An Inside Look at the JMM Collections Committee

Posted on June 15th, 2016 by

During my first week working at the museum I got a chance to sit in on an accession committee meeting. It was interesting to not just see the type of objects that had been donated, ranging from marathon T-shirts to a 102 year old time capsule, but also to see the concerns that went into the final decision to accept the items or not. From what I observed in order to be accessioned the concerns that are looked into are what relevance does the object have for the Jewish community and Baltimore, can it be stored effectively in the available collections space, and does it have display potential. Some of the objects looked at were accessioned with the hope of using them for future projects, such as a wedding invitation for a wedding held in the Lloyd street synagogue. Some items brought up questions, such as a 4 ft. by 6 ft. model of Auschwitz made by a local high school student. The size brought up long term storage concerns but it was also recognized that it would be an interesting piece for the upcoming exhibit on Auschwitz.

Some items that were considered for accession.

Some items that were considered for accession.

Some of the more interesting objects accession were the before mentioned time capsule, leather postcards, and a pair of masonic aprons. The time capsule was found in the corner of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, dedicated to the recently deceased Hanna U. Cahn. The objects are in varied states of preservation but give a good picture of Baltimore at the time it was sealed in June, 1904.  The leather postcards were novelty items sent from a traveling husband to his wife. I found it interesting that such things could be bought at one time.

The masonic aprons, while being rather plan themselves sparked curiosity in me. Not being masons themselves, the committee was unsure when the aprons would have been used. My dad is a mason, so I decided to ask him what they were used for and he told me that there are actually three different aprons. There are the white meeting aprons that are worn to meetings and other common functions (like the ones recently accessioned), the ceremonial aprons worn for special occasions that are usually decorated with masonic tools, and burial aprons to be buried with a deceased mason. Masonry is an interesting subject for a Jewish museum as many people don’t know that there are Jewish masonic lodges.

06.06.2016 Interns (20)Blog post by Collections Intern Tamara Schlossenberg. To read  more posts by and about interns click HERE.

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Once Upon a Time…10.09.2015

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

 

1995142022030Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  October 09, 2015

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  1995.142.022.030

 

Status:  Identified! Monica Sagner features in this 1963 publicity shot for The Associated’s G-Day campaign.

 

Special Thanks To: Linda Speert, Nadine Weinstein, Wendy Brenoff, Rosalie Klotzman

 

 

 

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JMM Insights: Sunrise, Sunset Edition

Posted on June 10th, 2016 by

Were you a June bride or groom?  How about July or August?  Well next June we’ll be opening an exhibit to celebrate weddings from all parts of the Jewish community and every month of the year.  And you can be a part of the celebration!

On June 18th, 2017, the JMM will open “Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland,” an original exhibition that exploring the many different ways our community has tied the knot from the 19th century through today.  We look at many of the ways that couples combine family, religion, fashion, and tradition to make their ceremony meaningful and personal?

Invitation to the marriage of Sarah Metzger and David Wiesenfeld, 1871, at the Lloyd Street Synagogue.  Gift of Joseph Wiesenfeld. JMM 1985.121.006

Invitation to the marriage of Sarah Metzger and David Wiesenfeld, 1871, at the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Gift of Joseph Wiesenfeld. JMM 1985.121.006

The JMM collections are home to a treasure trove of wedding stories.  These stories are told by artifacts, images, and documents, both secular and religious, expected and unexpected: wedding gowns, ketubahs, albums, invitations, gifts, speeches, chuppahs, souvenirs, and more that have been entrusted to us by Jewish Marylanders since the museum was founded.

Ketubah on parchment, dated Wednesday, 8 Kislev, 5590 (1832), Baltimore. Ze'ev Dov, son of Joseph, married Leah, daughter of Moses.  Gift of Samuel Himmelrich. JMM 1989.101.1

Ketubah on parchment, dated Wednesday, 8 Kislev, 5590 (1832), Baltimore. Ze’ev Dov, son of Joseph, married Leah, daughter of Moses. Gift of Samuel Himmelrich. JMM 1989.101.1

We can create a rich exhibit out of what we already hold.  Just in the first few months of research, we’ve already discovered that many of our treasures are, indeed, treasures: a handwritten invitation in German, from 1841.  Baltimore ketubahs that predate the building of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Formal photographs that show the breadth of options available to, and choices made by, Maryland couples.

Left to right:  Ida Fine and Mendel Glaser, 1894.  Gift of Robert Steinberg. JMM 1992.228.001 Sophie Frenkil and Lee L. Dopkin, 1921. Gift of Sophie and Lee L. Dopkin. JMM 1990.116.006 Miriam Caplan and Hal Rosenblatt, 1948.  Gift of Miriam Rosenblatt. JMM 1996.054.015 Sandra Dean and Ivan Fried, 1975.  Gift of Faith Dean.  JMM 2010.039.001

Left to right:
Ida Fine and Mendel Glaser, 1894. Gift of Robert Steinberg. JMM 1992.228.001
Sophie Frenkil and Lee L. Dopkin, 1921. Gift of Sophie and Lee L. Dopkin. JMM 1990.116.006
Miriam Caplan and Hal Rosenblatt, 1948. Gift of Miriam Rosenblatt. JMM 1996.054.015
Sandra Dean and Ivan Fried, 1975. Gift of Faith Dean. JMM 2010.039.001

But Joanna Church and this summer’s great team of interns aren’t stopping there.

Our collections are particularly strong when it comes to Baltimore in the decades between 1890 and 1950 – but now we’re turning to you, our members, friends and volunteers to help us flesh out the stories of a diverse Jewish community all across Maryland over the past sixty years.

If you’re interested in donating or lending your family wedding stories for display in the Feldman Gallery, let us know!  We have some fantastic wedding gowns from the 1900s-1930s but we’re looking for dresses and other textiles from the decades before and after.  We’re particularly looking for modern-day material capturing the breadth of our community, from the ultra-traditional to the newly created; we’re looking for weddings of all stripes – maybe even polka dots. For more information, or to discuss potential donations and loans, please contact Joanna Church, Collections Manager, at jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org or 443-873-5176.

In a few weeks we’ll kick off of our official collecting initiative, in which we’ll ask people across the state to contribute an invitation and a photo from their weddings (and their parents’ weddings and their grandparents’ weddings); the results will be incorporated into a companion exhibit on our website. So start pulling out your albums and finding your favorite photos now!

This summer we’ve gone “beyond chicken soup”, next summer we’ll get beyond “Sunrise, Sunset”… who knows how far we can go?

 

 

 

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