Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by Rachel
Robert Siegel is our newest volunteer at the JMM. He has been with us for just over a month. He volunteers in the Archives department because he loves history and finds old documents intriguing. Also, because he knows that in the history world, what he is doing will be helpful to others in their research.
He is currently looking at questionnaires completed by Museum donors regarding their family histories, and at information about their donations. This information will be useful for the upcoming Accession’s Committee meeting at the JMM. He also does work in the photo archives with identifications. He inputs all of this information into Past Perfect, the Museum software system.
Robert admits to having a passion for Jewish history. He majored in History in college and had a double minor in Jewish Studies and German Studies. He acknowledges that most of his assignments involved some aspect or another of Jewish History.
He had the opportunity to live in Vienna, Austria for a while and hopes to live in Europe again someday. He won’t admit to being fluent in German, but has a strong intermediate level of understanding. He enjoys family history, and while researching his, he learned about a branch of the family who came to Baltimore in the 1950’s, the Hershfield’s. They are related to his mother and he’s trying to find out more about them. His great-great-grandparents emigrated from Moldova in the late 19th century. He is trying to follow clues to their past also.
We’re glad that Robert is able to meet his needs and ours by volunteering at the JMM. We hope he’ll continue to do so for a good, long while.
A blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.
Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Rachel
During the expansion of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 1996 there were many forgotten artifacts and objects that were found in the grounds beneath the land surrounding the museum and synagogues. My fellow Urban Archeology intern, Molly, and I have been examining these forgotten objects, cataloging, cleaning and photographing them. Most of the materials we handle are different fragments of bottles, glass, ceramics and metal, as well as some unidentified objects.
We have been able to identify the genre of most of the objects, and through research we have been able to pin point dates, regions and companies that certain artifacts originated from. However, amongst the hundreds of objects there have been a handful that we have had to make educated guesses as to what they are, and others are completely miscellaneous and unidentifiable.
Here are some pictures of individual objects that we believe to have identified, and others which we are still uncertain of. Take a look and see if you can guess what they are, what you think they could be or what it may have been used for! If you have any input, send us an email at email@example.com.
object E (view 1)
object E (view 2)
Did you try and guess what they are? Here are our findings and educated guesses:
Object A: We believe it is the sole of or part of a shoe.
Object B: Purse/small bag clasps.
Object C: We believe it to be part of a lid of an ornamental ceramic jar.
Object D: We think it is the arm of a small porcelain doll.
Object E: We have absolutely no idea what the material or object is or what it was used for.
Object F: It is clearly made of wood, but we have no idea what this would have been used for.
A blog post by Collections Intern Carlyn Thomas. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Rachel
Since my last update, I have learned so much more about Baltimore Jewish history by processing a wide variety of collections. Entering the library closed stacks, I am never quite sure what lies in store for me within the mysterious archival boxes. In the case of the library closed stacks, no two collections are alike!
Over the past month, I accessioned photographs, cookbooks, invoices, holiday cards, invitations, financial documents, and all manner of fascinating manuscript materials for the archives. I strongly encourage anyone interested in Baltimore history to conduct research in our archives. I recently processed original documents pertaining to the career of Lun (Licien) Harris, a fashion illustrator who was an active preservationist and founding member of Baltimore Heritage. Lun Harris was appointed to the Baltimore City Planning Commission and voted against interstate highways through Baltimore. This month, I accessioned several of Harris’ photographs as well as original diplomas and awards for the JMM archives.
Here is a photograph of Lun Harris in a three-way mirror. The scan is available in the JMM’s digital records, but we also have the original in our extensive photograph collection.
Beyond Lun Harris’ photographs, we also have various documents pertaining to this remarkable woman’s lifetime achievements courtesy of Linda Lapides. For example, here we have Harris’ gorgeous certificate commemorating her service with the Baltimore City Planning Commission:
Although this scan is available for research most of the JMM’s twenty thousand catalog records are not digitized. Anyone interested in Baltimore history would benefit from the materials available in our archival collections. As much as I enjoy digitizing new accession materials, I am amazed by the sheer volume of physical manuscripts, books, paintings, maps, blueprints, and other original documents in the archives. As a history student at UMBC, I am pleased that such a wealth of local history is readily available.
Another compelling collection from this past month, donated by Morton Esterson, includes more recent records. JMM archives include not only faded original manuscripts but also recent records of Jewish life in Baltimore. These resources, preserved in the permanent collection, will be readily available for future generations. My interest in these recent documents in particular sprang from my personal contact with the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Holocaust Speakers Bureau as a UMBC Jewish student leader. While I was directly in touch with the Holocaust Speakers Bureau, I added original documents about their resources to the JMM archives. This coincidence speaks to the continuing relevance of the archives for Jewish life in Baltimore. The archives include resources with enduring meaning beyond the realm of academia. Other “modern” documents I added in the past few weeks include Rosh Hashana greeting cards – yet another surprising find in the library closed stacks! Although some of the collections I processed are more mundane than others, just by sheer exposure to this variety of documents I have learned so much about Jewish life in Baltimore. Once again, I look forward to the next collection!
After my last blog post, my classmates at UMBC pleasantly surprised me by mentioning that they follow the Jewish Museum of Maryland on social media. Please continue following the JMM on Twitter and Facebook!
A blog post by Collections Intern Jen Wachtel. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.