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100 Years of Scrapbooks

Posted on October 11th, 2019 by

For this month’s edition of Performance Counts, archivist Lorie Rombro shares some of her favorite finds as she’s been researching the history of the Associated in preparation for the upcoming Centennial Celebrations. This week scrapbooks, next week Scrap looks! You can read more posts by Lorie HERE.

Performance Counts: October 2019

For the past two years I have had the pleasure of assisting the Associated in preparing historical information to celebrate the upcoming centennial. Searching through the over 3,000 photographs and archival files about the Associated at JMM (along with an additional 4,200 + photographs and records about the Jewish Community Center, Levindale, and many of the agencies that are part of the Associated), has been fascinating.

Associated Jewish Charities subscription mailer, 1925.

Two of the resources here at the Museum that I have really enjoyed working on for the centennial are the historic Jewish Times and our collection of scrapbooks about the Associated. From 1921 to 1931 the Jewish Times had an almost weekly page dedicated to the Associated. It began as Philanthropictopics: A Forum of the Associated Jewish Charities Baltimore. This name of the page lasted until 1923 (I understand why they changed it. Although fun, it was a mouthful.) to eventually become Associated News by 1929. These weekly updates would give a variety of information, history and yearly statistics on agencies of the Associated, events and classes that were happening, new officers and board members, information on dues collection and campaigning, and general information to help the community understand what the Associated did.

Left: Philanthropictopics, Jewish Times, June 1922. 1917-1925 Scrapbook, JMM 2017.68.1.56. Right: Associated News, January 3, 1930. 1926-1930 Scrapbook, JMM 2017.68.2.

My favorites were the “Day in the life of” series, where a featured Associated agency would give real examples of what they were doing and the story of a person who came to them for help. I also enjoy the helpful hints section, such as the plea to “Please Be Accurate” from January 1930. This feature was a quick note asking benevolent citizens to make sure that when seeking help for others, they gave the correct name and address to the Hebrew Benevolent Society so that the social workers did not have the uncomfortable moment of addressing the wrong family! I also always enjoyed following the sports sections: which Talmud Torah was up in the baseball tournaments and how the various Jewish Educational Alliance teams were doing.  Reading these columns gives not only a clear picture of what the Associated was doing but also what that work meant to the Jewish community.

Associated Scrapbook, 1926-1930, JMM 2017.68.2.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland houses one hundred and sixty-five scrapbooks on the history of the Associated and its campaigns. These incredible pieces of history span the years from 1918 to 1992 and are an enormous resource in looking at the last 100 years of the Associated and Baltimore’s Jewish community. These stuffed scrapbooks are full of newspaper and magazine clippings, mailers from the Associated, synagogue newsletters, and internal documents.

Article about the creation of the Associated Jewish Charities, July 23, 1920. JMM 2017.68.1.11.

Starting with information on both the Federated Jewish Charities and United Hebrew Charities, the scrapbooks collect articles from all the local papers on the amalgamation of the two organizations and the beginnings of the Associated we know today.

Information and statistics from all the constituent agencies of the Associated Jewish Charities, 1926. 1926-1930 Scrapbook. JMM 2017.69.2.1.

These scrapbooks are amazing. As I process them, I find more and more information that adds to our understanding of the history of the last 100 years. What’s also interesting is what’s missing – while we have the scrapbooks from 1917-1935, there are no documents for 1936-1946 in the scrapbook collection. The next materials start with a Women’s Division scrapbook for 1947. In fact, throughout our whole collection at the Museum, we have very few records for the Associated during those years.

When the Associated still sent out letters to the community in Yiddish. 1929-1931 Scrapbook. JMM 2017.68.4.13e.

These are just a few examples of the resources available in our collection that have helped me understand what the Associated Jewish Charities and its agencies did in its early years and its importance to the community. I can’t wait to celebrate the Centennial with our whole community!


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Falling Back to Move Forward

Posted on October 4th, 2019 by

Museum Matters: October 2019

It may have escaped your attention, but October is the last month of daylight savings time. On November 3 we will push the clocks back and thereby gain an hour. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that changes in the space-time continuum are all relative, but it helps (You can learn more about Jewish perspectives on time in our Jews in Space exhibit coming next May).

I am actually focused on temporal matters today, not because of what happens on November 3 but rather the JMM change of hours that begins November 4. Starting that Monday, we will be open as usual from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday… but on Mondays we will be open to the public from 11 to 5. Our purpose in instituting the one hour delayed opening is not to save daylight (and certainly not to sleep in!), but instead, to give staff and volunteers one hour each week when every member of our team is available for meetings and training. So, we don’t look at this as losing an hour, but as gaining a stronger and even more professional team. As I said, “loss” and “gain” are all relative.

And speaking of relatives, you’ll find several of mine in the exhibit Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling (opening October 27, 2019). If you are a member in good standing, your invited to our member/VIP opening on October 26. If you’ve let your membership lapse, there is still time to renew to be eligible to attend. But tempus fugit, so don’t delay your renewal.


Images: G.E. electric wall clock from Rogers Avenue Synagogue, JMM 1993.52.77; New Year’s postcard, c. 1904, JMM 1990.18.5b; Clock with Hebrew letters, c. 1875-1895, JMM 1997.33.1.

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.


Free Fall Baltimore
Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Clare Lise Kelly
Get Tickets!

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 7:00pm
Reserve Your Seats Now 

Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Zachary Paul Levine
Get Tickets


Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Z.S. Pollack
Get Tickets

2019 Festival of Jewish Literature
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 7:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Pam Nadell
FREE – Reserve Your Seats Now

>>View the full JMM calendar of events here.<<

Thursday, November 7, 2019
More info & registration here.

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 or check out their facebook page.

Esther’s Place

Surprises in the sukkah! Why not spruce up your holiday decorating with some beautiful pieces from Esther’s Place? Hamsas, blessings, decorative prints and so much more – come in and we’ll help you find your perfect piece!


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Working for the Interns

Posted on August 9th, 2019 by

Performance Counts: August 2019

JMM was thrilled to welcome five new interns for our 2019 summer internship program. Our ten-week program is designed to give those interested in the museum profession a chance to learn about the different departments of museum work and to work on substantial projects related to their specific area of interest. Throughout the summer they participate in a variety of activities and learning opportunities.

As tomorrow is the last day at JMM for most of our interns, we thought we’d have Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman, who also serves as our summer internship coordinator, share a bit about the experience we provide for this month’s edition of Performance Counts. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click here. To read more posts from Rachel, click here.

A significant goal of JMM’s summer internship program is helping our interns considering a career as museum professionals to get the broadest possible exposure to the field as a whole. To accomplish this, we not only include interns in the JMM workings (like observing staff meetings and education programs, participating in Museum Shop inventory, and assisting with the Annual Meeting) but also arrange workshops and field trips to other sites.

Fresh faces for the summer!

Before we get into those details, refresh your memory about this summer’s intern class with their introductions here. And here’s a few more numbers for you: this year’s summer interns come to us from three states: New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. They attend four different colleges: Goucher College, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, and Albright College. Between the five interns there are seven majors ranging from sociology to history to family science, and six different minors, including museums and society, evolutionary studies, and near eastern studies. (This group is definitely academically motivated!)

This year we were able to offer our interns nine professional development workshops, led by JMM staff: Collections Handling and Intro to Past Perfect with Joanna Church; Museum Evaluation as well as Museum Accessibility with Paige Woodhouse; Planning Public Programs with Trillion Attwood; Supporting Trans and Gender Expansive Visitors with Talia Makowsky; Project Management with Tracie Guy-Decker; Development & Stewardship in a Museum Setting with Tracey Dorfmann; Ethics of Museum Management with Marvin Pinkert; and Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviewing with me. Some of these workshops – like collections handling and museum evaluation – are put to good use immediately. For instance, if you’ve visited our current exhibits, Fashion Statement and Stitching History, recently, you may have been met by an intern with a clipboard ready to ask you about your experience as they try out their new museum evaluation skills.

Oh the places you’ll go!

Our summer interns also participated in seven field trips to other cultural institutions, visiting: the Rare Books & Manuscripts at Walters Art Museum for a program with their curator; the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House for their Flag Day celebrations; the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, including a behind-the-scenes talk with their education department; the National Aquarium’s Animal Care and Rescue Center, a full day exploring a variety of Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC; and as part of our Summer Teachers Institute, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Visionary Arts Museum. And after each experience we have our interns write a personal thank you note to the tour guides and professionals who took time out of their days to speak with us.

From the minds of interns.

To further develop our interns’ professional skills, we ask them to write – a lot. Each intern is assigned two individual blog dates over the summer. They may choose any topics they like, as long as the post is related in some way to their internship and museums. Often their posts are inspired by the projects they are working on, like Hannah’s discovery of Ernestine Rose, the “First Jewish Feminist,” and Elana’s sense of connection to  Lilie and Aaron Straus. Megan reflected on her experience helping with two very different development events, and Mallory shared specifics of two different collections she has focused on – one about the Hutzler family (of department store fame) and the other on Har Sinai Congregation. Ariella took a holistic view, asking what it actually means to “work at a museum.”

In response…

In addition to their individual posts, interns are also asked to write a “weekly response.” The topics of these responses cover a lot of ground. Some weeks they were provided with articles about issues and trends in the museum field, like neutrality or education, and asked to synthesis a response. In other weeks they were asked to research and recommend other Museums’ offerings, like social media accounts, exhibits, and podcasts. And, of course, we asked them to reflect on and apply their learning from their internships throughout the summer, from museum evaluation after the accompanying workshop to a midterm check in on week five to today’s post on the end of their internships.

I have been impressed all summer by the thoughtfulness and work ethic of our summer interns. Getting a chance to teach and guide folks in the early stages of their career journeys is incredibly rewarding and here at JMM we want to make sure that we give as much to our interns as they give to us! I’m already getting excited thinking about next summer and a new group of interns.

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