Young Adult Night at the JMM with IMPACT and BJC

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by

On March 23, the JMM was thrilled to host a group of 85 young adults who participated in a program sponsored by IMPACT, the young adult division of the Associated and the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Holocaust Remembrance Commission.

Starting the evening with casual schmoozing

Starting the evening with casual schmoozing

The evening included opportunities for networking and schmoozing with food and drink. I was invited to give remarks about our new exhibit Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity as well as to lead tours. When asked how many people had previously visited the JMM, it was clear that the majority had not and I enjoyed having the opportunity to welcome the group and to hopefully pique their interest in staying connected with us.

After a few brief remarks about how the exhibit came together and our institutional goals for having it on view, I led a small group through the gallery while many others opted to view the exhibit on their own.

Viewing "Architecture of Murder"

Viewing “Architecture of Murder”

Viewing "A Town Known as Auschwitz"

Viewing “A Town Known as Auschwitz”

It was rewarding to hear such positive feedback from visitors who expressed their surprise at learning new insights into Holocaust history such as the fact that Oswiecim (the town that became known as Auschwitz) once served as home to a vibrant Jewish community. As always, I enjoy hearing from people about their personal connections to the stories on display. One woman in the group told me that her grandmother actually grew up in the town and she was incredibly moved to see photographs featuring the diversity of Jewish life from the 20th century.

Local high schooler Andrew Altman created this model of Auschwitz-Birkenau in honor of his grandfather.

Local high schooler Andrew Altman created this model of Auschwitz-Birkenau in honor of his grandfather.

Several program attendees had previously visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and when we stopped at the model by high school student Andrew Altman, they shared their experiences of what it was like to visit.

Viewing the "Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project"

Viewing the “Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project”

The final stop at the plaques that are part of the Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project, served as another place for reflection as participants spent time reading the stories, commenting on the collages and sharing their connections to individuals whose stories are on display.

Small group conversations

Small group conversations

Following the tour, the group gathered in small groups in our lobby to hear from the grandchildren of survivors who shared their stories of survival. This format fostered conversation among participants and helped to continue the discussions that were begun in the gallery.

What a pleasure it was to work with our partners at the Associated and Baltimore Jewish Council to organize such a thoughtful program. We continue to be delighted by just how much Remembering Auschwitz resonates with audiences of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to hosting many more groups and programs. The exhibit remains on display through May 29.

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

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Remembering Auschwitz By the Numbers

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by

Performance Counts: March 2017

This past Sunday, we opened Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity, a unique and important exhibit that encourages visitors to explore Holocaust history and commemoration through the lens of Auschwitz. The following are some interesting facts and figures about the exhibit.

Photo by Will Kirk

Photo by Will Kirk

>Number of Exhibits on Display: 4 (A Town Know As Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Community, Architecture of Murder, Loss And Beauty: Photographs by Keron Psillas and The Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project)

>Number of Years Exhibit Has Been in the Works: 2 ½ years

Deborah leads a docent tour through "Remembering Auschwitz"

Deborah leads a docent tour through “Remembering Auschwitz”

>Percentage of Jewish Population in Oswiecim (the name of the town prior to Nazi occupation in 1939) in the Years Prior to the Holocaust: As high as 50%

>Number of Synagogues in Oswiecim prior to 1939: 30

>Percentage of Jewish population of Oswiecim Murdered at Auschwitz: 90%

Detail of "Architecture of Death" panel

Detail of “Architecture of Death” panel

>Year in Which Construction of Auschwitz Commenced: 1940

>Number of Camps Constructed at Auschwitz: 3 main camps (Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II – also known as Birkenau and Auschwitz III – also known as Buna and Monowitz

> Estimated Number of Inmates Murdered at Auschwitz: 1.1 million including 1 million Jews

Photo by Will Kirk.

Photo by Will Kirk.

>Number of Photos on Display By Keron Psillas: 25

>Number of Miles Photos Traveled from their Last Installation in Hollywood, Florida: 1080 miles

Photo by Will Kirk.

Photo by Will Kirk.

>Number of Collages Created as Part of the Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project: 91

>Number of Countries of Origin of Individuals Honored Through Collages: 12

Photo by Will Kirk.

Photo by Will Kirk.

>Total attendance at Sunday’s opening: 242 people

>Number of Related Programs Planned Over the Next Three Months: 16

>Date Exhibit Ends: May 29, 2017

Of course, numbers alone do not tell the whole story, certainly not of the devastation of the Holocaust, nor the impact that we hope this exhibit will have on our visitors. It was an extraordinary experience watching families who participated in the collage making workshops gather around their plaques on display with tears in their eyes and pride in the knowledge that their family members’ stories now have permanent homes at the JMM. While it is too soon to report on the total number of visitors which will include many school group visitors, we look forward to keeping you posted.

~Deborah Cardin, Deputy Director

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Museums and Society

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 by

Earlier this week I hosted a group of students from Johns Hopkins University who are taking a class exploring the theme of Museums and Social Responsibility. In addition to coursework and lectures, during which students discuss and debate the extent to which museums serve as vehicles for social change, students also participate in field trips to several museums where they have the opportunity to learn about the many different ways in which museums engage with their communities. Students are also expected to work with a museum of their choice to help design a project that helps a museum respond to a specific challenge.

During their visit to the JMM, eight students toured our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit as well as the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Voices of Lombard Street

During their visit to the JMM, eight students toured our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit as well as the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Programs Manager Trillion leads the tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Programs Manager Trillion leads the tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

We then spent the remainder of our time together in the Lloyd Street Synagogue (LSS) where we talked about how our Museum approaches community engagement through public and educational programs. Students were especially interested in learning about how even though the JMM mainly serves a Jewish audience (and our history and mission are directly tied to providing opportunities for Jewish visitors to connect to their heritage), we also are deeply committed to serving non-Jewish audiences and to providing a venue for discourse and discovery for visitors of diverse backgrounds.

The class checks out "The Synagogue Speaks"

The class checks out “The Synagogue Speaks”

When asked about a challenge that the JMM faces, we talked about how our staff has been searching for ways to animate the LSS beyond our regular public tours. For the past few months, staff has been in conversation with one another as well as with our colleagues at other historic sites and museums in an effort to reexamine our preconceived notions about what attracts visitors to visit and how we can conduct small scale programmatic experiments to help us engage new audiences. Students were interested in hearing about these conversations as they asked terrific questions and offered suggestions for new ideas.

We look forward to working with several of the students in the months ahead and to seeing what exciting new ideas they come up with!

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

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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