Spotlight on Collections

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by

Did you ever think about a museum having pens and pencils in their collection?  We do!  Sometimes pens or pencils can mark a significant event or they may be evidence of company that no longer exists.

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Pen used by Harry Hughes, Governor, in signing House Bill 705, now Chapter 440 of the Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland, 1983.  The bill was to restore B'nai Israel Synagogue. Courtesy of Harry Hughes. 1983.51.1.

Pen used by Harry Hughes, Governor, in signing House Bill 705, now Chapter 440 of the Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland, 1983. The bill was to restore B'nai Israel Synagogue. Courtesy of Harry Hughes. 1983.51.1.

Pen used by Mayor William Donald Schaefer to sign ordinances for the Jewish Heritage Center, with yellow and black ribbon attached. Pens are attached to an envelope. Courtesy of William Donald Schaefer. 1984.61.1.

Pen used by Mayor William Donald Schaefer to sign ordinances for the Jewish Heritage Center, with yellow and black ribbon attached. Pens are attached to an envelope. Courtesy of William Donald Schaefer. 1984.61.1.

Black and gold fountain pen with the initials “M.R.” engraved on it which belonged to Michael Rosenfeld. Michael Rosenfeld was part owner of the New York Clothing House on Baltimore Street near the northeast corner of St. Paul Street. He also operated a factory for men's and boy's clothing and outfitted the streetcar employees, the firemen and the police. Courtesy of Louise Millhauser. 1989.164.1

Two pencils from the American Silk Co. White exterior with advertising. “Est. 1875 See AMERICAN First, 425 4th Ave., N.Y./ American Silk Label (picture of Eagle) MANUFACTURING CO./ WOVEN Labels of Every Description/ Rep. by __ M. Blout/ 110 W. Fayette Street., Baltimore 1, MD. Pencils are sharpened and have brass ends holding the erasers. Courtesy of Philip Kahn. 1991.5.3ab.

One of three pens from the Rogers Avenue Synagogue Brotherhood,  Fathers Day, 1984. Gold colored metal, ball points.  Courtesy of Morris Cohen. 1993.52.223a.

One of three pens from the Rogers Avenue Synagogue Brotherhood, Fathers Day, 1984. Gold colored metal, ball points. Courtesy of Morris Cohen. 1993.52.223a.

Unused yellow wooden pencil stamped in black “FROM THE DESK OF MARVIN MANDEL GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND”, 1969-1976. Courtesy of Linda F. and Julian L. Lapides. 1994.63.23.

Sterling silver pen, with push button end for retractable ball point, central portion of cylinder engraved in a decorative design representing the Tribes of Israel, front portion unscrews to change ink refill.  Courtesy of William Saxon, Jr.  1994.78.2

Sterling silver pen, with push button end for retractable ball point, central portion of cylinder engraved in a decorative design representing the Tribes of Israel, front portion unscrews to change ink refill. Courtesy of William Saxon, Jr. 1994.78.2

White plastic pen with blue details imprinting, Celebrate Israel @ 60 in Baltimore with double-sided pull-out scroll with information about www.israel60baltimore.com and facts about Israel.  Courtesy of Duke Zimmerman. 2008.40.1.

White plastic pen with blue details imprinting, Celebrate Israel @ 60 in Baltimore with double-sided pull-out scroll with information about www.israel60baltimore.com and facts about Israel. Courtesy of Duke Zimmerman. 2008.40.1.

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Jewish Museum of Maryland Weathers Two Natural Disasters

Posted on August 29th, 2011 by

A blog post by Associate Director Anita Kassof.

My monthly blog post comes on the heels of two natural disasters and, for once, I’m delighted not to have much to write about.

While Irene’s arrival was heralded by dire predictions from weather forecasters and admonishments to lay in everything from sandbags to batteries, the as-yet-unnamed earthquake took us all by surprise. I happened to be working at home that afternoon (where I initially attributed my shaking desk to my dog scratching a particularly tenacious flea), so I did not partake in the JMM drama.

When I returned to the office, everyone was eager to share what-I-was-doing-when-it-hit stories, as people do after most natural disasters or tragedies (where-I-was-when-Kennedy-was-shot stories have sustained generations of Americans). Of course, an earthquake is no laughing matter in a museum that houses precious, delicate, or irreplaceable collections, but by the time I showed up on the scene the collections staff had already done a thorough assessment and discovered one or two tumbled objects and no more.

A few objects fell, but nothing was damaged or broken.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue also appeared to have survived unscathed, although the next day an observant docent noted that after our initial check, a small piece of plaster had crumbled from the crown molding. A thorough walk-through didn’t reveal any other apparently new cracks, but when you’re dealing with a 166 year old building, it’s pretty challenging to distinguish a new crack from an old one. To be on the safe side, we’ve invited a structural engineer to conduct a walk through of both synagogues in the near future, though as our preservation architect points out, “If the building isn’t in the street, you’re probably okay.”

A piece of fallen plaster.

 

Probably a pre-existing crack.

 

We’d hardly finished talking about the earthquake when the next natural disaster loomed. Friday was a busy day for our collections staff and custodian, as we prepared for the wrath of Irene.

Emergency Management CoordinatorJobi Zink. Who says hardhats can’t go high fashion?

While the sun still shone, my colleagues sandbagged the doors of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, cleaned out exterior drains, prepared our basement rooms for potential flooding, and made sure we were all familiar with the Museum’s emergency response protocols. Fortunately, all our precautionary measures turned out to be unnecessary. Irene left us with little more than a couple of puddles and a few fallen leaves.

But it’s good to have had some practice in preparation, because blizzard season is just around the corner.

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A Pretty Bit of Posing…

Posted on May 16th, 2011 by

The Lloyd Street Synagogue posed for her close up not too long ago, and the results are lovely:

To see more images of the synagogue in her finery, or to see photos of B’nai Israel, congregation Beth Am, and other Jewish sites around the world, visit: http:///www.jewishphotolibrary.com.

The site is the proud creation of Jono David, who has set himself the daunting task of documenting Jewish sites all over the world. Jono is a British-American freelance photojournalist who lives in Japan. As he writes on his website, his HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library “aims to contribute to the preservation of Jewish communities of the world by documenting them photographically.”

Jono connected with the JMM last year, and came by several months ago to photograph our sites. The images are available free of charge for community use, and can be purchased for private use.

 

 

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