A Year in Review

Posted on December 23rd, 2016 by

This is the time of year for reflection, for compiling top ten best and worst lists, for noting what we did (and did not accomplish) and how we can do better in the year ahead. In keeping with the spirit of the season, what follows is a list of some of my favorite JMM moments from 2016.

1. Paul Simon: Words and Music exhibit brings in record crowds – By the time we closed the exhibit, on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, more than 5,000 visitors came through our doors over the course of three months. But even more gratifying than the numbers was how the exhibit enabled us to raise our institutional profile and attract new visitors, thanks, in part, to widespread media coverage.

The exhibit provided us with an opportunity to hold several musical performances in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, such as our concluding program by Baltimorean Sonia Rutstein, which proved popular.

The exhibit provided us with an opportunity to hold several musical performances in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, such as our concluding program by Baltimorean Sonia Rutstein, which proved popular.

2. Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America opens – After more than three years of development, we opened a major, original exhibition that explores the influence of science and culture on one another and how medicine has impacted Jewish identity. The exhibit opened to many accolades from both press and the public and we continue to receive wonderful feedback from visitors.

Opening Beyond Chicken Soup

Opening Beyond Chicken Soup

The exhibit marked another important milestone as we successfully raised more funds than ever before for an exhibit and many of our sponsors came from within the medical community. And if you haven’t had a chance to see it, don’t worry, the exhibit remains on view through January 16. (But don’t put this off too long!)

3. Our newest living history character, Henrietta Szold, debuted in September– With a fabulous performance by actor Natalie Smith, the newest member of our Immigrant’s Trunk living history roster, focuses on Szold’s contributions to Zionism and to improving access to quality healthcare in Palestine.

Henrietta in action

Henrietta in action

To date, the character has performed at the JMM, at schools and synagogues.

4. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute successfully engaged more than 40 educators from public, private and parochial schools from across the state – This three-day workshop featured scholars, artists, survivors and a visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Teachers enjoyed participating in an interactive session exploring artistic responses to oppression facilitated by Gail Prensky and Sarah Baumgarten.

Teachers enjoyed participating in an interactive session exploring artistic responses to oppression facilitated by Gail Prensky and Sarah Baumgarten.

Comments such as: “How do I adequately put into words all that was imparted during this experience? I was completely blown away with the amount of information conveyed throughout the various presentations and, on a logistical level, I was impressed by the professionalism and organization of the entire workshop. The materials and resources were such a valuable blessing and I walked away having learned so much and excited to be able to take it back into the classroom and school environment.“ reflect the program’s success.

5. JMM launches a new statewide collecting initiative in conjunction with an upcoming exhibition, Just Married! Wedding Stories of Jewish Maryland – In keeping with our mission to collect, preserve and interpret Maryland Jewish history, and to fill in gaps in our collection, JMM staff is looking to collect new material that reflect the diversity of Jewish Marylanders wedding traditions.

You can read more about this important project in last week’s JMM Insights.

You can read more about this important project in last week’s JMM Insights.

6. In preparation for our upcoming exhibit, Remembering Auschwitz, JMM staff, in partnership with artist Lori Schocket and The Human Element Project, held a series of workshops for Holocaust survivors and their families. The workshops resulted in the creation of collages, created on canvases that incorporated photocopies of participants’ photographs and documents that will be transformed into plaques. The plaques will be on display as part of our spring exhibit (March 5-May 29, 2017)

The Rozga siblings make collages honoring their parents.

The Rozga siblings make collages honoring their parents.

7. Our educational programs make connections between past and present –

One example can be seen in a visit this fall by a group of students that included Syrian refugees who learned about immigration history – as they made connections with their own personal experiences – through a tour of Voices of Lombard Street.

One example can be seen in a visit this fall by a group of students that included Syrian refugees who learned about immigration history – as they made connections with their own personal experiences – through a tour of Voices of Lombard Street.

In addition this year’s Lessons of the Shoah, a high school interfaith program co-sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council that took place at John Carroll High school, focused on the plight of refugees, past and present.

8. We continued to build new partnerships and expand existing ones – JMM has long benefitted from our continued partnerships with such organizations as the Baltimore Jewish Council, The Maryland State Department of Education and Baltimore City Schools. This year we were proud to co-sponsor programs with the Gordon Center; the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies; Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University and many others. These collaborations give us the opportunity to reach new and diverse audiences and also allow us to provide access to speakers and programs we would not be able to afford on our own.

An April program sponsored by the 21st Century Cities Initiative of Johns Hopkins University on the topic of redlining brought many people to the JMM who had never before visited for a discussion on a topic that still has contemporary relevance.

An April program sponsored by the 21st Century Cities Initiative of Johns Hopkins University on the topic of redlining brought many people to the JMM who had never before visited for a discussion on a topic that still has contemporary relevance.

One particularly successful joint program was developed in partnership with the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, an October event that was billed as a Jewish Baltimore Family Reunion. Alfred Moses delivered a talk in the Lloyd Street Synagogue based on his book about his family’s business.

One particularly successful joint program was developed in partnership with the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, an October event that was billed as a Jewish Baltimore Family Reunion. Alfred Moses delivered a talk in the Lloyd Street Synagogue based on his book about his family’s business.

9. After more than 160 years in existence, the Lloyd Street Synagogue receives new attention – The JMM’s star attraction, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, was the subject of new research, art, conversations and some well deserved maintenance. In conjunction with Paul Simon: Words and Music we developed a themed building tour that examined the role that music has played in the life of the different congregation that have called LSS home.

We also invited artists for a day of plein air painting and were delighted by the different artistic interpretations of our beloved synagogue.

We also invited artists for a day of plein air painting and were delighted by the different artistic interpretations of our beloved synagogue.

Our efforts to breathe new life into the building resulted in a series of two conversations held with community stakeholders and representatives of other local history organizations. We asked participants to provide feedback about how we can better make use of the synagogue as a venue to attract new audiences (as well as encouraging repeat visitation). We were thrilled by the responses we received and look forward to implementing some of the ideas that were generated. Noting that the inside of the synagogue had gotten a little worn over the years, we also decided to invest in a major fall cleaning project that resulted in a sparkling interior.

10. JMM receives an award from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for an upcoming exhibit on the scrap industry – How gratifying it was to receive notification in September that the JMM, once again, was selected to receive a prestigious (and competitive) grant award from this federal agency. We received the notice just weeks after we launched the second phase of planning for our upcoming exhibition Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling with a site visit from members of our exhibit team including curator, Jill Vexler, and the folks from our design firm, Alchemy Studios.

As part of the team meeting in September, we visited a nearby scrap yard, Baltimore Scrap Corp.

As part of the team meeting in September, we visited a nearby scrap yard, Baltimore Scrap Corp.

The exhibit opens in Fall 2018.

As with all Top Ten lists, there are so many more highlights from the past year that I could have included. 2016 was, indeed, a banner year for the JMM. We look forward to seeing you in the year ahead and wish you and your family happy holidays and a wonderful new year!

deborahA blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

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Performance Counts: JMM on Social Media

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by

There has been a lot of discussion in the news in the last few months about the way that new social media channels are changing our economy and politics.  It seemed like a great time to talk about how JMM is using these channels to build community around the Museum, it’s artifacts and history.  In this month’s Performance Counts Rachel Kassman, wearing her “marketing manager” hat, shares recent highlights platform by platform.  Rachel does an amazing job of making us visible with very limited resources.

~Marvin

Facebook was the first social media platform the Museum dipped its toe in – we’ve had our page since February 20, 2008 (at least, that’s when we uploaded our first profile picture)! Over the past almost 8 years we’ve gained 2,270 “follows” and 2,384 page “likes.” Those follows are particularly important, as Facebook’s various algorithms use them to decide who is going to see our posts on their timeline.  In many ways Facebook is the most encompassing of our social media platforms; it serves as a photo-sharing site, an events calendar (with built in invitation capabilities), and as a forum to share articles and ideas.

In the past year we’ve also started to dabble in Facebook advertising. If you have a Facebook page of your own, you may have seen some of our “boosted” events as we work to increase awareness of the Museum and the many exciting public programs we host.

The Confusingly Popular Post

The Confusingly Popular Post

Ever heard the phrase “going viral?” It refers to something online exploding beyond any expectation (and often for no discernible reason). We had a little taste of this ourselves over Thanksgiving, with what is our most “popular” post to-date! On Wednesday afternoon we shared this archaeological bit of news: 3,800-Year-Old Ancient ‘Thinking Person’ Statuette Unearthed from Huffington Post. Over the course of the next 24 hours this post received 91 comments, was shared 425 times, and reached 14,303 people via our page. To place this in context, our next most popular post since July 1, 2016 (the farthest back Facebook Insights will allow is 180 days) had a reach of 1,935, received 1 comment, and was shared 17 times. (For those interested, it was this article.) Even stranger, the original article itself only got 12 comments over at Huffington Post. Why this post? Why on Thanksgiving? We will probably never know.

Did you know our very first tweet went out on August 11, 2010? (In case you’re wondering, we tweeted about a job opening at the Museum.) Since then we’ve sent out 13,800 individual tweets to over 1,300 followers! That number represents a combination of “retweets” (that is, where we share tweets from other accounts that we think are interesting or important) and original tweets written by the Museum. These original tweets cover everything from public program announcements to behind-the-scenes photos. The vast majority of our top tweets are based on sharing materials from our collections – our top two tweets over the past three months (September – November) celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Mexican Independence Day.

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

How do we decide what to share on Twitter? Hashtags. (What’s a hashtag? Here’s an article to explain.)  Hashtags help identify topics followers might be interested in multiple ways. One is by checking trending hashtags, which show you what topics are being tweeted about by others in your geographic location –that’s how we decided to post the above tweet on the left for Mexican Independence Day. Another is “daily hashtags” like #TBT (also known as Throwback Thursday) and #MondayMugShots (which have been a great way to highlight some of our quirky gift shop items).

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

A third way is by connecting our collections to eccentric holidays like #NationalPickleDay, #NationalButtonDay, and #NationalTakeAHikeDay. These hashtags don’t just help us on Twitter, but carry over to all our other social media platforms as well, letting us get multiple bangs-for-our-buck.  (So far we haven’t had any “retweets” from the incoming “tweeter-in-chief”, but who knows?)

Tumblr is a social media platform often referred to as a “microblogging” site – it lets users share links, photos, videos, and text posts easily. The Museum has been on Tumblr since January 16, 2015 (we debuted with a series of behind-the-scenes photos of the Museum by way of celebrating “Appreciate a Dragon Day”) and has gained 819 followers through 1,314 posts. Here’s a look at the activity on our Tumblr over the last seven days:

The last 5 days

The last 7 days

As with Twitter our top posts on Tumblr often come from our collections!

Instagram is the newest platform we’re exploring, added to the Museum’s social media portfolio just three months ago (September 13, 2016 to be exact). We’ve already gained 84 followers and posted nearly 275 individual images in that time – and those images have garnered 875 “likes” between them! Collections related posts have already proven incredibly popular, as you can see from the top 3 posts by both likes and comments pictured below.

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Remember those hashtags we talked about earlier? Instagram relies heavily on them – and we’ve got the graph to prove it! Over the past three months, after researching multiple articles on how best to use Instagram as an institution, we’ve been increasing the number of relevant hashtags used on each post. As you can see, this has had a direct correlation to the popularity of our account.

Look at that generous incline!

Look at that generous incline!

And because we’re nerds, here’s one more graph showing the most-likes-per-hashtag used on our account.

Pie charts!

Pie charts!

Managing It All

There’s a lot going on in social media for the Jewish Museum of Maryland – we do our best to provide fresh content throughout the day on all our platforms, not to mention updating the Museum blog  (and of course, sharing those updates on social media!). One tool that helps us maintain a robust presence online with limited time is Hootesuite, which allows us to schedule tweets, facebook posts, and Instagram posts in advance. This has been a lifesaver as we work to increase our output.

Hootesuite  is a great tool

Hootesuite is a great tool

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look “behind the social media curtain,” and if you have any questions about the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter), please send them to us!

~Rachel

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Make It A Day!

Posted on November 4th, 2016 by

Museum Matters: November 2016

We’re opening November with a triple-header – three separate events on one Sunday (and you can enjoy all three for the same basic admission fee).  In the morning – indulge your creativity at our art workshop, midday – get topical as we explore gender and medicine in a Jewish context, and in the late afternoon – go international with our special guest from the National Library of Israel.  Add a corned beef sandwich for lunch and you’ve created a feast for your brain as well as your stomach.  You can even use the breaks between programs to enhance your feast with a little shopping at Esther’s Place.  Hanukah merchandise has started to come in, so it’s not too early to pick up something special!

Be sure to look for our promotion of JMM at Strathmore’s Museum Shop-Around, November 10-13.

 

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org / 443-873-5177with any questions or for more information.

 

NOVEMBER

B’nai Israel, JMM 1984.045.001

B’nai Israel, JMM 1984.045.001

Sketching inside B’nai Israel Synagogue
Doodlers, Dabblers and Artists: Art-Making Workshops at the JMM
Sunday, November 6th from 10:30 am
Instructor Matthew Adelberg
Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!
 
Don’t miss this final opportunity to tap your inner artist and explore a new way of looking at the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s campus and collections. All skill levels are welcome, and our instructor is experienced in teaching all age ranges so please bring your entire family for a day of relaxation and creation.

Dr. Lucille Liberles examines a young girl, JMM 1980.29.99b

Dr. Lucille Liberles examines a young girl, JMM 1980.29.99b

Our Bodies Our Health: Jewish Women’s Healing Rituals

Sunday, November 6th at 1:00 pm

Speaker Cara Rock-Singer, PhD Candidate Columbia University

Included with admission – Buy Tickets Now!

What place in 21st century life do ancient purity laws governing menstruation have? Join author Cara Rock Singer on an exploration of ways in which 21st century Jewish people (women, in particular) have increasingly turned to the use of the mikveh (ritual bath) to mark major life transitions, from menarche to menopause or fertility challenges to hysterectomies.

National Library of Israel

National Library of Israel

Curating the Past, Creating the Future

Sunday, November 6, 3:00-4:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Aviad Stollman, Head of Collections, National Library of Israel

Included with admission

Join us for an inside glimpse into the historic initiative underway in Israel – establishing the National Library of Israel.

 

Community Kristallnacht Commemoration

Saturday, November 12, 7:00-8:30pm

RSVP to Noah Mitchel at nmitchel@baltjc.org / 410-542-4850

Sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council

Location: Beth El Congregation, Gorn Chapel, 8101 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21208

 

The evening includes a screening of the film Memories of Kristallnacht, chronicling the experiences of six survivors of the Holocaust who lived through Kristallnacht – including a local Baltimorean.

Old School Oral History Equipment

Old School Oral History Equipment

Preserving their Voices: Stories of Holocaust Survival

Sunday, November 13th at 3:00 pm

Included with admission

Dr. Uta Larkey and Goucher University students will present projects from their class Oral Histories of Holocaust Survivors – An Experiential Approach. Projects are based upon the oral histories from Holocaust survivors of our local community—many of whom have since passed away. Join us as we hear these powerful stories of survival from our shared history, helping us to reflect upon current events today.

Following the presentation, attendees are invited to join us for light refreshments, dietary laws observed.

Flyer

Flyer

Jewish and Muslim Refugees in Baltimore: Connecting Past to Present

Teacher Training Workshop

Tuesday, November 15, 5:00-9:00pm

Free admission – Registration required at www.icjs.org/rtn_signup

Co-sponsored by Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies

Light dinner served (dietary laws observed)

Teachers will explore the history of Jewish refugees in Baltimore, discuss current debates and share experiences of Muslim refugees in Maryland, contextualized within both national and global frameworks. Representatives of local refugee organizations will offer examples and suggestions on how students can build relationships with local refugees.

 

DECEMBER

 

Downtown Dollar Day: Healthcare Heroes

Sunday, December 4th from 10 am

Museum Admission $1

 Join us for a hands-on day at the Jewish Museum of Maryland!

First explore the skills needed to become a healthcare professional with a series of hands on activities. Try your hand at some scientific experiments, keyhole surgery and plaster cast application.

Later, learn from professional animator Eliezer Medina how to draw and ink some of your favorite cartoon characters. Recreate your favorite superheroes and hear about their Jewish roots!

 

Cordials, Schnapps, and L’chaims: Let thy beverage be thy medicine

Thursday, December 8th

Facilitated by Casey Yurow, Pearlstone Center

Included with Admission

Join Pearlstone Center’s Program Director, Casey Yurow,  for a multi-sensory and mind-altering evening to explore the relationship between Jews, plants, and therapeutic beverages. We’ll get to taste a variety of cordials made from the seven species of Israel – dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, wheat, and barley – and look into some historical uses of fruit, herb, and spice infused beverages in Jewish tradition and beyond. The evening will include opportunities for hands-on beverage blending for folks to take home with them.

This program is designed for participants aged 21 and over. Dietary laws will be observed. Places are limited so please book your space in advance by contacting Trillion Attwood at tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443-873-5177.

 

Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing

Sunday, December 11th at 1 pm

Speaker Mike Silver author of Stars in the Ring

Included with Admission

More Jewish athletes have competed as boxers than all other professional sports combined. From 1901 to 1939, 29 Jewish boxers were recognized as world champions and nearly 200 others were ranked among the top contenders in their respective weight divisions. Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing chronicles an era when boxers named “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom, Ruby Goldstein (“The Jewel of the Ghetto”), Leach Cross (“The Fighting Dentist”), Joe Bernstein (“The Pride of the Bowery”) and hundreds of other fabulous Jewish boxers literally fought their way out of poverty to become instant heroes to a generation of immigrants struggling to break out of poverty and enter the American mainstream. Author and historian Mike Silver presents this vibrant social history in an entertaining and informative presentation.

 

Mitzvah Day

Sunday, December 25th from 10 am

Included with Admission

 Join us for Mitzvah Day in partnership with the Jewish Volunteer Connection. Bring your family and give back to our community with thousands of other volunteers across Baltimore.

 

Family New Year’s Hanukkah Party

Saturday, December 31st, from 5:00 pm

Included with Admission

 Imagine yourself on December 31st.  It’s the last night of Hanukkah.  It’s the eve of a brand New Year.  It’s Newyearsikkah!!

If your family is looking for an early start to this once in a decade event, head our way.  Candle lighting, songs and activities will start at 5pm.  The countdown for our “star” drop will begin at 6:45pm with a dramatic finish 15 minutes later – just in time for New Year’s (in London, of course) and then get the kids home in bed by 8:00.


Also of Interest

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.

 

Ongoing at the JMM

Exhibits

Exhibits currently on display include Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America (through January 16, 2017), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

 

Hours and Tour Times

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times

 

Esther’s Place in a temporary space!

The Strathmore Mansion

The Strathmore Mansion

The JMM shop is going on the road! We’ll be joining 17 of our colleagues at the Strathmore Mansion’s 27th annual Museum Shop Around.  On Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, November 13, all of our great merchandise—elegant Judaica, unique gifts, and fun toys and games—will look even more amazing in the context of the fabulous Strathmore Mansion! Please come by to visit us and do some holiday shopping. When you do, you’ll support not only JMM but lots of other local and regional museums.

 

Membership

Make it official! Become a Member of the JMM.

Learn More about membership.

Already ready? Join Here.

 

Get Involved

The JMM is always looking for volunteers! Click Here to learn more.

Click Here for complete hours and tour times

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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