To Work in a Museum…

Posted on July 24th, 2013 by

Kathleen MorrisonA blog post by Archives Intern Kathleen Morrison. Kathleen works under the supervision of Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read additional posts by Kathleen and other interns, click here.

My internship will be over in less than a month from now, having gone by pretty quickly, at least to me. As the end of this experience nears, I realize how much time and labor goes into running a good museum. Behind the scenes are thousands of papers, photos, and objects, the majority of which have been cataloged and sorted and put away in one of our collection rooms. A lot of the things I’ve seen were done by staff and former interns, but there’s a fair share of volunteer efforts down here in collections.

Currently, I’m working on transcribing an oral history from the late Doctor Arnall Patz, one of several where he was interviewed for the museum. It was recorded by a volunteer. This museum, with its small size and budget compared to institutions like Johns Hopkins and the Smithsonian collections, does its best with the help of all the volunteers. The staff are lovely and work hard, but there is always more work than there are people. It’s so nice to go look for something and then see that a former intern cataloged it carefully and correctly, or that a volunteer went through the boxes and moved things around (with direction!) to create a little more shelf space for us to accept artifacts from people.

When I was younger, I thought I could do most any job as long as it wasn’t repetitive and boring. But working in a small museum has shown me what a labor of love it is. None of the staff would be here if they were not passionate about Jewish history in Maryland, or about working in a museum. You feel kind of proud when you put something away to be saved for future generations. Even though I’m not Jewish, I am a Marylander and it’s a good feeling when I come across things I didn’t know about this state and its people as I work. History is far more close and personal than some people, myself included, realize. To work in a museum is to help make sure we never lose that connection to people who lived before us, who did the hard work to give us the world we have now.

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A Walk Around Collections

Posted on June 20th, 2013 by

Kathleen MorrisonA blog post from Archives Intern Kathleen Morrison. Kathleen is working with Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Since I’ve been at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I’ve mostly been downstairs in the archival rooms cataloging papers. While down there, I get to work around objects and pictures hanging on the racks. Sometimes I get up and I take a walk around the aisles. Some of the objects are very ornate and special, and others are regular items.

When we go through school, we learn mostly about big names and events, but items like the ones we have here at the museum remind me that, as much as I love Great Man/Woman-based history, the majority of the world was and is ordinary people going about their lives. Their hopes and their problems are what makes history tangible. We have objects brought over from Russia and Eastern Europe by immigrants seeking a new life in a country where it was safer to be Jewish. The other day, I cataloged the US Customs ID card from 1918 that belonged to a young man. We have kitchen utensils, clothes, books, pins, badges, flags, sheet music. All the ephemera from daily life in the Jewish community and the Baltimore community one could imagine are here. It makes me wonder what people will be preserving in the future from this decade.

Kathleen photoIncluded is a photo of my favorite object, a bottle of camphor oil that has settled and begun to separate.

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MS 209 The Gordon Maryland Jewish Community Collection

Posted on March 7th, 2013 by

In 2002 we created the exhibition We Call This Place Home: Jewish Life in Maryland’s Small Towns.  The exhibition looked at the many Jewish families and communities outside of Baltimore.  Though most Jewish families chose to stay in the city, many others went out, settling in the state capital, western towns or along the eastern shore.   The JMM has a number of archives and photographs reflecting these communities.  The following manuscript collection contains original documents and research materials mostly related to Frederick, Maryland.

The rededication of Beth Sholom Congregation, Frederick, 1976. Courtesy of  Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.48

The rededication of Beth Sholom Congregation, Frederick, 1976. Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.48

The Gordon Maryland Jewish Community Collection

1850-1995

MS 209

 The Jewish Museum of Maryland

 ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Gordon Maryland Jewish Community Collection was donated by Paul and Rita Gordon of Frederick, MD in 1995 as accession 1995.104.  The finding aid was written by Leslie McNamara.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures. 

David and Clara Stern Lowenstein by J. Davis Byerly, Frederick, MD, late 1860s. Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.58

David and Clara Stern Lowenstein by J. Davis Byerly, Frederick, MD, late 1860s. Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.58

HISTORICAL NOTE

Frederick, Md had a thriving Jewish community beginning around the late nineteenth century.  Prominent members of the Frederick Jewish community include: David Lowenstein and Benjamin Rosenour, businessmen, and Leo Weinberg, a lawyer.  These members of the Jewish community in Frederick were influential in establishing a local synagogue.

Frederick Hebrew Congregation was established in 1840 to serve the religious needs of the Jewish community in Frederick.  In 1858, Rabbi Sussman Goebricher became their first rabbi.  By the early 1900’s Frederick Hebrew Congregation was renamed Beth Shalom Congregation and on October 16, 1917, Beth Shalom was chartered and later incorporated in 1919.  On September 2, 1923, Leo Weinberg donated a synagogue to the members of Beth Shalom Congregation, located at 20 West Second Street in Frederick.  Preceding the generous donation of Weinberg, services for members of Beth Shalom had been held at a MasonicTemple.  In 1976, the building was rededicated and renovated. In 1984, Beth Shalom acquired its first Community Center which housed all religious and social activities for the congregation.

Mr. and Mrs. Solomon (or Samuel) Kingsbaker, 1867.  Cameo portraits in the upper left and right corners were inserted on the couple's 50th Anniversary in 1917.  The Kingsbakers were from Frederick, MD.  Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.64

Mr. and Mrs. Solomon (or Samuel) Kingsbaker, 1867. Cameo portraits in the upper left and right corners were inserted on the couple’s 50th Anniversary in 1917. The Kingsbakers were from Frederick, MD. Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.64

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Gordon Maryland Jewish Community Collection contains documents related to the Jewish community in Frederick, Md, the Jewish community in various communities within Maryland as well as various Jewish communities in other regions of the United States and Europe.  The collection contains documents produced by organizations and individuals in the Jewish community as well as articles about the Jewish community in these areas.

The collection is divided into the following two series:  Series I.  Frederick, Md, 1850-1995 and Series II.  Jewish Community outside of Frederick, Md, 1894-1985.

Series I:  Frederick, MD, 1850-1995 contains historical documents and newspaper articles relating to the Jewish community in Frederick, Md including Beth Shalom Congregation, the Frederick section of the Council of Jewish Women, and prominent members of the Jewish community.  The series is divided into two subseries.  They are:  Subseries A.  Beth Shalom Congregation, 1882-1995  and Subseries B.  Jewish Community in Frederick, Md, 1850-1989.

Sub-Series A:  Beth Shalom Congregation, 1882-1995 contains newsletters, bulletins, programs, and media articles relating to Beth Shalom Congregation.  Materials are arranged with newsletters and bulletins first, events at Beth Shalom second, and newspaper articles and historical material arranged last.  The papers within each group are arranged chronologically.

Sub-Series B:  Jewish Community in Frederick, MD, 1850-1989 contains materials relating to the Frederick section of the Jewish Council of Women which include programs, directories, treasury and minute’s books, and newspaper clippings that relate to the organization.  This sub-series also includes business cards and receipts of Jewish businesses in Frederick, newspaper clippings and historic material relating to the Jewish community in Frederick, and biographical information about prominent citizens of the Jewish community in Frederick.  Materials are arranged with the Jewish Council of Jewish Women first, Jewish businesses second, David Lowenstein third, Leo Weinberg fourth, and newspapers and historical material relating to Frederick arranged last.  Materials within the Council of Jewish Women are arranged chronologically.

Billboard advertisement, “To employees of KAPLON’S/Congratulations on your pledge of 10% for WAR BONDS,” Feb. 16, 1943, Brunswick, MD. Courtesy of Paul and Rita Gordon. 1995.104.67

Series II.  Jewish Community outside of Frederick, Md, 1894-1985 contains information relating to the Jewish community outside of Frederick, Md.  This part of the collection contains materials relating to B’nai Abraham Congregation in Hagerstown, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in Baltimore city, Ner Israel Rabbinical College, and other various Jewish communities in Maryland.  Also, there are various materials relating to Jewish communities outside the state of Maryland such as a copy of the book The Jews in Philadelphia Prior to 1800, a paper titled “Soviet Jewry:  the Nationality Dilemma,” and materials relating to the article “Orthodox and Reform in the 19th Century Baltimore Jewish Community.”  The series is divide into two subseries:  Subseries A:  Jewish Community in MD,1930-1973 and Subseries B:  Jewish Community outside of Maryland, 1883-1985.

Sub-series A:  Jewish Community in MD, 1930-1973 contains information about various Jewish communities and institutions within Maryland.  This sub-series contains programs relating to B’nai Abraham Congregation, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation (BHC) in BaltimoreCity, the Council of Jewish Women-Baltimore section, NerIsraelRabbinicalCollege as well as a paper relating to the split that occurred within the congregation at BHC.  Also, there are materials in this sub-series relating to various Jewish communities in Md which include programs of various synagogues, historical publications of Jewish communities within Maryland, and an article titled “Orthodox and Reform in the Nineteenth-Century Baltimore Jewish Community.”  Materials are arranged alphabetically.

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Sub-series B:  Jewish Community outside of MD, 1883-1985 contains information that relate to various Jewish communities within the United States and in Europe. This sub-series contains various publications that relate to Jewish communities within the United States and Europe.  In this sub-series, there is a publication titled The Jews in Philadelphia before 1800, a paper titled Soviet Jewry:  The National Dilemma, and a collection of letters from the late nineteenth century that are written in Hebrew and Yiddish.. Materials are arranged chronologically by publication date.

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