Honoring Vivienne Shub

Posted on November 19th, 2014 by

On Thursday, November 13, the JMM was privileged to host a special event honoring Vivienne Shub, a true icon of Jewish Baltimore. A talented actor who passed away in September at the age of 95, Vivienne left her mark as a member of the companies of many of Baltimore’s most well known theaters including Vagabond Theater, Center Stage (which she helped create) and Everyman Theater. In addition she was a beloved acting teacher at both Goucher College and Towson University.

Vivienne Shub performing.

Vivienne Shub performing.

I first learned about Vivenne Shub and her impact on our community when she was featured in a 2004 exhibit held at the JMM Weaving Women’s Words, that was created by the Jewish Women’s Archives. This exhibit highlighted many extraordinary Baltimore Jewish women through photographic portraits, oral history interviews and contemporary artwork. Even among this group of powerful and amazing women, the section devoted to Vivienne stood out and it was a true honor meeting her at the exhibit’s opening. (You can learn more about Vivienne’s life at the JWA website as well as through a recent Jewish Times article.)

Dan Shub speaks about his mothether (pictured here with her late husband).

Dan Shub speaks about his mothether (pictured here with her late husband).

The evening featured members of Vivienne’s family and close friends who shared fond memories of her. Speakers included Vivienne’s sister, Naomi Greenberg-Slovin, who shared an especially close relationship with her sister as well as a love and passion for the theater; her children, Dan Shub and Judith Shub-Condliffe; and Ralph Piersanti who recalled the early days of Center Stage when it was housed at the JCC. Award-winning filmmaker, Steve Yeager, presented a clip from a video he shot of Vivienne performing as Etta Cone in the Cone Sister of Baltimore at the BMA.

Ralph Piersanti and Steve Yeager

Ralph Piersanti and Steve Yeager

In addition to the tribute, JMM staff created a lobby display featuring photographs and other theatrical memorabilia from our collections as well as from her family. The display will remain on view through the end of the month.

Exhibit poster

Exhibit poster

Display case

Display case

Yearbook photo of Vivienne Shub from her days at Forest Park High School (on display).

Yearbook photo of Vivienne Shub from her days at Forest Park High School (on display).

The JMM is so grateful to Harriet Lynn and the members of Vivienne’s family for presenting us with the opportunity to take part in such a special program.

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Volunteers Record 10,000th Birth!

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by

The JMM library is always humming with activity. Each month researchers schedule appointments to meet with JMM staff and volunteers to explore our manuscript and photograph collections or to learn more about their family’s history. Sometimes, our education staff uses the library for archival exploration activities in which kids gather around tables to view authentic primary sources –newspaper articles, letters, photographs, scrapbooks and more – relating to such topics as synagogues in Maryland, immigration history, and African-American and Jewish relations. In addition to those who come to use our library for research purposes, on any given day of the week the library also plays host to JMM volunteers who perform invaluable tasks that help ensure our collections are accessible to researchers.

If you visit the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will see two dedicated JMM volunteers, Vera Kestenberg and Marty Buckman, typing away at one of our computers.

Marty & Vera

Marty & Vera

Each week they comb through volumes of The Jewish Times (the JMM owns copies of every edition, including the early ones that can be accessed through microfilm) searching for birth announcements.

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT - lucky number 10,000!

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT – lucky number 10,000!

They then careful transcribe each announcement into an excel spreadsheet creating a comprehensive database of birth records that has become a valuable genealogical resource.

Information included in the database includes the child’s first and last name, date of birth, names of both parents, place of birth (including hospital and city/state) as well as which edition of the JT contains the announcement. The database can be accessed from the JMM website along with many other resources such as burial listings at many local Jewish cemeteries.

I was thrilled to learn that after several years of work on this project, Vera and Marty recently crossed a major milestone as they added the 10,000th name to the database! Mazel Tov to both on this incredible accomplishment!

To learn more about Vera and Marty as well as many other talented and dedicated JMM volunteers, be sure to check our volunteer coordinator, Ilene Cohen’s monthly volunteer profile. 

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




The Making of An Exhibit – Mendes Arrives!

Posted on September 17th, 2014 by

After many months of hard work developing The A-mazing Mendes Cohen exhibition, JMM staff members were eagerly awaiting its arrival by truck on September 3 from Seattle. What many people might not realize is that exhibits do not arrive fully constructed and that the task of assembling and installing the exhibition structure, text panels and artifacts is complex necessitating the work of a team of individuals. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the Making of The A-mazing Mendes Cohen.

Day One

The first moving truck arrived at 9am. Luckily our forklift and driver arrived just in time to help take the crates off the truck.

The first moving truck arrived at 9am. Luckily our forklift and driver arrived just in time to help take the crates off the truck.

Exhibition designer and maze builder extraordinaire, Kelly Fernandi of Minotaur Mazes enjoys his ride on the forklift making sure that the crate stays in place.

Exhibition designer and maze builder extraordinaire, Kelly Fernandi of Minotaur Mazes enjoys his ride on the forklift making sure that the crate stays in place.

Our orientation space which serves so many purposes became our temporary storage space for the crates.

Our orientation space which serves so many purposes became our temporary storage space for the crates.

Because we are recycling a maze structure from another exhibition (Chimp Adventure that was recently on display at the Kansas City Zoo) not all the parts in the crate are being used for The A-mazing Mendes Cohen. Here, Susan Press, Joanna Church and Darrell Monteagudo unpack and sort crate contents.

Because we are recycling a maze structure from another exhibition (Chimp Adventure that was recently on display at the Kansas City Zoo) not all the parts in the crate are being used for The A-mazing Mendes Cohen. Here, Susan Press, Joanna Church and Darrell Monteagudo unpack and sort crate contents.

Once the parts are unpacked, we begin installation. First task, arrange metal pipes in appropriate spot on the floor around the gallery using this floor plan as our guide.

Once the parts are unpacked, we begin installation. First task, arrange metal pipes in appropriate spot on the floor around the gallery using this floor plan as our guide.

 Where the heck do they all go? (Fortunately, Kelly was checking all my work and rearranging as necessary!)

Where the heck do they all go? (Fortunately, Kelly was checking all my work and rearranging as necessary!)

Once all the floor pipes are arranged, we then got to work attaching them to one another. Everyone got very good at using a hex wrench to tighten connections, a very important step!

Once all the floor pipes are arranged, we then got to work attaching them to one another. Everyone got very good at using a hex wrench to tighten connections, a very important step!

The outline of the maze becomes apparent as the floor pipes are connected.

The outline of the maze becomes apparent as the floor pipes are connected.

After all the floor pipes were in place we then began attaching vertical poles. You can see Susan Press in the corner making sure all our connections are very tight. This was a great job for Susan!

After all the floor pipes were in place we then began attaching vertical poles. You can see Susan Press in the corner making sure all our connections are very tight. This was a great job for Susan!

After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting the ceiling pipes in place, we decided to call it a day.

Day Two

Despite feeling sore in body parts we didn’t even know existed, installing the roof pipes went much smoother the second day. Do you see the maze starting to come together?

Despite feeling sore in body parts we didn’t even know existed, installing the roof pipes went much smoother the second day. Do you see the maze starting to come together?

Once we have the metal frame structure in place, it’s time to begin work on the maze panels. Here they are laid out on the lobby floor.

Once we have the metal frame structure in place, it’s time to begin work on the maze panels. Here they are laid out on the lobby floor.

Kelly provides a tutorial in hanging panels. Sadly, he will have to repeat this lesson several times before it really sinks in.

Kelly provides a tutorial in hanging panels. Sadly, he will have to repeat this lesson several times before it really sinks in.

Ilene Dackman-Alon and I start to get the hang of it (pun intended!)

Ilene Dackman-Alon and I start to get the hang of it (pun intended!)

Panel successfully hung!

Panel successfully hung!

Program manager, Trillion Attwood, became an expert wielding cable ties. Who knew they made such wonderful hair accessories!

Program manager, Trillion Attwood, became an expert wielding cable ties. Who knew they made such wonderful hair accessories!

Once the panels are hung, we go back through to make sure that all the screws are tight.

Once the panels are hung, we go back through to make sure that all the screws are tight.

Another long day but the end is almost in site!

Day Three

The third day was largely devoted to installing artifacts in cases.

Textile conservator, Michele Pagan, arrived with the flag that Mendes made to hoist up the sail as he traveled on the Nile. Michele has been working for several weeks to fill in the color of the red stripes that have faded and to repair the paper stars that have disintegrated. Here she is gently cleaning the flag before its installation in a special case designed and fabricated by Mark Ward.

Textile conservator Michele Pagan arrived with the flag that Mendes made to hoist up the sail as he traveled on the Nile. Michele has been working for several weeks to fill in the color of the red stripes that have faded and to repair the paper stars that have disintegrated. Here she is gently cleaning the flag before its installation in a special case designed and fabricated by Mark Ward.

Sanchita Balachandran, registrar at Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, arrives with a sampling of the Egyptian artifacts that Mendes collected while in Egypt. She and Joanna worked to unpack and install the objects in their case.

Sanchita Balachandran, registrar at Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, arrives with a sampling of the Egyptian artifacts that Mendes collected while in Egypt. She and Joanna worked to unpack and install the objects in their case.

Next up, the fabulous red jacket that Mendes purchased during his travels. Michele Pagan did some conservation work on the jacket as well. To the best of my knowledge, this exhibit will be the first time that the JMM has displayed many of the wonderful treasures in our collection belonging to Mendes.

Next up, the fabulous red jacket that Mendes purchased during his travels. Michele Pagan did some conservation work on the jacket as well. To the best of my knowledge, this exhibit will be the first time that the JMM has displayed many of the wonderful treasures in our collection belonging to Mendes.

We left most of the heavy duty installation jobs to Kelly. Here he is installing one of the exhibit’s many interactive, a map where visitors can take a stab at tracing Mendes’ journey.

We left most of the heavy duty installation jobs to Kelly. Here he is installing one of the exhibit’s many interactive, a map where visitors can take a stab at tracing Mendes’ journey.

Day Four

Feeling much more rested after taking a day off, we spent Sunday working on final details.

Our fantastic lighting designer, Rich Pullman, did a heroic job navigating the maze frame to install our new LED lights. Once the lights were in place the exhibition finally came to life.

Our fantastic lighting designer, Rich Pullman, did a heroic job navigating the maze frame to install our new LED lights. Once the lights were in place the exhibition finally came to life.

Kelly spent much of the day working on exhibit interactive and straightening maze walls and panels.

Kelly spent much of the day working on exhibit interactive and straightening maze walls and panels.

One final touch, vacuuming!

One final touch, vacuuming!

Now that you know about all the fun we had putting it up, we hope you will join us to see how it all turned out. The A-mazing Mendes Cohen opened on Sunday, September 14 amidst Baltimore’s Star Spangled Spectacular. And while the fireworks may be over, The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen and all his adventures are ready for you – look forward to seeing you here!

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts by Deborah, click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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