Posted on March 18th, 2013 by Rachel
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin.
On Monday, March 18, JMM staff members and volunteers gathered for an oral history training workshop.
The training session was led by senior collections manager Jobi Zink.
An eager group of students gathered in the board room for the workshop.
With more than 700 interviews in our collections, oral histories form an important part of the JMM collections. Like the artifacts in our collections, JMM oral histories are eclectic in nature and range in topic from major historical events like the Holocaust and civil rights era to more mundane subjects such as shopping in Jewish owned businesses and daily life in Maryland’s small towns.
The goal of this workshop was to teach proper techniques for conducting interviews as well as the mechanics of using our recording equipment.
Esther Weiner practices how to properly use the digital recording equipment.
When I first started working at the JMM, we used cassette recorders that were considered top of the line when they were originally purchased. Today we use digital equipment that allows for greater flexibility in how interviews can be used. While the new equipment produces interviews that are higher quality than the older models, the technology can also be intimidating to volunteers (and to staff as well).
Here you see Jobi “patiently” answering a question posed by curator Karen Falk with one of her trademark stink eyes!
Hence the importance of our training.
Oral history interviews provide listeners with the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of specific historical events. As listeners of the acclaimed Story Corps project are aware, the subjects of interviews do not need to be famous – nor do the topics under discussion need to be momentous events from long ago – in order for the interview to be compelling. (To learn more and to listen to archived interviews, visit storycorps.org/)
A search through our oral history database turns up interviews with Jewish business owners, former residents of East Baltimore (whose memories can be found in our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit),
Three separate oral history quotes greet visitors as they enter the exhibit gallery and help set the exhibit’s tone.
This colorful quote helps bring the Lombard Street market section to life.
and food mavens (whose favorite Jewish food traditions and recipes helped inform the recent Chosen Food exhibit.) We also have on file interviews with Jacob Beser who discusses his World War II military career that included flying in both missions that dropped atomic bombs on Japan (OH 0141 and OH 0331)and Mitzi Swan (OH 0658) who participated in the protest to integrate the tennis courts at Druid Hill Park.
Excerpts from Mitzi Swan’s interview can be found in the 2004 edition of Generations that focused on the theme of Jews in sports.
Oral history interviewees are sought as part of the research for each new exhibit. Some of my personal favorite interviews were conducted with young campers, whose enthusiasm for their camping experience helped shaped the look and feel of Cabin Fever: Jewish Camping and Commitment (2005).
At the entrance to the exhibit, visitors encountered a quote expressing the magical feeling that campers experienced as the camp bus approached the entrance to camp.
Exhibitions, programs, and publications are all enriched thanks to our vibrant oral history program. We are so excited to have a new corps of trained oral history interviewers who are now capable of collecting new fascinating stories to add to our collections.
Posted on February 6th, 2013 by Rachel
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin.
After a successful installation at Chizuk Amuno’s Hendler Learning Center, the JMM’s traveling exhibit, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945-1968 has a new temporary home. On January 28, my colleague Rachel Cylus and I made the reverse commute from the suburbs to downtown as we installed the panels at the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library (400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201)
The exhibit looked absolutely beautiful in its new location in the library’s main lobby beneath its soaring ceilings and in the midst of the hustle and bustle of library traffic.
Many curious visitors stopped by to check out the exhibit before we even completed the installation and we look forward to engaging many new individuals in the story of the Jewish community’s move to the suburbs. A setting like the Pratt Library is perfect for us to learn the stories of others and to place the Jewish experience within a broader context.
Jews on the Move will be on view at the Pratt Library though March 10, 2013.
To learn more about the Jews on the Move exhibit, check out our website: http:///www.jewishmuseummd.org/jewsonthemove
If you are interested in learning more about how to host this exhibit, contact Rachel Cylus at (410) 732-6400 x215 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on January 18th, 2013 by Rachel
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin.
Grants are the life blood of any non-profit institution and the JMM is dependent on foundation support to help subsidize the wide array of activities that take place each year. We are fortunate to have many accomplished grant writers on staff (as opposed to having a single person whose serves in this capacity) and we have a terrific track record of writing proposals that are funded. This week was one of those weeks when we found ourselves scrambling to meet multiple proposal deadlines. Just when I thought we were on top of everything, something new would cross my desk or in-box (and as I am writing this blog post, I just saw another email with a link to grant guidelines – grrr!).
Which is probably why my desk has looked like this for most of the week:
As more and more paper piles up, all attempts at organizations are lost!
Here’s a list of what we are worked on this week:
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The JMM has been the recipient of several previous grant awards from this federal agency which awards grants in many different categories. IMLS grant awards are prestigious and highly competitive. For this round of applications, we submitted a proposal to a new category of award within the Museums for American program, “Learning Experiences.” To be eligible, museums must submit applications for projects that “support engaging experiences in museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society. Projects should deliver high quality, inclusive, accessible and audience-focused programs and services for lifelong learning.”
Among our many activities that qualify as “learning-centered experiences,” we decided to apply for support for a new exhibition initiative, Jews, Health, and Healing, that we anticipate opening in Spring 2015. This exhibit tells the story of how Americans engage with health and illness, manage changing expectations for medical care, and debate questions of communal and personal responsibility for care while exploring the complex relationship between patient and healer and communal responses to taking care of the sick (such as the establishment of Jewish voluntary hospitals in the nineteenth century, and promoting wellness via Jewish community centers in the twentieth).
Nurses at Sinai Hospital, JMM 2010.20.34
Jews, Health, and Healing will give us the opportunity to display our strong collection of photos and artifacts related to healthcare. This is one example from our collection of materials documenting the history of nursing at Sinai Hospital.
The IMLS grant proposal process is extensive and involves gathering an enormous amount of data. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our curator Karen Falk, I feel confident that we were able to draft a compelling narrative that satisfies all review criteria.
Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation
Many foundations have a two-step process in place for submitting applications. Before you write a full grant proposal, it is necessary to submit a letter of intent as a first step outlining the main goals of your proposed project. Once this preliminary proposal has been vetted, you then receive a response indicating whether or not the foundation will entertain a full request. This process is enormously helpful because it prevents you from spending too much energy working on a proposal that does not meet the interests or goals of the foundation.
The JMM has been the beneficiary of two previous grant awards from the Knott Foundation.
St. Paul’s Resurrection School Students
In 2010, the Knott Foundation supported the development of educational materials for Catholic schools in conjunction with our installation of A Blessing To One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People.
For FY 2014, we are seeking support for facilitating educational services for Catholic school students and teachers, whom we consider a key educational constituency.
John J. Leidy Foundation
Our JMM education staff is hard at work planning joint field trips (on the topic of “Heroes: Real and Imagined”) for Baltimore City students visiting both the Zap! Pow! Bam! exhibit at the JMM as well as the DEFINING MOMENTS: The Imagery of Stories: Bryan Collier exhibit that is opening this month at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Having already received funding from Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation and the Morton and Sophia Macht Foundation to support exhibition-related programming, we submitted a proposal to the Leidy Foundation to help fully fund this initiative.
By participating in joint field trips, teachers will receive a packet of classroom resources developed by JMM education staff on the topic of heroes.
Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education
Educational activities are often the focal point of grant proposals because there are many foundations that have an interest in supporting education. While many of these foundations seek opportunities to support educational enrichment for public schools (particularly Baltimore City), the JMM often turns to the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Fund for the Enrichment of Jewish Education to support our efforts at engaging students in Jewish day and congregational schools. Many of our core educational services were initiated with Blaustein Fund support including our Leo V. Berger Immigrant’s Trunk program and our museum-school partnership project.
Katherine Lyons performs as immigrant Ida Rehr in our Leo V. Berger Immigrant’s Trunk program.
For this year’s proposal, education director IleneDackman-Alon is seeking funding to support the piloting of a brand new educational initiative that would entail developing genealogy workshops and classroom materials for students in Jewish day and congregational schools.
With a huge thank you to my hard working colleagues (including Karen Falk, Ilene Dackman-Alon, Rachel Kassman, Marvin Pinkert, and Susan Press) I am pleased to say that we met all of this week’s deadlines. Not only did we submit all of our proposals on time, but I am also proud of the quality of the projects we detailed and believe that we submitted well written proposals. We are most appreciative of the ongoing support we receive from so many generous funders. Now on to the next round of applications!