After the Show: the Breakdown of an Exhibit

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by

The most exciting part about visiting a museum is getting to view various artifacts within the exhibits, especially if the museum is featuring a new one. I myself had only been on the outside, until this January when I was asked to help break the featured exhibit down here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Forest and Jobi prepare packaging.

Forest and Jobi prepare packaging.

The museum currently has an exhibit called “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War”. But as spring rolls around, so will new artifacts, and the process of packing up the show, in someways is as thrilling as seeing it as a visitor.

To start, there had to be photos taken of every artifact. These photos were then color coded based on their lenders. Lenders were a variation of individuals, museums, and historical societies.

The Color Code List

The Color Code List

Once each photo was matched to the lender, I then filed the loan form for each artifact with its picture. What sounds like slow work, was actually informing. I was able to read the descriptions and learn a little more about the artifacts and the Jewish involvement in the Civil War as well.

Following this, Jobi and I determined how the artifacts would be returned to their lenders. We organized and labeled  boxes, for packaging, to be sure that everything was returned to it’s original owner. There was a lot of measuring and labeling to do, but I was able to check out artifacts that were not put into the exhibit. This was a really cool advantage.

Measuring boxes

Measuring boxes

The last step of course, is to take the actual artifacts down, pack them up, and send them back! This of course will not happen until the exhibit is officially over. So before the final step is taken, be sure to stop by the museum and check out “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War”, which ends February 27th at 5 pm.


A blog post by Collections Intern Forest Fleisher. To read more posts by interns, click HERE. If you are interested in interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, you can find open internship opportunities HERE.

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Museum Matters: February 2014

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by

If you thought we were going to let Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War slip away quietly, rest assured, that is not at all how we do things at the JMM. Be sure to check out the exciting programs we have planned over the next few weeks and you are sure to be impressed by the wide array of farewell activities we have planned!

Closing February 27th!

Closing February 27th!

We are marking the President’s Day weekend with a special opportunity to meet our 16th president. On February 16th Abraham Lincoln will be visiting the Museum and you will have the chance to rub shoulders with him while enjoying some fun activities for the whole family.  At 1pm Honest Abe and I will take to the stage, where I will be interviewing him, which is an exciting and terrifying prospect! I have many questions inspired by the exhibit, as well as some questions about the myths that surround Lincoln. I would also love to ask some of the questions that you have for the president. Please send me your questions (, and I will do what I can to pass them along to the president.

The following weekend is sadly the final weekend of Passages Through the  Fire but we plan to end on a high note with not one, but two fabulous events!  On Saturday night, February 22nd, beginning at 7:30pm, dance with us at our Civil War themed Farewell Cotillion. Entertainment will be provided by Choreographic Antique (of Goucher College) and Brad Kolodner and Friends. Enjoy an evening of dance and music all washed down with a glass of Civil War era punch! Costumes are not necessary, but this is your chance to release your inner Scarlett or Rhett.

The next day Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will visit to deliver his talk, Kaddish for Lincoln. Holzer is an expert on Lincoln and was recently a scrip consultant for the movie Lincoln. He will discuss how Lincoln came to be the first American gentile for whom the Jewish community said Kaddish and how he came to have the title of American Moses.

See below for more information about these programs and others.

~Trillion Attwood, Program Manager


Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit


February 2014

lincolns-city-logoJewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s city

Sunday, February 9, 2:00pm

Program free with Museum Admission

Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City is a temporary exhibit currently on view in the JMM lobby on loan from the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Laura Apelbaum, JHSGW’s Executive Director, will talk about some of the most fascinating characters who were living in the city at the same time as Lincoln.

Laura Cohen Apelbaum is a native of the Washington area and has been executive director of the Jewish Historical Society since 1994. She has a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown University, a law degree from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in American History from Duke University.


3b50609rLate Night on Lloyd Street: The Dating Game

Wednesday, February 12, 6:00pm


Join us for this “romantic” Late Night on Lloyd Street as we play our very own version of the Dating Game! Test your knowledge of Jewish Baltimore History and our collections, and a very special bonus round about the language of fans, inspired by our upcoming Cotillion. You will also have a chance to decorate your own fan or manly handkerchief, the ultimate in 19th century style!

As with all Late Night on Lloyd Streets there will be plenty of snacks and drinks. This event is generously supported by the Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund.


JMM_February_PC-1Family Day: Lincoln Comes to Baltimore 
Sunday, February 16, 11:00am to 3:00pm
Abraham Lincoln living history performance at 1:00pm
Program Free with Museum Admission

What better way to celebrate President’s Day weekend then by joining us for an Abraham Lincoln themed day filled with family fun activities.  Actor Jim Getty will bring Lincoln to life in this unique living history performance. JMM Program Manager, Trillion Attwood will interview the 16thPresident about his recollections of the role that Jews played in the Civil War. 

This program is part of “Absolutely Febulous” Baltimore’s first combination Hotel Week, Restaurant Week, and Museum week taking place February 14-23. As part of the promotion, we are pleased to offer “Buy One, Get One Free” tickets to our special February 16 Family Day. For more information, check out


March book coverReading Your Way Through the Civil War, Part Two: “March” by Geraldine Brooks

An Imagined Civil War:  Civil War Fiction Book discussion of March by Geraldine Brooks
Discussion leader: Anne Sarah Rubin
Thursday, February 20, 6:00pm
Free Admission

This Maryland Humanities Council Book Talk takes place at Enoch Pratt Library, Light Street Branch
Anne Sarah Rubin leads our second book program as she discusses the Pulitzer Prize winning March by Geraldine Brooks. The conversation will consider the relationship between March and Little Women, some of the biographical connections to Louisa May Alcott, and the way in which the novel reflects an alternative Civil War experience.

Anne Sarah Rubin is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Digital History and Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  She received her AB from Princeton University and her MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. Dr. Rubin is currently President of the Society of Civil War Historians. Register for this talk today, so you can have a good read ready for the cold winter months. Copies of the book are available and can be borrowed at no cost from the Museum. Register now with Trillion Attwood or 410-732-6400 ext.215.
This is a Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War partner program! Making Sense of the American Civil War, a reading and discussion series, is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Additional support has been provided by the Maryland Humanities Council.


PC frontPassages Through the Fire Farewell Cotillion

Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm

Tickets $15 – $20 

Join us for an evening of dancing and fun as we send our exhibit Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War off in true Civil War-era style. Chorégraphie Antique, the dance history ensemble from Goucher College will be on hand to demonstrate and teach us the most popular dances of the time period.

While costumes are not required, there will be prizes for the most impressive outfits of the evening. This is your chance to channel your inner Scarletts & Rhetts! So pull out those hoop skirts, polish up your genteel manners and enjoy an evening you won’t soon forget.

Punch and provisions included, as well as alcoholic beverages for those guests 21 and over. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased over the phone and online at


abe-lincoln(1)Sadie B. Feldman Family Lecture: Kaddish for Lincoln

Sunday, February 23, 1:00pm

Speaker: Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Program Free with Museum Admission

By tradition, Abraham Lincoln was the first American gentile for whom Jews said Kaddish–the Hebrew prayer for the dead. The story may approach the realm of legend, but reverence for Lincoln among many Jews of his time was real, and the mass national mourning after his assassination reached not only the church but the synagogue. In this discussion of Jewish attitudes toward Lincoln–and Lincoln’s evolving attitude toward Jews, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer explores the 16th president’s legal decisions and personal attitudes on Jews and Jewish issues during the Civil War, and assesses whether the Great Emancipator deserved the name many contemporaries gave to him in the 19th Century: American Moses.

Harold Holzer is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, official successor organization of the U. S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which he co-chaired for nine years, appointed by President Bill Clinton.  Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of 46 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era, most recently Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America (2012), the official young-adult companion book for the Steven Spielberg film, for which he served as script consultant. In his full-time professional career, Holzer serves as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he has spent the last 21 years.

More Programs

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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.

BIYA Boot Camp

Certified Personal Trainer David BenMoshe will whip you into shape every Sunday morning from 10:45-11:30am at B’nai Israel in the cold months and at the Patterson Park Pagoda in the warm months. $18/month or $5/session

Go to for more info.


Current exhibits

Exhibits currently on display at the JMM include Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks! and Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War on display through February, 27, 2014.

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. We are delighted to announce the debut of a new themed “1861 Tour” of the Lloyd Street Synagogue that focuses on Baltimore’s Jewish community during the Civil War. This tour is offered Sunday-Thursday at 3:00pm (in place of the regular tour).

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street. Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchase online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

Gift Shop

Civil War booksThe JMM gift shop is the place to find all kinds of wonderful merchandise, from books on a wide variety of topics related to Jewish history and culture to one-of-a-kind jewelry created by Jewish artists to beautiful and unique Jewish ritual objects. Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. For more information about our gift shop, contact Esther Weiner, gift shop manager at (410) 732-6400 x211 /


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Taking Leave

Posted on February 5th, 2014 by

At the end of this month we say good-bye to Passages Through the Fire:  Jews and the Civil War.  I, for one, will be sad to see it go.  I’ve not only enjoyed the exhibit and the chance to work with Karen and Todd on our “Maryland edition”, but also the outstanding programs that Trillion put together and the fun we’ve had with our volunteer docents and museum educators on the special tours.

Closing February 27th!

Closing February 27th!

I’ve gained dozens of new insights over the last few months but the one that sticks with me is actually about “saying good-bye”.

Ross Kelbaugh

Ross Kelbaugh

When Ross Kelbaugh came to speak at JMM at the beginning of December, he spoke about the boom in photography in Baltimore at the start of the Civil War (and the involvement of members of the Jewish community like the Bendann brothers and David Bacharach in this new “high tech” industry).  As many as 50 photo studios were doing business here in 1861.  Why the boom?  Well one of the causes that Kelbaugh points to is a technological innovation know as cartes de visite.  Just before the start of the war, photographers perfected the technique of printing multiple copies of playing card-sized images to card stock.  These images were affordable, even for people of modest means and could be easily slipped into the mail for loved ones.  You can imagine that soldiers sent to staging areas, like Baltimore, were very anxious to share pictures of themselves in uniform with their loved ones and images of nearby battlefields could bring the war home in a way that was unthinkable just 10 years earlier.  This keen interest fueled the photography craze (more about this can be found in a New York Times’ “Disunion” column by Andrea Volpe from August 6, 2013).

School students visit Passages Through the Fire.

School students visit Passages Through the Fire.

I look at this as a first revolution in the concept of “away”.  For thousands of years, when husbands and sons went off to affairs of war or commerce, there was an absolute loss of connection.  Their wives, children and siblings in most cases had only their memories to rely on (or perhaps an old portrait) to invoke the image of the person who was truly “away”.  But the Civil War chipped away at the concept that saying good-bye completely severed visual contact with those who were away.

Today, we’ve experienced a second revolution in “away”.  With Skype, Face Time, Facebook and more, we almost never completely lose visual contact with those who have gone away, whether they are at summer camp or at a base 10,000 miles from home.   The technology has changed what it means to take leave and endure separation.

All this is not to say that we have solved the problems of being apart.  Images can be a poor substitute for human contact.  But nothing ever leaves us as completely as it once did, and we’ll have the pictures of the Civil War exhibit on our website to prove it.



(editor’s note:  Passages Through the Fire closes on February 27th.  Due to the fragile nature of the artifacts this will be the end of the exhibit tour, everything will be returned to the lenders.  If you haven’t seen it yet, we encourage you to take advantage of your last opportunity)

Civil War cropped 1A blog post by executive director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts by Marvin, click HERE.

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