Become an Upstander!


Volunteer Opportunities
in partnership with
Jewish Volunteer Connection


Traveling with Grace: Atlanta to Asheville!

Posted on November 19th, 2019 by

This week, our #TravelTuesday series, Traveling with Grace, takes us from New Orleans into Atlanta, GA and Asheville, NC! To read more of Grace’s travels, click here.


Interior of Bankhead Tunnel Under Mobile River, Alabama, c.1930-40s. Via.

Mon. Aug. 12th. Sorry to leave this nice place but must be on our way again. The road follows the gulf a good part of the way. We had intended visiting the Bellingrath gardens out of Mobile but found it would take too long and it was not worth the price at this time of the year. In Mobile we saw some lovely old Southern mansions, a few of them turned into boarding houses and went thru the Bankhead Tunnel under the Mobile river which cuts off some of the distance (its exactly like the Holland Tunnel in N.Y. only smaller). At Bay Minette we stopped for lunch and Mrs. Parks put the tray of dishes on the front seat but after we finished eating it was accidently knocked over and all the dishes broke so I wanted to pay for the damage and all the lunch room operator would take was 10 cents. About 6 we arrived at the Jefferson Davis in Montgomery which seems to be a very pretty city. After dinner we walked for several blocks along the main street window shopping and saw the capitol flood lighted up on the hill.


Atlanta Biltmore Hotel, Georgia. Via.

Tues. Aug. 13th. Before leaving Montgomery I looked up my old friend Carrie Loeb. We had a little trouble finding her as she had moved several times but we finally tracked her down and she seemed very glad to see us. We rode around Capitol hill and the bldgs. Looked even prettier than they did last night, one of the most attractive state capitols I have seen. There is also a lovely residential section and we passed one pretty synagogue. Left Montgomery about 11 but lost an hour setting watches back to E.S.T. Stopped in West Point for milk and sandwiches. Passed thru a string of little towns en route to Atlanta the approach to which is dirty compared to the other towns we had been in. Got in the Atlanta Biltmore at 6, called Carolyn immediately and she insisted that we come to her house for dinner. She had invited about 8 of her friends to meet me and we had a lovely evening.


Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Monument in progress 1940. Photo by Edgar Orr, via.

Wed. Aug. 14th. Carolyn and Elizabeth want out with us and showed us Atlanta and vicinity. Some college campuses a number of suburbs, Decatur where Elizabeth treated us to lunch in the hotel, several parks, country clubs, Stone Mt. with its half-finished carvings of Lee, Jeff Davis, etc. started by Borglum and Lukeman and never completed, the Cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta, Bobby Jones house, and golf course named for him. On a lake in the park we saw the cutest boats propelled like tricycles. Tonight Perrine, Elizabeth and Carolyn had dinner with us on the terrace. (I had ordered a special dinner from the maître – d’hotel) and we chatted and watched the dancing until nearly 11. It was delightfully cool here.


Techwood Homes, Atlanta, GA, late 1930s, an early public housing project in the United States. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thurs. Aug. 15. Carolyn invited us all for lunch at her house. Then she and her mother went out with us and showed us some more of the city including the Negro University, housing projects, better Negro residential district (all for Milton’s benefit) and then some really magnificent estates (one a miniature Fontainebleau) and many of these beautiful houses are owned by the Coca Cola magnates. Tonight we had dinner in the Coffee Shop.


Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina, 1940s. Via.

Fri. Aug. 16th. Called for Carolyn about 10 o’clock and started up to Asheville by way of Highlands, Cashiers, Waynesville and Sylva a beautiful ride thru the mts. delightfully cool. Arrived at the Grove Park Inn (after stopping for lunch at a nice little restaurant in Dillard, Ga.) about 5 o’clock. Tonight I met Ella and Milton Nathan, Mr. and Mrs. Tobreiner and Mrs. Charles Rubinstein at the hotel.


East entrance, Grove Park Inn. Via.

Sat. Aug. 17th. Enjoyed the lovely terrace and took a walk in the garden this afternoon. Met Mrs. Bertha Bauer and Mildred and Joe Siegel. Tonight we played bridge on the porch.


 Seely’s castle exterior from “Overloook,” Asheville, North Carolina. Courtesy of the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, UNC at Asheville.

Sun. Aug. 18th. Took a beautiful ride this afternoon up Sunset Mt., passed the old castle built by the late Mr. Seely who was a big publisher here and built half of Asheville, past the Asheville water shed and reservoir and on up to the Pisgah National Forest reservation with magnificent views along the way. Tonight we heard a very pretty concert at the hotel.


Asheville Auditorium. Via.

Mon. Aug. 19th. Went to the AAA this morning to arrange reservations for the remainder of the trip and for Carolyn’s plane trip home. Returned to the hotel for lunch and this afternoon visited the Antique Show at the Asheville Auditorium. Among the items on exhibit were china, bronzes, ivories, lamps, jewelry, dolls, doll furniture, samplers, buttons, paper weights, quilts, tapestries, hat pins, furniture, candelabra, miniatures, prints, and various oddments. Tonight we played bridge again.


Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Turning Oy Vey into JOY VEY: Esther’s Place

Posted on November 15th, 2019 by

In this month’s Performance Counts Rachel Kassman takes the measure of a holiday market and introduces two new shopping opportunities for Baltimore. To read more posts from Rachel, click here.


Performance Counts: November 2019

Whether it’s finding the perfect symbol to celebrate a bar mitzvah, showing your love on an anniversary or trying to put a smile on the face of all your nieces, nephews, baby cousins, and kids at the holidays, we all know the trials and tribulations of gift shopping. That’s where Esther’s Place, the JMM shop comes in. From treating yourself to getting ready for the holidays, here at the Museum we try to make Esther’s Place a one-stop shop to reduce stress and make shopping easy and fun.

With the weather turning chilly and our thoughts turning to the dancing lights of hanukkiah, we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season – this year Esther’s Place is participating in three separate special events! This past weekend, from November 7-10, Esther’s Place set up shop at the annual Museum Shop Holiday Market at the Mansion at Strathmore. This was our fourth year participating in the Holiday Market and once again was a highly successful endeavor. We sold over $7,800 worth of merchandise, and perhaps even more importantly, we spoke to dozens of folks who were excited to learn about the Museum, taking brochures and program guides home to plan their visits.

Fun fact: The most popular item sold was Hanukkah candles (56 boxes), with Hamsas coming in second in the single item-type category with 39 sold. Our custom Oy Vey Old Bay magnets where the top-selling single item sold at 36! As usual, Mah Jongg merchandise proved popular with 54 Mah Jongg-related items sold over the four days.

This Sunday, November 17, Esther’s Place will be appearing as a special pop-up at the Owings Mills JCC from 10am – 3pm. This is our first solo pop-up, so if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi to JMM Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker, who will be on hand to help you find the ideal gifts for all your loved ones. We’ll also have plenty of Hanukkah candles in a variety of colors, styles, and materials on hand.

On Sunday, December 1, Esther’s Place has another first – we’re participating in Museum Store Sunday. Developed by the Museum Store Association, Museum Store Sunday is a way to bring attention to the importance and impact of museum shops. Shopping at Esther’s Place supports the mission and programs of JMM, making our exhibits, talks, education programs, and tours possible. It’s shopping you can feel good about!

(Most of the) Year in Review:

Books continue to top our “Best Seller” list – unsurprising at a museum, after all! The top 10 selling books since January 1, 2019 are an interesting mix of perennial favorites and special event books:

Stitching History from the Holocaust exhibit catalog (a whopping 46 copies!)

President Carter: The White House Years by Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, our 2019 Annual Meeting Keynote speaker

And There Was Evening and There Was Morning by Ellen Kahan Zager and Harriet Cohen Helfand – in addition to the book, we have art prints of Ellen’s illustrations for sale in Esther’s Place!

Houdini: Art and Magic by Brooke Kamin Rapaport

Big Little Book of Jewish Wit and Wisdom by Sally Ann Berk

Voices of Lombard Street exhibit catalog

Did Jew Know? by Emily Stone

On Middle Ground by Deborah Weiner and Eric Goldstein

Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore by the late Gil Sandler

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley – you may remember Debbie as half of our 2018 Annual Meeting Keynote speakers!

Our most popular children’s items are the cuddly Macca Beans Collectables (my personal favorite is Gefilte, the fat blue fish) and the matzoh ball stress balls (not just good for kids!) at 53 and 32 pieces respectively. Sadly, it looks like the Macca Beans are no longer being produced, so once we’ve sold out of our current stock, that’s it!

Perhaps most exciting for me are our custom JMM products. We introduced our “Oy Vey,” “Shalom Hon!,” and “Smalltimore” magnets and mugs over the summer in 2018 and they have proved as popular as we hoped. “Oy Vey” is the clear winner, with 136 magnets, 45 coffee mugs, and 37 camp mugs sold this year – I’m glad our homage to Maryland’s love of Old Bay is bringing a smile to so many people.

Remember, Esther’s Place is always open during the Museum’s regular hours – you can stop in or call 443-873-5179 with any questions! Let us help you make your gift shopping stress free and help us by supporting the Museum with your purchases.

P.S. Special props to Board Member and regular front-desk volunteer Roberta Greenstein for her brilliant suggestion of Turn Oy Vey into Joy Vey as we brainstormed what to call our Esther’s Place pop-up!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland




A Quick Trip to Philadelphia

Posted on November 14th, 2019 by

A blog post by Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.


Last week, I attended the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists (ARCS) biennial conference in Philadelphia. It was my first ARCS event, and the longest amount of time I’ve been able to enjoy in that fair city… and while most of my time there was spent sitting in a hotel ballroom, I did manage to visit a few museums in my 2.5 days.

The conference focused on artifact and art handling, shipping, storage, and (my favorite) cataloging and registration. Topics ranged from the broad – dealing with the removal of controversial public art, for example, or the policies behind a large collections move – to the nitty gritty, such as which European airports have the strictest rules for art couriers. It’s always nice to be among your peers, people who understand the pain of poorly documented 50-year-old donations and the joys of matching up a “found in collections” object with its original paperwork.

My ARCS name badge, complete with “accession number”-style membership ID, and of course some JMM swag so I could be sure to represent.

You’ll be happy to know that Baltimore did represent at ARCS – beyond my own presence – thanks to Kate Gallagher of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, who presented an interesting session on their groundbreaking student-performed cataloging project.

Finding Baltimore’s Jewish community wherever I go: Here’s Mendes Cohen, in a way, serving as a representative sample of the museum’s cataloging project; souvenirs from his travels form an important part of the Archaeological Museum’s collections.

**** 

Sessions and workshops and expo hall swag are all well and good, but any good museum conference involves some visits to, you know, museums. I only had time for two on this trip, but both were new to me, and both were delightful.

The façade of the Rosenbach museum and library.

First, I hit up the Rosenbach, where my JMM predecessor, Jobi Zink, now works. They are conveniently open late (and they offered free admission to ARCS attendees). As always my attention was split between average-visitor and museum-professional; in this case, I learned a lot from their current exhibit on Herman Melville, but I also appreciated the way the exhibit was fitted into and around the house’s windows, mantels, furniture, and other historic (and sometimes immovable) elements.  I was museum-raised in a historic house, and I’ve slotted many an exhibit around the table that had to be in that corner and the moldings that can’t be damaged.

Yes, I took this photo in appreciation of the exhibit window treatments and the way the designer and staff worked around the giant mirror – not to showcase the actual exhibit. You’ll just have to visit the Rosenbach yourself to learn more about Melville.

****

I also made it to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ Historic Landmark Building, a gorgeous space just a few blocks from the conference hotel.

The entrance hall of the HLB.

I am always up for an art museum, and PAFA has a great collection with some interesting special exhibits currently on display… but I was particularly delighted with my visit because I accidentally ran into my old friend Charles Willson Peale, eternally showing off his museum.

“The Artist in his Museum,” Charles Willson Peale, 1822, in the collections of PAFA.

I’ve seen this mammoth* painting before, and in fact I have a small version hanging on my office wall, but I’d forgotten it was in the PAFA collections, so it was an unexpected pleasure to take another look. When viewed at full size, it’s easy to see my favorite museum-visitor portrait:

The woman on the left is so excited by what she sees! Is it the mammoth skeleton? A taxidermied dodo? A Peale portrait?  Some other artwork or wonder? Well, as far as we can tell – since Mr. Peale himself is in the way – what she’s really excited to see in the museum is…

SEATING! Look, it’s that rarest of exhibit items, a BENCH! If this young lady isn’t already a museum meme, she should be.

*Ha ha, get it? because it’s a large painting, and there’s a mammoth skeleton in it! That was an accidental pun but I decided to leave it in for your enjoyment, dear readers.


 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Next Page »