Feminism in the Jewish Community: A Podcast

Posted on August 22nd, 2018 by

This summer we asked our summer interns to team up and create their very own podcast episodes. Over the course of ten weeks they needed to pitch a concept, draft a script, and record and edit their podcasts. Here is the second of two podcasts from this summer’s interns! You can see all intern-created podcasts, past and present, by clicking on the intern podcast tag.


Feminism in the Jewish Community: A Podcast was written, recorded, and edited by JMM summer interns Ash Turner, Cara Bennet, and Alexia M. Orengo Green. You can read other posts by JMM interns here or click each intern’s name for their individual posts!

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Intern Weekly Response: Reflections

Posted on August 9th, 2018 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to reflect on their internships as a whole. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


Reflections 
From intern Marisa

By the time this reflection is completed and published, the Jewish Museum of Maryland, in conjunction with the Baltimore Jewish Council and the Maryland State Department of Education, will have concluded its 13th annual Summer Teachers Institute. The Summer Teachers Institute strives to provide teachers with the best practices in Holocaust education; it has been an extremely powerful, timely, and poignant workshop so far, with profound discussion and thoughtful questions.

My favorite artifacts in the entire museum are the three Torah scrolls in the ark of the Lloyd Street Synagogue; all three are survivors of the Holocaust.

The conclusion of the Summer Teachers Institute also, however, signals that my internship at the Jewish Museum of Maryland is rapidly, and unfortunately, coming to a close. I’d like to take a few moments to just look back on some of the things that have made this internship so special and unforgettable:

The Sneak Peek
As you might remember, I actually did not earn a degree in museum studies, or exhibit design, or museum management; I studied English, the American Civil War, and Education. This internship has peeled back the curtain on museums and really showed me and allowed me to experience first-hand the inner workings of what it takes to run one of my favorite kinds of cultural institutions.

The Balance
The balance I am referring to is between individual and collaborative work. It is important that employees have the opportunity to produce and shape their own ideas because their creativity could be lost in the fold otherwise. Yet, it is also important to work collaboratively, in which feedback and constructive criticism helps enrich and perfect the product. We strike this balance often in the Education and Programs departments. For instance, I have been working on a self-guided activity book for families to do while exploring the Lloyd Street Synagogue; I created the original activities, but then I received essential feedback from those both inside and outside of the department, that helped identify necessary improvements. This balance helps both produce and polish the programs and experiences we provide our visitors.

The Community
Last, but most importantly is the community. I have had the distinct pleasure and honor to work with incredibly dedicated, passionate, and supportive staff members and volunteers that provided both a space for me to contribute but also a space for me to learn and grow. Working directly with our diverse visitor base illustrated the direct impact of our shared work and vision.

Here I am outside of the National Museum of Natural History with my “flat pal.” Each intern had a flat pal to take pictures with while on our trip to D.C. a few weeks ago; I named mine Harvey.

I am so thankful to have worked on a variety of projects including the Vanishing Elephant, the Summer Teachers Institute, and programming for the Jewish Refugees and Shanghai exhibit; I am so proud to have worked with the Jewish Museum of Maryland this summer!


An Intern’s Reflection
from intern Ash

Our internship is coming to an end. Ten weeks sounded like a lot of time when we first started, but the last month really flew by quickly. As the days go by, I keep thinking about how much left I want to do, but there just isn’t enough time.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, the project that I have been working on is doing research for The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and their upcoming centennial. The project is large, and I’ve been working on small pieces, bit by bit, throughout my internship.  I’ve looked through scrapbooks and newspaper clippings, searching for information about the women of The Associated as well as what campaigns The Associated held to help immigrants during the Holocaust. I’ve edited photos and designed layouts for some of the research topics. I’ve read books and processed scrapbooks. Overall, I’ve explored an array of different ways of researching and documenting information. And throughout all of this, I’ve learned a lot about the Jewish history of Baltimore. There is still a lot of research to be done for this project, but I feel like I’ve gotten to learn a lot about Baltimore history, so I’m proud of what I was able to find.

What my workspace looked like when I was organizing articles about The Associated.

It’s hard to choose a favorite part of the internship, because I had a lot of favorite individual moments and experiences. One of my favorite parts of my research was finding old advertisements or illustrations (and if you want to know more about the illustrations I’ve found, you can find my blog post about them here). I was inspired by a lot of the stories I read and art I saw throughout my research. I also loved processing different scrapbooks and learning about history through a single person’s story, which I also wrote a blog post about, found here. However, my favorite experiences by far were all the field trips we took to museums in the Maryland area. I saw so many ways of conveying history and culture, and experimental approaches that museums were taking when creating their “exhibits.” The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture showed us what it was like to reimagine a historical museum, and what place a museum can have within a community. They told us about the interactive ways that Baltimoreans told their stories at The Peale, through immersive plays and props, art exhibits, and more. The National Aquarium Animal Care and Rescue Center showed us what it was like to redesign a traditionally private facility into a public museum. There were at least five other museums we visited, but there isn’t enough room to talk about them all.

Illustrations on promotional cards I found through my research on the 1949 Women’s Division of The Associated.

Overall, in this internship I was able to get a taste of what it was like to work in a museum. I got to see the wide range of approaches one can take to museum work, and the different aspects to consider when working at a museum: ethics, accessibility, project management, program planning, and more. Because I was able to work on so many different projects, I also got a feel for what type of work I felt most excited doing. I reaffirmed that I really enjoy the impact of education and storytelling, and how art and interactivity can engage and teach. I’m hoping that I can continue to combine these things in my future jobs and use some of the inspiration I gained in my future artwork as well.

Me at my last week of the internship, helping Alexia with some conservational glueing of ceramic pot shards!

I’m glad that I was able to experience all that the JMM had to offer this summer, and now I’m excited to bring what I learned into the work I do going forward!


My Internship Experience
from intern Alexia

Wao! I can’t believe that it was ten weeks ago when I began my internship at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Time has flown by quick! My experience at the JMM has been incredible. The different experiences that I had before coming to the JMM allowed me to participate in numerous projects in which I was able to improve and learn even more. While at my internship I was able to learn first hand from professionals on the field and see the different facets museums have. I was able to discover the magic that small museums have, which is that when you work in one you can participate in many projects and everyone works as part of the team. This magic is what makes the JMM great. The incredible staff works together with a high-level of professionalism and the goal to bring new exhibits and make the experience of its visitors the best that it can be.

Intern group picture at the Inescapable: The Life & Legacy of Harry Houdini opening.

As the Historical Preservation and Research Intern, throughout the past ten weeks I have been able to work closely with the Director of Collections and Exhibits, Joanna Church, and the Archivist, Lorie Rombo. Under their supervision I was able to work in many projects that include working with translations, archaeological artifacts, developing a catalog for documents for the Lloyd Street Synagogue, and update and reorganized a catalog of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. During my last week at week at the Museum, I’ve begun new projects too! I’m currently researching information for an upcoming small archaeology exhibit and photographing the artifacts that may be exhibited. This week I’ve also been working on reconstructing a pot from the Lloyd Street Synagogue. From all the projects that I’ve work on during the internship, this is one of top favorite ones.  Each project that I worked with Joanna and Lorie was fun, engaging, and interesting. I was able to apply my knowledge while learning new things about a field that I hope to formally join one day.

Reconstructing a pot from the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

From my time in the JMM two of my favorite moments were creating the podcast Untangling and Tangling Feminism & Judaism and the instructional video of how to use the Vanishing Elephant trick of Inescapable: The Life & Legacy of Harry Houdini. Creating the podcast with Ash and Cara was a fun process. From brainstorming ideas, to writing it, and finally recording it, the process was amusing. It was nice to see how all our ideas came together to create a project the three of us are extremely proud of. My favorite part of the process was recording the podcast. While recoding we laughed and made sure to be ourselves.

Editing video of Jennie the Elephant.

At the same time, creating the video for Inescapable was an incredible experience. We filmed the video at the exhibit and demonstrated how to disappear Jennie the Elephant. For the demonstration Ellie was the magician, Marisa oversaw audio, Ash filmed, Cara and I held the script, and at the end of the video I was the magician’s assistant. While filming we had a really good time, and we finished filming quick, which came as a surprise for everyone. After filming the video, I edited it. To edit the video, I used iMovie and was able to put the video together and add fun transitions to the different parts. Because we wanted to be inclusive to our audience, we included on the video captions that I was able to add thanks to Ellie and Marisa’s transcription. The entire experience from start to finish was enjoyable and when we finished the video we were all proud that all our hard work came through.

Intern group picture in Washington DC.

Before I began my internship at the JMM I didn’t know that I was going to participate in as many projects as I did. Having done as many projects as I did during the summer, showed me that I was good at what I like and that there is always new things to learn. During my time in the JMM I felt that my voice and input was important and encouraged. I was also able to meet a remarkable group of professionals who shared their expertise constantly. My experience at the JMM has been undoubtedly incredible and it has been an honor being an intern this summer.


“It’s not goodbye, but see you later”
From intern Cara

Hanging out with these awesome ladies and this cool mastodon puppet at the Peale Center.

Reading my fellow interns’ reflections on their experiences this summer has made me feel prematurely nostalgic about my own internship experience. While the other interns will be leaving me at the end of the week, I’ll be extending my internship through the end of the month to finish up some of the projects I’ve been working on.

I’m so excited to be continuing my internship but I’m really going to miss spending time with and learning from these smart, funny, awesome ladies! We’ve made so many great memories together this summer from field trips to workshops to podcast recordings to parking adventures in downtown Baltimore. They even made the less glamorous side of museum work like cleaning vitrines and moving boxes (and that dang pew) fun.

Artsy flat pal photo shoot during our field trip to the National Gallery.

 

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Illustrations and The Women of The Associated

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by

Blog post by JMM intern Ash Turner. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

While looking through material from the Associated Jewish Charities and Jewish Welfare Fund from the 1940s to the 1970s, I have found a treasure trove of fun illustrations. Everything from invitations, to informational booklets, to newsletters contain small drawings that are simple and expressive. My time researching the Associated was made even more fun with the addition of these little gems sprinkled throughout their fundraising material.

Promotional invitation for “Coke Tale” Hour, an event hosted by the Young People’s Division of the Associated Jewish Charities’ Women’s Division. Includes an illustration of a young man at a microphone and a bucket of cola bottles on ice. Via JMM 2017.068.014.008

What I really wanted to talk about were the artists who made these great illustrations. But as far as I can tell, there is no documentation on who drew them. What I do know is that many of these drawings are found mostly in the Women’s Division scrapbooks and within their campaign material (the Women’s Division was a formal organization of women within the Associated that volunteered and ran fundraising campaigns from 1957 to 1993). Since there is also no clear record of a position or job of “artist” or “illustrator” early on in the Women’s Division or the Associated, and since there is no clear record of someone being hired to create these illustrations, there is a possibility that these artists were simply volunteers, specifically women from the Women’s Division. The sketch below, most likely created by a volunteer, supports the feasibility that volunteers created their own illustrations and material for Women’s Division events. But, since this is just speculation, and I don’t have specific information about the artists who created these drawings, I will just focus on talking about the drawings themselves, and how they relate to the women of the Associated.

A sketch, hand drawn in pencil, that lays out an idea for an invitation for a Women’s Division event. From the 1949 Women’s Division Scrapbook, JMM 2017.068.011.031

Many of these Women’s Division illustrations from the late 1940s through the early 1960s are sketched, simple line drawings, usually added next to text on invitations and fundraising cards. Most look like quick sketches, as if they were hand-drawn and then reprinted, and they can be found in the Division’s newsletters and other advertising materials. A few of the drawings contain simple and clean lines with a single accent color, pulled together in a thoughtful layout. They mostly depict women at work—volunteering, fundraising, or deep in thought.

Three close-ups of illustrations from cards for the 1949 “G-Day,” a door-to-door campaign hosted by the Women’s Division of the Associated. From the 1949 Women’s Division Scrapbook, JMM 2017.068.011

Two close-ups of illustrations from the booklet “Why Women” from the Women’s Division, created for “G-Day” in 1951. From the 1951 Combined Campaign Scrapbook, JMM 2017.068.019

Two pages from 1955 “Keynoter” Newsletters, produced by the Women’s Division of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund. Left image contains an illustration of a “G-Day” door-to-door solicitor, and right image describes the need to give during the Associated combined campaign. From the JMM’s 1955 Women’s Division Scrapbook

In the late 1960s and onwards, the illustrations start to become more fleshed out. These drawings have cleaner designs, and sometimes are either cartoonishly stylized or realistically rendered. This is the time period when the Associated’s illustrations become integrated into the overall graphic design of the campaign material as well, making the drawings feel more professional.

Cover of an invitation for the “Art of Living” luncheon and fashion show campaign event, hosted by the Women’s Division of the Associated. From the JMM’s 1969 Women’s Division Scrapbook

To me, these illustrations make the regular campaign material more inviting and approachable. They depict the role of women in the Associated, and how they viewed themselves at that point in time: heavily engaged and committed to social work, a part of the community, and lending a helping hand at every turn. The way the women are drawn in the illustrations—proud, emotive, active… It’s not a stretch to say that they are drawn more often than men in these illustrations, and it shows how big of a part they played in the Associated’s organization and their fundraising campaigns.

Women in the Associated were very engaged with both the arts and culture, especially during this time period from the 40s to the 70s. They were a part of the Baltimore art community, hosting art exhibits and teaching art at the Jewish Community Center. They held art and cultural festivals, such as the “Village Fair” hosted by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Levindale. The Women’s Division wrote and performed their own plays for their campaigns and wrote original poems to include in their newsletters. Regardless of if they drew these illustrations for the Women’s Division, the women of the Associated took an artistic approach to connecting with their community, and I feel that their work in the arts is communicated through the illustrative touches added to their campaign material. They went above and beyond to engage and connect, combining art with fundraising to create these magical moments and drawings that livened up their campaigns.

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