Volunteer Spotlight on Shelly Mintz!

Posted on February 13th, 2017 by

Shelly Mintz has been a Front Desk Volunteer for about a month at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. While growing up in New Jersey, Shelly has spent most of her life in Maryland. Shelly shared with me that her mom worked in Stone’s Bakery which was right around the corner from the JMM. After becoming a member of B’nai Israel Synagogue three years ago, she took a docent led tour of our two historic synagogues. It was there that she found out about volunteer opportunities at the JMM. Shelly decided to join our volunteer corps because she loves museums and was also looking to meet people with similar interests. While she is not related to Rabbi Mintz of B’nai Israel, she thought the fact that they shared the same last night was also a good sign to become involved at our museum.

Shelly Mintz

Shelly Mintz

Shelly works as an Assistant Attorney General and represents the Department of Juvenile Services. When she is not at the JMM, she ushers at local theaters, volunteers at the Walters Art Museum, travels to exotic locations like New Zealand and Australia and is a passionate animal rights activist.

Although Shelly has only volunteered a few times so far, she has quickly learned our new ticketing system and has been very good with our visitors. She also helped us by conducting evaluations of our last exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. As it has sometimes been difficult finding volunteers for Sundays (one of our busiest days), we were particularly excited that Shelly was interested in volunteering on that day. While at the JMM, Shelly likes how people often start talking to her about their lives and experiences. Whether it was a genealogy researcher who was thrilled to explore the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit and see where his family came from or visitors who come back with joy in their eyes after going on a Synagogue tour, Shelly has found the JMM to be a unique museum that allows people to reconnect with their heritage on both an intellectual and emotional level.

If you know of anyone else who would like to volunteer with Shelly at the Front Desk (or in any other area of the Museum), please contact Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.

GrahamPost by Visitor Services Coordinator Graham Humphrey. Every month we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x220! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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Ten in the Twentieth: Baltimore Jews and Social Justice 1920s

Posted on February 13th, 2017 by

Article by Dr. Deborah R. Weiner. Originally published in Generations 2009-2010: 50th Anniversary Double Issue: The Search for Social Justice.

The Baltimore Jewish community has produced many leaders who have worked to make the world a better place. The range of issues they have addressed is impressive: from women’s suffrage to civil rights, labor relations to helping the elderly, refugee resettlement to eliminating poverty, and much more.

This chronology traces the careers of ten Baltimoreans who stood up for social change, with each person’s entry revolving around a turning point—one for each decade of the twentieth century. This is by no means a “Ten Best” list. The people included here are remarkable for what they accomplished, but others, equally remarkable, could have been chosen as well. These profiles should be seen as representative of a larger group of Baltimore Jews who have made major contributions to their communities and to the broader society in myriad ways.

The 1920s: Dr. Bessie Moses

Click here to start from the beginning.

1927: After meeting with national reproductive rights leader Margaret Sanger, Dr. Bessie Moses (1893-1965) opens the first birth control clinic in Baltimore, the Bureau for Contraceptive Advice, at 1028 North Broadway. Though many of the Bureau’s activities were illegal at that time, Dr. Moses and her staff “managed to subvert the federal Comstock laws” banning the interstate traffic of contraceptives by “performing research on the efficacy of birth control methods,” mainly diaphragms and condoms, according to a Planned Parenthood profile (in the 1940s the clinic became  Planned Parenthood of Maryland). Moses served as the clinic’s medical director until her retirement in 1956.

Dr. Bessie Moses. JMM 1980.29.31b

Dr. Bessie Moses. JMM 1980.29.31b

Committed from an early age to women’s health, Moses had been the first female obstetrical intern at Johns Hopkins. She became a prominent figure, mentoring students and speaking before groups. A compassionate physician as well as a rigorous scientist, she spoke out against restrictive birth control laws, testifying with Sanger at Congressional hearings. Her clinic served blacks as well as whites (although on segregated days, as local custom demanded). In 1938 she established the Northwest Maternal Health Center to serve black patients, the first in the nation staffed by African American physicians.  In 1950, Moses and Sanger were the first women honored with Planned Parenthood’s Lasker Award.

Continue to The 1930s: Lee Dopkin

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The Impact of Federal Funding on JMM

Posted on February 10th, 2017 by

Performance Counts: February 2016

The JMM relies on many different funding streams to support our exhibitions, educational programs, public programs and ongoing operational needs. As our exhibits tend to be our most costly initiatives, we typically develop a multi-year fundraising strategy for each project that targets a mix of private and public prospects from individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies. We have been especially fortunate over the past few years to have received significant federal support for our exhibits that have provided vital funds for such activities as planning, exhibit design and fabrication and have helped us leverage additional funding from private sources. Total government support in the FY 16 budget (including both federal grants and state funds through the Maryland State Department of Education SAI program and Maryland State Arts Council) was $493,000.

Happy 50th!

Happy 50th NEH!

Our two principal federal funders are the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Through its Public Humanities Project initiative, NEH funds exhibitions that are grounded in the humanities and offers support for both project planning and implementation. The application process is rigorous and requires an intensive amount of staff time for researching humanities connections as well as writing detailed responses to each question of the narrative and preparing budgets and other supporting documentation in the form of letters of support, bibliographies, staff resumes and other relevant material. Applications are subjected to several rounds of review by both NEH program staff as well as a peer review process that involves museum colleagues from museums around the country. The JMM has a long history of successful applications including our most recent award of an implementation grant in the amount of $300,000  for Beyond Chicken Soup. We have recently submitted a planning grant application for our new core exhibit, Belongings and are hopeful that it, too, will be awarded. The NEH stamp of approval is a powerful tool for fundraising and also serves as a mark of distinction among the museum community.

IMLS

IMLS

Likewise, we have frequently been awarded grants from IMLS. Our most recent submission, through the Museums for America initiative, was awarded $150,000 in support of Scrap Yard: Innovations of Recycling. As with NEH, the grant application process is challenging and requires many hours of staff time to complete. The review process is also similar and involves several rounds of evaluation by program staff and peer reviewers. Having participated in panel reviews of other institutions’ applications, which requires many hours of reading applications and then debating their merits over the course of two days of meetings with colleagues from other museums, I can attest to the rigorous vetting process in which applications are subjected before a determination is made of whether or not to award funding. This makes our track record of success especially rewarding.

Robyn and Esther at Museum Advocacy Day 2013.

Robyn and Esther at Museum Advocacy Day 2013.

Because both NEH and IMLS are federal agencies, their budgets are authorized annually by Congress. In recent weeks there has been talk about defunding NEH and IMLS funding prospects are unsure as well. Clearly cuts to these agencies would be detrimental not only to the JMM but to the larger community of museums and historic sites that serve as vital communal educational resources. We are actively engaged in several advocacy efforts to make our voices heard in this debate.  The Greater Baltimore History Alliance (GBHA), a consortium of forty local history museums, is developing a statement of support on behalf of the NEH. We will be represented at the American Alliance of Museums’ Advocacy Day, at the end of February, by JMM consultant and docent extraordinaire, Robyn Hughes. During the two days of meetings with congressional delegations, museum professionals and volunteers from around the country will convey the important message urging our representatives to maintain level funding of all federal arts and humanities agencies.

We encourage citizens who share the belief that history and heritage matter to let their voices be heard by their representatives on this important topic.

deborahA blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

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