Posted on August 14th, 2014 by Rachel
There are due to be some amazing objects on display within our upcoming exhibit, The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, one of which is the American flag Mendes made during his time in Egypt. The flag is an important part of our collection and has a great claim to fame, probably being the first American flag to be flown on the Nile. Though exciting that the flag will be on display throughout the duration of the exhibit, it was essential to undertake some conservation to ensure no damage comes to the flag.
Last week we had a visit from Michele Pagan, the textile conservator who is working on the flag. She has already done some great work, adding a new backing to the flag that is much lighter that what had been used previously. This layer will also act as a support to the fraying edges and will have a section sewn in to make display of the flag easier. Michele has also added a layer of red silk organza behind the red strips of the flag, giving back some of the color to the flag, without doing anything that could be potentially damaging.
Marvin Pinkert, Deborah Cardin and Michele Pagan with Mendes’ flag
At present the strongest area of the flag is the canton, the blue square, the fabric is in good condition and has lost little of the original color. In contrast the stars are starting to deteriorate, not surprising as they are only made with paper and attached with an adhesive. The stars are receiving some careful treatment from the conservator, a fine layer of silk organza is being sewn over the top of the stars, keeping them visible but offering a little extra support.. This approach is the simplest of the three options presented, but it is also the one which is least likely to prove problematic in the future.
One of the surprising things to hear from Michele was that this is possibly the most fragile flag on which she has ever worked, given that she worked on THE Star Spangled Banner, this is quite a statement! There are a number of reasons for this all of which relate to the conditions in which it was made. Mendes certainly didn’t plan to be making this flag prior to leaving America, it seems whilst travelling in Egypt his patriotism inspired him to create the flag. This means that unlike most flags of the time made of wool, Mendes had to make the most of what he had and so his flag is made of cotton.
The difference in the ways in which the materials have deteriorated comes from the quality of the cotton, the blue is of a higher thread count and was dyed prior to weaving helping it to retain its color. In contrast the red and white are of a lower thread count and it is probable that the dye was applied to the red after weaving resulting in its loss of color. We did wonder if perhaps Mendes had dyed the fabric himself, but based on this letter it seems not, dated May 3rd, 1832:
“10th day … Manfalout containing about 400 inhabitants – bazaars – apricots, cucumbers, apples (small) – purchased red, white and blue cotton to make a flag – returned on board and cut it out, my servant making it”
Packing the flag safely away again, ready for more conservation work.
The flag is a stunning piece so make sure you come and see the great work that has been done on the flag in The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, opening September 14th 2014.
A blog post by Program Manager Trillion Attwood.
Posted on August 12th, 2014 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 Deborah Cardin at 410.732.6400 x236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 17, 2014
PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.227
Status: Partially Identified! From the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore Collection, taking May 1972. Left to Right: 1. Bertha Wegad 2. Unidentified 3. Toba Weinberg (Grant) OR Sandy Saiontz 4. (possibly) Dr. Marvin Saiontz
Special Thanks To: Judy Snyder, Honey Littman, Lee Belaga
Posted on August 8th, 2014 by Rachel
How to Avoid Regret
Next week you will receive our JMM Insights newsletter. It will contain photos of the great activities, artifacts and speakers we had during the five weeks of Electrified Pickle. Some of you will look at the newsletter and think, “gee, I really wanted to see that.”
Well, here’s my tip: it’s not too late. We have one more week of the Electrified Pickle, and we are going out with a double-header. Come by this Sunday and enjoy “Code This!”, and, as Hercule Poirot would say, “exercise those little grey cells” – ciphering, deciphering and bar coding. We will have an enigma machine on site and an expert on WWII codes, Dr. David Hatch, who will speak at 3pm on “Kosher Cryptology”. On next Wednesday night we torture our pickles one last time for your education and enjoyment – electrifying them, freezing them and who knows what else. It’s mad science night at JMM.
Don’t wake up next Friday with post-Pickle remorse. Be a part of this one-of-a-kind tech fair.
And for even less regret – mark Sept 14 on your calendar now. You have the chance to be among the first to “lose yourself” in the Mendes Cohen maze and discover a whole new world of 19th century Maryland.
Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / email@example.com. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org.
Sunday, August 10, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Explore the secret world of coding and decoding past and present. Learn about encryption, decryption, bar codes and ciphers. We will be welcoming Barcoding Inc. who will reveal the secrets of barcoding and teaching us how this common but mysterious code works. Then create your own secret code and deliver messages with invisible ink.
We also welcome the National Cryptologic Museum and Dr. David Hatch who will demonstrate the uses of the Enigma Machine used in the twentieth century for enciphering and deciphering messages.
Eavesdropping On Hell
Sunday, August 10, 3:00pm
Speaker Dr. David Hatch
From Navajo Windtalkers to the women of Bletchley Circle, the mysterious world of codes, ciphers and those who make and break them has proven fertile ground for the imagination, inspiring authors, filmmakers, and television producers to tell their stories. This Sunday join us at the Jewish Museum of Maryland as Dr. David Hatch shares some of the true stories about the minds behind America’s efforts in cryptology surrounding World War II.
Late Night on Lloyd Street: After Hours Mad Pickle Science!
Wednesday, August 13th, 6pm -9pm
If you still haven’t visited the Electrified Pickle this is the perfect opportunity! Come and visit the museum after hours, explore the experiments in the exhibit and play with some of our favorite experiments from our Sunday programs. This of course includes electrifying Pickles! We will also be welcoming Mad Science, with their show Bubbling Potions, essentially lots of dry ice plus freezing pickles.
As with all late nights we will have plenty of food and drink available. Please be aware this event has a maximum number of places available so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Book Talk: The Jewish Daughter Diaries
Sunday, August 24th, 1:00pm
Author Rachel Ament
The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much By Our Moms is a hilarious, and heartfelt essay collection about Jewish mothers, featuring essays by prominent writers and entertainers including The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. Whether the essay features a mom impersonating her daughter on Jdate, a mom who makes half her daughter’s bed while her daughter is still sleeping in the other half, or a mom who takes her camp‐hating daughter on a visit to a “summer camp consultant,” the book is sure to strike a familiar chord in anyone who has been loved too much by their moms.
SAVE THE DATE
Members Opening: The Making of The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen
Sunday, September 14, 5:00pm
Just for members of the Jewish Museum of Maryland and members of our partner The Maryland Historical Society we have a special insider’s evening at the maze. This will be a chance to not only meet our living history character and explore the exhibit, but also to here from the creative voices who turned a little-known 19th century soldier, businessman and adventurer into a physical experience. Our panel of experts will delve into the decisions that drove the development of the maze and character – and reveal some of the stories and anecdotes that had to be sent to the “cutting room floor.” It’s a chance to go behind the scenes of the exhibit process for people who love museums.
MENDES COHEN WAS THERE:
At Ft. McHenry when the bombs were bursting in air; at the Supreme Court when states rights were at stake; in Paris when the people prepared the barricades; at the Vatican for the installation of a new pope; down the Nile to collect artifacts; in Jerusalem as the first American tourist; in Annapolis when arguments raged over fugitive slaves; on the board of the nation’s first railroad.
But who was Mendes Cohen?
A soldier, a banker, an adventurer, a politician, a philanthropist… a member of the elite, a member of a persecuted minority… a son of England, a son of Germany, an American patriot, a proud Jew?
Come meet the most interesting person you have never heard of! The Jewish Museum of Maryland and The Maryland Historical Society invite you on a journey to put together the puzzle of one man’s identity and in the process discover something about identities we share. It’s a journey full of twists and turns and missing clues.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is offering a very different perspective of the Battle of Baltimore and its aftermath. A new exhibit opening September 14 follows the life of one of the most interesting characters in the fort, artilleryman Mendes I. Cohen. The museum has turned the many twists and turns of this real life adventurer into a maze. Visitors follow Cohen from his rescue of the gunpowder during the battle, to his life in the family lottery business (did you know that the Washington Monument was built with funds from lottery sales?), to the struggle to give Jews the right to hold office, to his visit with the Pope, to his journey down the Nile and his status as the first American tourist in Palestine. That’s just the first half of his life!
The exhibit connects Cohen’s journey to what was happening to Jews across America, Europe and the Middle East in the early 19th century. It explores how Cohen, as one individual, created a personal identity and it allows visitors to reflect on how they are forming their own identities. Younger visitors will enjoy a series of hands-on experiences, but older visitors will also appreciate some of the new discoveries they will make about the 19th century and authentic artifacts and letters from the Cohen family that are embedded in the maze.
The maze exhibit will be open through June 14, 2015.
Citizen Stand: Battle for Baltimore 1814
Sunday, September 21st, 1pm
Performed by Baltimore School for the Arts
Help us welcome BSA to the JMM for a performance of their latest student production, Citizen Stand: Battle for Baltimore 1814. Students have worked with Maryland Historical Society and National Park Service to develop three short plays about the battle that led to the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. The plays explore different experiences for Baltimoreans in the lead up to war. One play is especially important to us as there is a character not dissimilar from Mendes Cohen. September 14 to June 14 2015 – The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen
The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit bnaiisraelcongregation.org. For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on facebook.
The Jewish Genealogy Society of MD will hold its next program in the Pikesville Library’s meeting room on Sunday, August 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available. Throughout the past year, we’ve featured entertaining and informative presentations by speakers, but now it’s time for our group members to take a turn. Please join us at the meeting and bring something to share! For more information contact contact Susan Steeble at firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibits currently on display include The Electrified Pickle through August 15, Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks!
Hours and Tour Times
The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.
The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or email@example.com.
Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.
All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.
Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/museum-membership/ For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you visit The Electrified Pickle, keep the experiments going! Check out our new additions in the shop.
On the Blog:
Here’s some great posts you might have missed on the JMM blog!
Top 3 Things – Summer Intern Arielle shares her favorite JMM experiences.
Volunteer Spotlight – this month we profile volunteer Robyn Hughes!
“The War to End War” Marvin Pinkert on the anniversary of World War I.