Last weekend we were joined again by Dr. Arnold Blumberg who delivered another fantastic talk. Still Crazy After All These Years: Classical Monster Mashes was inspired both by our current exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music and tomorrow nights spooky celebrations.
Monster Mash Cover
Dr. Blumberg predicts that of the novelty songs with a strong connection to Halloween almost 75 to 80 percent were all produced in the same year, 1958. This surprising figure came about as a result of a clever marketing strategy from the makers of many of the classic horror movies. As a result of a rerelease of these movies on TV there was a renewed interest in horror. This eventually led to the production of horror themed novelty songs, as it became clear that these songs had huge earning potential more and more were produced. One of the most successful was of course Monster Mash, but as Dr. Blumberg discusses there were many, many more.
Please enjoy this recording of Dr. Blumberg’s talk and perhaps share with us your favorite Halloween novelty song.
While we all are excited about the newest exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music, the museum is always hard at work. My name is Rachel Rabinowitz and I am the current Exhibitions intern here at the museum. I am lucky enough to be helping out with an exhibit coming next year to the museum. “Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and American Medicine” will highlight all the ways Jews have become involved with American Medicine. One of the ways the museum is able to showcase this amazing history is through object that our loaned to our museum. I was lucky enough to join Karen Falk, Joanna Church and Alicia Puglionesi on a recent visit to pick up some items from Sinai Hospital in downtown Baltimore. Although there were so many great artifacts, images, and objects to choose from in the library, we chose a select few to use in the exhibit.
Here are few of the items you may see in our upcoming exhibit:
This odd looking stethoscope confused the staff here as to its exact use. My research, through the internet and the help of my mother (a gynecologist) lead me to find out is it called a fetoscope. This device was first described by doctors David Hillis and Joseph De Lee in 1917 and 1922 respectively. This device allows a doctor to monitor the heartbeat of the fetus during labor. The metal headband was attached so that the doctor could have their hands free to deliver the baby. (Sources: Feinstein, N., & Health, O. (2003). Fetal heart monitoring: Principles and practices (3rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub. QCOM – Fetal Heart Monitoring – History – Page 2. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2015. http://utilis.net/fhm/2465.htm)
Children’s coloring book
This item stands the test of time as coloring is an activity that children seem to always love. This coloring book from the 1960s was created by the Sinai Women’s Auxiliary to help children understand what it means to be a patient in the hospital.
Hospital Gift Shop
One thing you will always see at a hospital is a gift shop. This image from the 1940s shows two women volunteering at the gift shop at Sinai Hospital when it was located on Monument Street. You may notice a lot of the same items that were sold in the gift shop then are still sold today such as magazines and candy.
Keep a lookout for these items in our upcoming visit! Feel free to comment about these images or any memories you have about Sinai Hospital here in Baltimore.
A blog post by Exhibitions Intern Rachel Rabinowitz.To read more posts from interns click HERE.
Last week I went to the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums annual conference in Philadelphia. The theme of the conference was “Embracing Diversity In All We Do.” It was fitting that it was held in the historic center. A plaque around the corner from the conference hotel stated that it was in Philadelphia where Quakers, Jews, Catholics and Protestants “experienced the difficulties and discovered the possibilities of fruitful coexistence that American democracy was to offer.” The plaue also stated that diversity is still evident in the Old Philadelphia Congregations, a consortium of historic churchs and sygogogues that are working together to broaden interfaith understanding and celebrate Philadelphia’s inique contribution to religious freedom in America. Within steps from the conference hotel, I also discovered Mikveh Israel, which is Philadelphia’s oldest Jewish congregation and dates from the 1740s. In front of the synagogue stood a statue to Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy who was the first Jewish U.S. Navy Commodore serving during the Civil War.
Mikveh Israel and Uriah Levy
As a way of gaining admission to the conference, I volunteered in the morning assisting with set up and handing out of session evaluations. This was also a good chance for me to network with other museum professionals. I was glad to run into several former employees of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, including one intern, Falicia Eddy who is now back in graduate school. The first session I sent to was on developing programs to bridge the gap between museums and individuals with cognitive, intellectual and sensory processing disabilities. I came away with some ideas which I hope to implement at the Jewish Museum. I also went to a session on diversity, where the highlight for me was hearing from Melissa Yaverbaum, the Executive Director of the Council of American Jewish Museums. I was also fascinated to hear from Eastern State Penitentiary about how they have diversified their staff by hiring former prisioners as front line staff and tour guides.
MAAM conference session
Between sessions, I walked a few blocks over to visit the National Constitution Center to look at their new exhibit titled “Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court” as I felt that this supplemented nicely the theme of the conference. I concluded the day with a session focusing on social justice in museums and how museums have the potential to become centers of gravity for discussions around civic unrest and human rights. I left inspired by some of the efforts other institutions are making to diversify their audiences, programming, exhibits, and staff, but also committed to improving our Museum.
A blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.