Posted on September 17th, 2013 by Rachel
Opening October 13th!
Everyone at the JMM is very excited for our upcoming exhibit, Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the American Civil War. Karen and Jobi are preparing the gallery while Rachel and Trillion are putting together the advertising and logistics for our various programs, and Ilene is creating new curricula and activities for the schoolchildren to do, and Esther is buying all the Civil War tchotkes you could ever want to buy. Meanwhile, Marvin has been developing a brand new tour of a very familiar space: the Lloyd Street Synagogue circa 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War.
Docent training begins.
The new tour will enable our visitors—especially our return visitors—to see the Lloyd Street Synagogue through new eyes. The extension of the synagogue in 1860 isn’t only significant because it covered up the original mikveh, but, more importantly, it demonstrates just how quickly the city of Baltimore—and by extension, its Jewish population—was growing. However, that same growth of the Jewish community created new problems that came to a head during the Civil War, as our visitors will learn on this tour. Visitors will also gain an intimate understanding of how Jews justified taking either the Confederate or the Union side of the conflict by hearing excerpts from contemporary writings by two prominent Baltimore rabbis (Rabbis Illoway and Einhorn, of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Oheb Shalom, respectively).
Marvin holds up one of our cast of characters!
It won’t be easy for us and our volunteer docents to learn a whole new tour in just a few weeks, but we’re all eager for the challenge! Last week, we invited our docents to see the new tour, and we received some excellent constructive feedback in return. Marvin led us through the synagogue, giving us tips on how to guage the knowledge and interest of our groups by using a Civil War-era kepi as a shibboleth, and showing us how different parts of the synagogue illustrate the various issues that were important to the Jewish community here during the Civil War.
Marvin with the docents.
We will be premiering the 1861 Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue when we open the new exhibit on October 12th for the Members Preview and on October 13th for the Public Opening. At the openings, the tour will be offered twice, and after that it will offered once a day in the place of the regular 3pm tour (all other daily tours will be the regular overview tour of the two synagogues).
We encourage you to come and “experience the Lloyd Street Synagogue you never knew!”
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts by Abby, click here.
Posted on August 23rd, 2013 by Rachel
This week we are saying goodbye to our superhero exhibit. No more warning visitors to resist the urge to fist-bump Superman (it was hard for me too). No more be-costumed visitors of all ages (well, maybe there will still be costumes, just a different kind). No more confusing all the Joes and Jerrys and Jacks in the comic book industry. The Golden-Age of Superheroes will be missed.
This wouldn’t be the JMM if we didn’t give a rousing goodbye to our closing exhibit! Last Sunday, the official final day for Zap! Pow! Bam!, over 100 visitors came through our doors for their last chance to see the exhibit. We set out superhero-themed crafts to entertain the little ones—and the not-so-little ones. Trillion, our new Program Manager, came up with some very clever activities that were designed to keep our visitors cool on a hot summer day—no matter that it actually rained most of Sunday.
Who knew that you could make a technicolor, cold bracelet or necklace out of cut-up and frozen sponges? Or that you could decorate a T-shirt with colored ice cubes?
In addition to our crafts, we also gave out our last remaining comic books (there are still plenty if you want to stop by and take some!). I think Maurice, our Sunday security guard, is going to miss the reading material.
If you’re hitting yourself for missing your chance to buy a Wonder Woman mug or Batman lunch box, don’t worry, because Esther has you covered! All superhero related items are still on sale at the museum shop for 35% off!
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts by Abby, click here!
Posted on July 24th, 2013 by Rachel
Sundays are my favorite workdays, despite the fact that all my friends and family are probably still sleeping by the time I arrive at the museum. Overall, Sundays are a nice way to ease into the week. Marna, our stalwart Sunday desk volunteer, always brings in donuts to share (and sometimes fruit), and I get to spend more time interacting with visitors, instead of focusing on “real” work.
Also, Sundays are often program days. Our Sunday programs range from book talks to family days to pseudo bar mitzvah parties (see blog posts about Superman’s Bar Mitzvah Party), and they’re always a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon! Yesterday, we had two local artists, Craig Hankin and Tom Chalkley, come to the museum to present on the use of “comics” as a visual storytelling genre.
Tom Chalkley started the program with a brief overview of the history of using pictures to tell stories—going as far back as the ancient Egyptians! He brought up facts and concepts that were very interesting; some of them I definitely didn’t know before—for example, that most alphabets are derived from pictures of object—and some of them I did know, but had never thought about before, such as the misnomer of “comics” for a genre that isn’t always funny.
Craig Hankin then wrapped up by discussing the involvement of American Jews in the comic book industry—a surprisingly large number! Afterwards, both happily chatted with the audience about comics, art, and their favorite graphic novels (they had brought some of these to the talk as examples), and Chalkley signed copies of his Famous Baltimoreans map that we sell in the shop.
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more blog posts by Abby, click here.