Houdini’s Shackles Case

Posted on June 20th, 2018 by

Blog post by JMM intern Alexia M. Orengo Green. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

As many of you may know, the Jewish Museum of Maryland is opening Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini. This exhibit puts Houdini’s story in a new perspective that most people do not know. Houdini’s Jewish legacy. Before coming to the Jewish Museum of Maryland and learning about the upcoming exhibit I did not know that Houdini was Jewish, which surprised me. The exhibit connects Houdini’s Jewish heritage, his life’s work, and Maryland through artifacts such as newspapers, his straitjacket, and his shackles.

Title Houdini exhibit. Photo by Alexia M. Orengo Green

This week one of the other interns and I had the amazing opportunity to help set up this magical exhibit. We were given the opportunity to set up the case for Houdini’s shackles and part of his lock pick set. Before starting to set up the case, we selected the fabric we were going to work with, which was a black velvet that went with the color scheme of the exhibit. Afterwards, we saw the different artifacts we were working with, which gave us an idea of the possible layout we were going to create. To better present and add dimension to the case, we decided to elevate with props several of the artifacts.

Props used to create the case.  Photo by: Alexia M. Orengo Green

When creating the case, the artifacts that were heavier and bigger were put on the back of the case while the smaller ones were set up on the front. By doing this, the visitor can see the multiple artifacts without having to hover over the exhibit case. An example of the smaller artifacts in the front of the case would be the lock pick set. The set was placed in front of the case in a line, so the visitor could better compare each of the tools Houdini used. So, it can be better appreciated on the right of the lock pick set, we placed a hair pin that Houdini also used to open locks. After we finished setting the artefacts on the table we began to adjust some of them to improve the case’s presentation and make space for the labels.  We also decided to move some of the artifacts, so the case could have a good contrast.

Exhibit case. Photo by: Alexia M. Orengo Green

From the exhibit case we created, my favorite artifact was a pair of shackles that we set at the top left corner of the case. This pair of shackles were my favorite because they were the most unique from the collection. The shackles are rigid, oxidized, and cannot bend, but the most interesting thing from the shackles is their key. What intrigues me the must of the key is the H” that it has on the middle to indicate the shackles were Houdini’s. This small detail, which may not be noticeable at the beginning, makes the shackles stand out.

Participating on the creation of the Houdini exhibit was an amazing experience. Being able to work behind the scenes of an exhibit and with artifacts that belonged to Houdini is an incredible honor. This exhibit creates a new narrative encompassing Houdini’s Jewish heritage and his connection with Maryland. Anyone that goes to see the exhibit will have an astonishing time.

 

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Once Upon a Time…10.06.2017

Posted on June 19th, 2018 by

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 by email at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

JMM 2006.13.507

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: October 6, 2017

PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.507

Status: Identified! Mr. Pacy Olesky, President of the JCC, with three award-winning volunteers, 1974: far left Bertha Galperin Wegad, celebrating her 2,5000 volunteer hours; center is Rena Goldberg, celebrating her 1,500 volunteer hours; and far right is Rebecca Rimson, celebrating her 6,000 volunteer hours.

Thanks To: Karen Glazer

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Meet The New Trustees

Posted on June 15th, 2018 by

Performance Counts: June 2018

This month’s edition of Performance Counts comes from Development Director, Tracey Dorfmann.

~Marvin


As a newcomer to the JMM team, one of the delightful things I have discovered is the exceptionally dedicated JMM Board. This group of 30 talented women and men help the staff behind the scenes and sometimes right out front.

Just a few of our excellent board members!

Together they give over a thousand hours of service by sharing their wisdom and expertise at meetings, helping us raise money for projects, weighing in on many topics, and adding to our strategic visioning conversations. Several of our board Members also volunteer in many other capacities of the Museum such being docents and aiding in our collections department and attending relevant meetings outside of our building.

Board members at work

Last month we elected six officers, Board President Dr. Robert Keehn; Vice Presidents Nancy Kutler, Jeff Scherr, and Len Weinberg; Treasurer Jerry Macks; and Secretary Arnold Fruman. All of our officers have devoted years of their lives to this museum – recruiting new friends, engaging in our programs and enabling our success. In addition to electing these officers, we also added several new faces to fill vacancies and I would like you to get to know them.

This year we welcome five new Trustees. They are: Robert (Bob) Manekin, Robyn Schaffer, Angela Wells-Sims, Stuart Rosenzwog, and Steven Hawtof. These individuals infuse our leadership with a wide range skills, knowledge and interests. Respectively they represent the following professions: Commercial Real Estate, Health Administration, Healthcare Finance, Building Materials Distribution, Business and Real Estate Law.

Four – Bob, Angela, Stuart, and Steven are Baltimore natives. One (Robyn) was born in Schenectady, NY but has called Baltimore home since 1999.  One of our new board members (Bob) was a JAGC Officer on active duty stationed in Hawaii. Cumulatively, at different points in their lives they have lived in four states and in one other country, Israel. They all have children. The JMM staff hopes to meet all 14 school-aged and adult children from these five families.

Some favorite films include Amadeus, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz.  Favorite books include A World Undone, and Excellence by John Gardiner. Their passions include: family, Judaism, connecting the discourse between health and education, growth and change, and appreciating life.

What they Love about Baltimore:

“It’s home”

“a large Orthodox Jewish population and many Kosher restaurants”

“Historic Architecture, Public Parks, Great Food, Innovative and Talented People”

“History and Diverse Ethnicity”

Every one of them loves Maryland because of its location and particularly because of the diversification of lifestyles and geography: urban, rural, beach, and mountains.

In total we have 21 Trustees who are volunteering for three-year terms: Sheldon Bearman, Erica Breslau, Neri Cohen, Alan Dorenfeld, Roberta Greenstein, Saralynn Glass, Toby Gordon, Lola Hahn, Steven Hawtof, Bonnie Heneson, Skip Klein, Abram Kronsberg, Suzanne Levin-Lapides, Ira Malis, Robert Manekin, Judy Pachino, Lee Rosenberg, Stuart Rosenzwog, Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, Claire Tesh, and Angela Wells-Sims. We have two Trustees volunteering for a one-year Presidential Appointment: Robert Gehman and Robyn Schaffer

We are looking forward to a vibrant and productive year with our terrific Board of Trustees.

~Tracey

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