Posted on May 20th, 2016 by Rachel
On May 29 we’re putting out the welcome mat as six of greater Jonestown’s well established historic and cultural attractions celebrate the arrival of three brand new facilities planned over the next few years. We hope you’ll join JMM, the Carroll Museums, Zion Church of Baltimore, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Port Discovery, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and B’Nai Israel: The Downtown Synagogue, in saying “welcome!” to our future neighbors.
We thought it might be a good idea to share the backstory behind this event. Most of you will recall that last October we facilitated the development of the Jonestown Vision Plan and the launch of the new Jonestown brand identity. In the months since, we’ve continued to work closely with the community and Historic Jonestown Inc. (HJI), led by Lindsay Thompson and Joe Cronyn on ways to put our ambitious goals into practice.
HJI is in the process of organizing itself into affinity groups, bringing together the neighborhood’s social service organizations, its religious institutions, its hospitality industry and its historic/cultural organizations to work on parts of the plan that are a natural fit with each group. Our historic/cultural group has been concentrating on events and programs. We felt very fortunate to be included in the Carroll Mansion’s current partnership in support of the All American House and we are studying other two-way and three-way collaborations to bring life to the streets of Jonestown, including tentative plans for a plein air art experience on surrounding streets later this summer.
Meanwhile we’ve had some terrific news about institutions bringing new activity and energy to our immediate vicinity. Just a block away from the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Ronald McDonald House is well on its way to starting construction on a new facility. The new Ronald McDonald House, which will be built at 1200 E. Baltimore Street, will reflect a commitment to incorporate best practices into all of its programs and services. The new house is intended to fulfill an institutional goal of establishing Baltimore as providing not only quality pediatric care but the most effective and compassionate family-centered care in the world. Amenities included in the design of the new house were carefully selected through input from staff, volunteers and families. The new House will serve approximately 55 families daily and 2,200 families a year. We intend to extend outreach to both volunteers and families. The coming of the new facility will also mean upgrades for the adjacent McKim Park.
And just a block away from the park, at 1100 E. Fayette Street, Kevin Plank and Under Armour have provided more than $6 million in support for a new recreation center, scheduled to open later this year. The new center will be operated by Living Classrooms. Jonestown’s cultural institutions are exploring ways to engage youth at the new center in our ongoing programs.
Go just a few blocks further down Fayette Street and you’ll come to 901, announced last January as the new site for the National Aquarium’s animal care and rescue center. Preparations are beginning now for an anticipated 2018 opening. The Aquarium hopes to provide some public access to this behind-the-scenes space. Jonestown has been welcoming new immigrants for more than 200 years – now we’ll have new arrivals with fins and tails as well.
Welcome to the New Neighbors!
It seemed like a great time to bring these new institutions into the Jonestown family. From 1pm to 4pm we’ll have family activities for every taste. Art projects, craft work, storytelling from Port Discovery and our new friends at the National Aquarium are bringing with a bearded dragon… just in case you’ve never seen a real dragon, or at least a real dragon with a beard. Admission to the Museum and to all the activities is free.
Happy birthday Mr. Jones!
Speaking of every taste, there will also be birthday cake. Whose birthday you ask? Well Jonestown, of course. On June 15, 1641, David Jones built his home by the falls that bear his name (not to mention the expressway they put on top of it). So we’ve decided to jump the gun just a little and pull out the 355th birthday cake at our Jonestown celebration. It seems a fitting way to mark a milestone for Baltimore’s oldest neighborhood and newest destination: Jonestown – proudly we hail.
Posted on May 17th, 2016 by Rachel
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 at 410.732.6400 x236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: September 11, 2015
PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.1854
Status: Unidentified – can you name any of these students in Skip Barthold’s guitar class? Held at the JCC in 1977.
Posted on May 12th, 2016 by Rachel
Performance Counts May 2016
Many years ago I heard a joke: A very creative man, Moshe, was asked by his more run-of-the-mill friend, Joe, what Joe might do to help him be more like Moshe. Moshe replied, “sometimes, the smallest change makes a big difference in the way that you see the world. Try putting your pants on each morning with the other leg first. It will adjust your whole outlook on things.”
Joe thought Moshe might be crazy, but he tried it anyway. The next time he saw Moshe, he heartily thanked him, “I tried it, I put my pants on left leg first now, and since I started, I’ve been able to come up with creative solutions to problems that once seemed intractable.”
“That’s great!” said Moshe, “but what happened to your face?” referring to the large bruises on Joe’s cheeks and eyes.
“I fall on my face every morning, because I’m putting my pants on the wrong leg first.”
For whatever reason, and despite the punchline, that joke has really stayed with me. Mostly, I guess, because I believe it to be true: small changes, when they’re the right changes, can lead to big differences in individuals, organizations and cultures.
Some fresh, new landscaping.
Since I started at the JMM about a year ago, we’ve begun collecting small changes:
*We started accepting credit cards at the front desk, so that our visitors don’t need to interrupt their entry experience to pay with card.
*We’ve moved more shop merchandise into the lobby, and have re-organized what’s in the shop, grouping items by theme, allowing us to make the shop experience also educational.
*Our front doors now feature handicap accessible paddles and power-assist opens.
*We brought in a company to power-wash the scaling from the portico that marks our entrance, and we re-landscaped the beds right out front.
*We’ve worked to stabilize the projector in our orientation space so that it no longer wobbles with the HVAC system’s operation.
*We retired the old Tzedakah box into our Institutional Archives, and had fabricated a new acrylic collection box that allows visitors to see others’ donation and encourages greater giving (the money collected this way has markedly increased!).
Our nifty new donations box.
And we’re not done! In the coming weeks and months you can expect to see:
*A new phone system (it’s being installed this week) that will allow direct dial to all JMM staffers
*A new software package that will streamline the visitor entry transaction, and will allow us to better understand our visitors – who they are, where they come from, when they visit, etc.
*A facelift for our public bathrooms, including new lighting, sinks and mirrors
*A refresh of our lobby and orientation space, including fresh paint, new furniture and improved donor recognition panels
Taken together, as we move forward into fiscal year 2017 and beyond, these small changes are really starting to add up to positive developments at the JMM. I hope that you’ll agree, and will join me in celebrating the changes we’ve already made and share with me your ideas about how we can improve the visitor experience at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.