Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Rachel
During the expansion of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 1996 there were many forgotten artifacts and objects that were found in the grounds beneath the land surrounding the museum and synagogues. My fellow Urban Archeology intern, Molly, and I have been examining these forgotten objects, cataloging, cleaning and photographing them. Most of the materials we handle are different fragments of bottles, glass, ceramics and metal, as well as some unidentified objects.
We have been able to identify the genre of most of the objects, and through research we have been able to pin point dates, regions and companies that certain artifacts originated from. However, amongst the hundreds of objects there have been a handful that we have had to make educated guesses as to what they are, and others are completely miscellaneous and unidentifiable.
Here are some pictures of individual objects that we believe to have identified, and others which we are still uncertain of. Take a look and see if you can guess what they are, what you think they could be or what it may have been used for! If you have any input, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
object E (view 1)
object E (view 2)
Did you try and guess what they are? Here are our findings and educated guesses:
Object A: We believe it is the sole of or part of a shoe.
Object B: Purse/small bag clasps.
Object C: We believe it to be part of a lid of an ornamental ceramic jar.
Object D: We think it is the arm of a small porcelain doll.
Object E: We have absolutely no idea what the material or object is or what it was used for.
Object F: It is clearly made of wood, but we have no idea what this would have been used for.
A blog post by Collections Intern Carlyn Thomas. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Rachel
Since my last update, I have learned so much more about Baltimore Jewish history by processing a wide variety of collections. Entering the library closed stacks, I am never quite sure what lies in store for me within the mysterious archival boxes. In the case of the library closed stacks, no two collections are alike!
Over the past month, I accessioned photographs, cookbooks, invoices, holiday cards, invitations, financial documents, and all manner of fascinating manuscript materials for the archives. I strongly encourage anyone interested in Baltimore history to conduct research in our archives. I recently processed original documents pertaining to the career of Lun (Licien) Harris, a fashion illustrator who was an active preservationist and founding member of Baltimore Heritage. Lun Harris was appointed to the Baltimore City Planning Commission and voted against interstate highways through Baltimore. This month, I accessioned several of Harris’ photographs as well as original diplomas and awards for the JMM archives.
Here is a photograph of Lun Harris in a three-way mirror. The scan is available in the JMM’s digital records, but we also have the original in our extensive photograph collection.
Beyond Lun Harris’ photographs, we also have various documents pertaining to this remarkable woman’s lifetime achievements courtesy of Linda Lapides. For example, here we have Harris’ gorgeous certificate commemorating her service with the Baltimore City Planning Commission:
Although this scan is available for research most of the JMM’s twenty thousand catalog records are not digitized. Anyone interested in Baltimore history would benefit from the materials available in our archival collections. As much as I enjoy digitizing new accession materials, I am amazed by the sheer volume of physical manuscripts, books, paintings, maps, blueprints, and other original documents in the archives. As a history student at UMBC, I am pleased that such a wealth of local history is readily available.
Another compelling collection from this past month, donated by Morton Esterson, includes more recent records. JMM archives include not only faded original manuscripts but also recent records of Jewish life in Baltimore. These resources, preserved in the permanent collection, will be readily available for future generations. My interest in these recent documents in particular sprang from my personal contact with the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Holocaust Speakers Bureau as a UMBC Jewish student leader. While I was directly in touch with the Holocaust Speakers Bureau, I added original documents about their resources to the JMM archives. This coincidence speaks to the continuing relevance of the archives for Jewish life in Baltimore. The archives include resources with enduring meaning beyond the realm of academia. Other “modern” documents I added in the past few weeks include Rosh Hashana greeting cards – yet another surprising find in the library closed stacks! Although some of the collections I processed are more mundane than others, just by sheer exposure to this variety of documents I have learned so much about Jewish life in Baltimore. Once again, I look forward to the next collection!
After my last blog post, my classmates at UMBC pleasantly surprised me by mentioning that they follow the Jewish Museum of Maryland on social media. Please continue following the JMM on Twitter and Facebook!
A blog post by Collections Intern Jen Wachtel. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on August 14th, 2013 by Rachel
It was a dreary Tuesday in Baltimore. My Dark Sky app predicted light rain for another 20 minutes. The interns exchanged their normal work attire for grubbies. It was the perfect day for a dumpster party!
2013 Summer interns [Front Row] Clare, Erin, Kathleen, Todd [Back] Kathy, Marissa, Elaine, Trillion had so much fun at the dumpster party, we took their “class picture” inside the dumpster.
We pulled out some ancient crates that have been hiding under staircases and tossed them into the dumpster.
Don’t worry, those crates were certainly used more than once!
Remember that really tall TV cabinet that we re-painted for every exhibition?
Visitors crowd around the TV cabinet at the opening of Nancy Patz: Her Inward Eye in April 2010.
Wheeled off on two dollies, turned end-over-end and flat on the bottom of the dumpster!
With flat-screen TVs we don’t need a huge cabinet anymore.
A couple of rolling chairs that no longer roll, and a dozen or so cracked vitrines were added to the pile.
Then it was time to tackle all of the cardboard bins. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to throw them into the dumpster. But that didn’t stop the interns from breaking down a bunch of boxes by any means necessary—knife, scissors, keys, and some karate kicks.
Many hands make quick work.
They’re all stacked up and ready to go out with our next recycling.
Can you believe TODAY was our monthly pick-up and we missed it?!
Marissa was a bit sad about the amount of non-recyclable foam components and packing material there was. Kathleen was practical about the approach, “It had to be done.”
Besides re-using the material, what other options do we have for reducing landfill waste?
I called it a party, so of course we had cake…
…and cookies, and peanut M&Ms!
The JMM summer internship officially concluded on Friday August 9. On behalf of the entire staff of the JMM I would like to thank Trillion Attwood, Elaine Hall, Kathy Harper, Kathleen Morrison, Todd Nesson, Erin Pruhs, Yonah Reback, Clare Robbins and Marissa Walker for all of their hard work and contributions to the Museum this summer… including filling the dumpster!
A blog post by Senior Collections Manager and Official Intern Wrangler Jobi Zink. To read more post by Jobi, click here.