Upcoming Exhibitions

Living History at the Jewish Museum of Maryland


Over the past dozen years, the Jewish Museum of Maryland has developed significant expertise in the creation of compelling living history characters and a national reputation for excellence in this medium.  In consultation with a team of professional historians, script writers, directors, and actors, we have created historical performances based on extensive research. These performances illuminate key themes of American Jewish history in an accessible and personal manner. The performances incorporate reproductions of artifacts, photographs, and documents from the JMM collections and include opportunities for audience interaction. For many viewers, living history performances resonate in powerful ways and the feedback we receive is universally positive.

Bessie entertains a crowd in Voices of Lombard Street. Photo by Will Kirk.

Bessie entertains a crowd in Voices of Lombard Street. Photo by Will Kirk.

Today the Jewish Museum of Maryland has several living history characters. These characters perform around the state for students and adult audiences alike. The Living History program at the Jewish Museum of Maryland teaches about Maryland history and illuminates the Jewish experience in America in previous eras by introducing audiences to a real person who lived it.

Ida B. Rehr – a Ukrainian immigrant who worked in the garment industry

Henrietta Szold – a Baltimorean educator and activist

NEW – Houdini’s Trunk – the story of how Erich Weiss became Harry Houdini 

Houdini’s trunk is made possible with the support of The Jacob & Hilda Blaistein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.


Living History Program performances are available for schools, public and private events and can take place at the Museum or outside venues. The cost for the living history program is $300 plus mileage reimbursement at $0.50/mile. To schedule a Living History performance or to learn more, please contact Paige Woodhouse, School Program Coordinator, at pwoodhouse@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443.873.5167.

Immigrant’s Trunk for Schools


Through the Immigrant’s Trunk program, schools can schedule performances of living history characters as well as rent trunks based on their lives.

Immigrant’s Trunk: Living History Performance

Offered For: 2nd to 12th Grade

Length: 1 hour

Delivered: Onsite or Offsite

Discover the lives of actual Jewish immigrants to Baltimore at the turn of the twentieth century through a dramatic living history performance. Professional actors interpret the lives of:

Ida Rehr – a Ukrainian immigrant who worked in the garment industry.

Henrietta Szold – a rabbi’s daughter who broke with the traditional role of women to become a champion of Jewish engagement.

Bessie Bluefeld – a Russian immigrant entrepreneur who started the beloved kosher catering company, Bluefeld Catering.

The cost for the Living History program is $300 plus mileage reimbursement at $0.50/mile. For Baltimore City Public Schools, the program is $100 plus mileage reimbursement at $0.50/mile. We can offer this program for free to our Partner Schools. If you are interested in becoming a Partner School, please contact Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Learning and Visitor Experience, at (443) 873-5178, or email her at idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org


Immigrant’s Trunk: Rental Option

Teachers can also rent a trunk based on the life of Ida Rehr. Each trunk contains reproduced photographs, documents, letters, and objects from the Museum’s collection that students explore. A curricular guide within the trunk provides teachers with instructions for classroom facilitation.

The cost of a three-week rental is $60 per trunk, which includes one-way shipping to your school. There is an additional $25 fee for a staff facilitator plus round-trip mileage reimbursement. Each school is responsible for the cost of return shipping.


Immigrant’s Trunk

Offered For: Preschool to 1st Grade

Length: 1 hour

Delivered: Onsite or Offsite

Through the use of immersive storytelling, visuals, and music, preschoolers learn the story of a teenage girl, Ida Rehr, who makes a big journey all by herself from her parents’ home in the Ukraine to her new home in Baltimore. The trunk includes photo reproductions, props, and song sheets. This program can also be sent to your classroom (Please see Immigrant’s Trunk: Rental Option).

The cost of this program is $25. If the program is delivered offsite, there is an additional mileage reimbursement of $0.50/mile.


Katherine Lyons as Ida Rehr.

Katherine Lyons as Ida Rehr.

For more information about educational opportunities related to our Living History Program, please head over to our Educational Programs Page.