A blog post by Deborah Cardin, our Education Director.
Planning for our upcoming 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash (Sunday, Sept. 19, 12:00-4:00 pm) has brought with it a flood of memories. While I’m sure that when asked to recall favorite JMM memories, many of my co-workers will share recollections of crowd pleasing exhibitions, public programs, exhibition openings, or publications – what reverberates strongest for me are the wild and wacky art projects concocted by the JMM education and program department to tie in with holiday programs, exhibitions, and field trips.
When seeking ideas for art activities to have at our birthday party, we decided to revive some of our past greatest hits (all from the past decade). The education and program department office (known fondly as the west wing because of its locale) is overstuffed with random art supplies and props (visitors have been known to trip over hoola hoops
and express bewilderment at the vast array of wigs and headgear) and this seemed like a wonderful way of both celebrating our Museum’s past achievements and clearing out some of the less useful supplies (oversized coffee filters, anyone!)
But which art activities to include in our birthday bash?! We started our search by reviewing a list of past exhibitions (thanks to Jobi for keeping such great records) and then hunting through our office to see what supplies we had on hand. The first item to surface was a stack of Tchotchke bingo cards from an original JMM exhibition (March 2000-April 2010)
Next up, spools of gimp from Cabin Fever! Jewish Camping and Jewish Commitment (March 2006-August 2007), perfect for making everyone’s favorite camp project lanyards
Digging through art supply cabinets revealed paper doll templates that were decorated with original fashions designed by children in conjunction with Enterprising Emporiums: The Jewish Department Stores of Downtown Baltimore (October 2001-February 2003).
A trip downstairs to our storage hallway unearthed more treasures. While I decided to ignore the box of blank nesting dolls (put to use at a 2002 Christmas Day program celebrating the Baltimore Jewish Community’s partnership with Odessa, Ukraine) [insert nesting doll photo], I had a eureka moment when I found a box containing cardboard templates meticulously cut out to mirror shoe footprints that were later transformed by visitors – with the help of pipe cleaners and felt – into slippers and thongs. This was one of my all time favorite projects that was part of our “shuk” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuk] that we installed in the JMM lobby to recreate the ambiance of the ancient Near East as we opened the exhibition From Tent to Temple: Life in the Ancient Near East.
And now back to the giant coffee filters, just the thing to make fashionable floppy hats in conjunction with Hello Gorgeous! Fashion, Beauty, and the Jewish American Ideal (September 2005-May 2006).
While we made more dignified hats using cardboard, tissue paper, and pipe cleaners for Enterprising Emporiums, the tie-dyed wide brim hats were a huge crowd pleaser (although they did leave quite a mess on the floor of our lobby!) While kids could opt to make a more restrained top hat
the floppy hats were by far more popular.
In case you might have missed one of these noteworthy art projects, here’s your chance to make a complete set of JMM inspired knickknacks. Join us at our Birthday Bash on Sunday. I will be sure we have enough coffee filters for all!