew guides to sound out the word Shalom.

Learning is kinesthetic. Students didn’t just see the oldest architectural exterior stained glass window in the United States, they built it. This hands-on approach by our education team is often mentioned by teachers in their feedback forms as something that impressed them.

Northwood’s 4th graders piecing together the Star of David stained glass window.

A few students from Northwood decided to take notes during their visit. Writing is a form of kinesthetic learning. One student wrote “When the Lloyd Street Synagogue opened in 1845 it was the first synagogue built in Maryland.”

A Student’s amazing notes made during her visit at the JMM.

Learning is auditory. At the Museum we are storytellers. Students listened to Emma as she told the story of the three immigrant communities that worshipped in the Lloyd Street Synagogue. By asking questions, students made connections between the stories Emma shared and their own lives. At the end of their visit, students mentioned that they learned about “the Jewish community (in general and in Baltimore).”

Finally, learning is social. After spending the morning exploring the third oldest synagogue still standing in the United States, students worked together to recreate the building. They chatted amongst themselves to determine which wall went where and when the bell tower was added (and removed).

Northwood Students working together to build the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Each school visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland is unique. Each student may connect with a different part of the story that we share. What is not unique is that every student walks away having learned something new that will, hopefully, spark a future conversation with friends and family. On a feedback form, a Northwood teacher remarked that “My students were virtual ‘blank slates’ when it came to Jewish history … it’s been a joy watching them learn so much!” I can guarantee that our education team enjoyed seeing, and being a part of, all the types of learning that took place with the Northwood Students.

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Once Upon a Time…03.02.2018

Posted on December 11th, 2018 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 1995.128.1.26.3

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: March 2, 2018

PastPerfect Accession #: 1995.128.001.026.003

Status: Identified! Pictured are Jay Burman and Susan Sattell at the AZA Sweethearts’ Dance, 1964.

Thanks To: Jay Burman

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