JMM Insights: New Kids on the Block

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by

JMM has always prided itself on its small, dedicated team of outstanding professionals.  It’s amazing what a dozen people can do, when you have great talent supported by strong volunteers and lay leadership.

This month has brought two new members to the team to existing/future vacancies.  I thought that we’d use this issue of JMM Insights to introduce Tracie Guy-Decker, our new Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance, and Graham Humphrey who will replace Abby Krolik as Visitor Services Manager.  I am really excited to have Tracie and Graham on board and I know you will join me in welcoming them into our family.  I have asked them both to tell a bit of their own stories.


From Tracie

My great great grandmother, Dora Bachrach Fink, was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation when it was in the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Now that I am Associate Director at JMM, every day, I sit at a computer that is but yards from the place my ancestors worshipped more than a century ago. Working for JMM is also a homecoming for me professionally—a return to working with and for the Jewish community. (I served as the Marketing Director for the Jewish Federation and the JCC in Virginia Beach until my husband, a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, received orders that moved us to Maryland.)

Tracie and Dave NAVY

Tracie and her husband Dave.

This is an exciting time for JMM, and I’m honored and humbled to be able to be a part of it. My colleagues are smart, funny, capable professionals, and under Marvin’s leadership the Museum is on a trajectory to become a center for Jewish and secular history and culture in Baltimore—not tomorrow, but soon. I’m excited to lend my skills, expertise, and experience to that trajectory (and to learn new skills along the way!). I’m also excited to be able to share this amazing resource with my daughter, Ruth (3 years old). The Museum family will watch Ruth and the Museum grow together over the next several years.

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

I’m also heartened by the welcome I’ve received from all of the friends of the Museum thus far—professionals, lay leaders, volunteers, members, and visitors have all been amazingly friendly and helpful as I learn my way around (literally and figuratively). I’d love the opportunity to reciprocate that welcome: if you’re in the Museum, please stop by. You can tell me your story of the Museum or the Lloyd Street Synagogue, we could play “Jewish Geography,” or just say ‘hi,’ I’m here Monday through Thursday, and will never turn down a cup of coffee.

From Graham

Hello! My name is Graham Humphrey and I was recently hired to be the new Visitor Services Coordinator to replace Abby Krolik after she leaves the Museum at the end of the month to continue her studies. I received my MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and my BA from Brandeis University in Art History. For the past seven years, I have been working at museums, aboard sailboats and at National Park sites in visitor services, education, development and collections management. I have gotten to lead experiential education programs while dressed up in period costume at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, teach basic seamanship to students aboard the schooner the Lady Maryland and work with goats at the Carl Sandburg Home in North Carolina. In my free time, I enjoy visiting other museums and historic sites, exploring the great outdoors, attending cultural events and staying involved within the Jewish community.



I am excited about continuing to make the Jewish Museum a welcoming environment and to ensure that visitors have a rewarding experience. I also hope to encourage public discourse about contemporary issues, explore how we can engage new audiences as well as serve as agents for social change in our community.

Marvin’s note:  We don’t plan I having Graham work with goats… but a “Jewish pirates sail”, well who knows what is possible.

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Performance Counts, May 2015

Posted on May 8th, 2015 by

So how are our volunteers doing?

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is unfamiliar with the role of volunteers at JMM we offer this helpful guide:

Volunteers are a treasured JMM resource.  Our volunteers play an important role in helping the Museum fulfill its mission.  They provide many valuable services that supplement the basic essential functions of the staff.  We utilize volunteers in two distinct areas – the front of the museum and the back of the museum.  The volunteers in the front of the museum have direct contact with our visitors. The remaining volunteers work in the back of the museum and can generally be found in the library.  Complete training is offered for all of our volunteer positions.

At the front desk

At the front desk

Front Desk Reception

The front desk reception volunteers provide an invaluable service to the Museum by maintaining a warm and welcome atmosphere for Museum guests.  They serve as the Museum’s customer service representatives while orienting visitors to the Museum complex.  By informing visitors about tour times, current and upcoming exhibitions, and programs, they provide information about all services that the Museum offers.  Other tasks include processing admission fees for groups and individuals, answering the telephone, and maintaining an accurate daily count of visitors.

Museum Docents

Museum docents possess an interest in history and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.  They perform an essential duty by leading tours and by interpreting the history of the Museum’s two historic synagogues and exhibitions for adults, families, and school groups of all ages.  A series of training sessions is offered to those interested in joining our docent corps and focuses on the history of Baltimore’s Jewish community.

Museum Gift Shop

The Museum’s gift shop, filled with beautiful Judaica, Museum catalogs, and exhibition related merchandise, is a destination for Museum visitors.  Gift shop volunteers assist guests with purchases, process cash and credit card payments, arrange merchandise on shelves and in windows, and assist the shop manager with ordering merchandise and conducting store inventory.

Special Events

Throughout the year, the Museum holds many programs and special events.  Programs include exhibition openings, family holiday programs, lectures, film series, and theatrical and musical performances.  Special event volunteers provide much needed assistance with these events by greeting visitors, processing admission fees, maintaining an accurate count of visitors, helping with refreshments, selling memberships, and facilitating art projects. 

Working in the archives department

Working in the archives department


The Library and Archives of the JMM offers a variety of volunteer opportunities.  Projects include organizing archival collections, preparing collections for proper storage, creating documents to assist researchers, and digital imaging.  Archives projects are conducive to long term or temporary volunteering.  Typing and computer skills are preferred, but not always required.  All new volunteers will be given an orientation to the care and handling of archival objects.


Volunteers in the collections department will work on a variety of projects.  These include writing catalog records for objects, taking digital photographs of objects (camera provided, or you can use your own),  organizing collection records, sorting incoming artifacts, helping to store and pack artifacts, and preparing objects in the collection for exhibition.  Temporary assignments are available.  Experience in the handling of fragile items is desired, but not required.


Volunteers use their expertise to assist researchers in The Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center.  They offer support with the interpretation of the many resources available for pursuing family history and genealogical research. This includes providing lookups, searching out tombstones, and much more.  Experience in genealogical research is required.

The Bottom Line

All told our volunteers contribute over 7,000 hours annually.  This number also includes members of our Board of Directors and our Summer Interns. The Independent Sector values an hour of volunteer time in the state of Maryland at $26.41.  That calculates to a contribution of almost $185,000.00 to the JMM in the last year.  We welcome new volunteers to the JMM year round and appreciate our volunteers dearly. Please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Ilene Cohen at 410-732-6400 x217.

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Museum Matters, May 2015

Posted on May 1st, 2015 by

This has been a challenging week for all of us.  While we are grateful that JMM and its Historic Jonestown neighborhood were spared any physical harm in the events of the past few days, we are all scarred by the damage that the violence has caused to our city and deeply saddened by the underlying conditions that preceded the violence.

As I write this, none of us can be sure what comes next, but JMM is committed to be a part of the healing process.  As keepers of an important piece of the community’s records we know that our history has the ability to show us what we have overcome and to strengthen our will to build a better future.  You will find a piece of this history in the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit – where Jews and Christians in early Baltimore worked together to break down walls of prejudice.  You will find a piece of this history in the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit – the story of how Jonestown rebuilt itself in the wake of the riots of 1968.  In our archives, we have hundreds of other images and records of personal courage in the pursuit of social justice in Baltimore – from Rabbi Einhorn’s support of abolition to the desegregation of Gwynn Oak Park.  We plan on setting up a pop-up exhibit of some of these images and records in the coming weeks.  We invite your ideas for moments, people and events that should be a part of this display – see Joanna’s call for material below.

To make sure that everyone knows they are welcome at JMM, we’re offering free admission this week.  We hope that people who have not visited us before will take advantage of this opportunity to join us in celebrating the work of young Braille artists on Sunday and to hear our outstanding lecture on the role of women in early American Jewish life Thursday night.  Our website is always a “go to” source for last minute information on these programs.

We have also made the decision to do something tangible to support the city’s rebuilding efforts.  Two weeks ago we had already planned the “Ultimate Mendes Cohen Experience” for May 17 (see below).  This bus tour, which begins with a trip down North Avenue to the site of Mendes’ grave at the Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, has taken on new meaning.  It is a reminder that the Jewish experience is deeply entwined with many neighborhoods in the city we have long-forgotten or neglected.  JMM has decided to donate 50% of the money we collect for this tour for the fund established by The Associated for the rebuilding of areas of the city recently damaged.  I appeal to you to join us for this special event – you will not only discover a hidden past, but you will help enable a revitalized future.

Thank you for standing with JMM and Baltimore


Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

As Marvin mentioned above the JMM is putting together a pop-up exhibit featuring moments of social justice action from Maryland’s Jewish community. This striking image (from the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, from the Library of Congress collections) may not be from Baltimore, but it serves as the jumping-off point for a display of photos, documents, and artifacts we hope will facilitate discussion among our visitors, both of past movements and current events. Most importantly, the exhibit will include space for your thoughts, stories, and contributions. Please contact me, Joanna Church, Collections Manager, if you have material that could be of use: or 410-732-6400 x226.

Upcoming programs

All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at / 410-732-6400 x215 with any questions or for more information.


Learning Your Letters: Braille Art: Exhibit Reception
Sunday, May 3, 1:00-3:00pm, FREE

Learning Your Letters: Braille Art is presented by the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Braille Art Gallery. The exhibit features braille drawings by artists of all ages and all abilities, to promote braille literacy. The exhibit will be open to the public in the JMM lobby through May 3.

Sadie B. Feldman Family Lecture:
“One Apron…One handkerchief…2 brass Candlesticks”: America’s Jewish Women, the Early Years
Thursday, May 7, 7:00pm
Speaker: Pamela Nadell, American University

Join us as we celebrate Mother’s Day and take a closer look into the life of Mendes’ A-Mazing mother, Judith Cohen. Pamela Nadell of American University explores what it meant to be a Jewish woman and mother during the 18th and 19th centuries. In this lecture, as we learn more about the first Jewish women to make homes in America, we will also discover more about Judith Cohen’s son, “The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen.”

Mendes Cohen Bus Tour
Sunday, May 17, 9:00am
Tickets $30, $20 for JMM members

Tour Leader: Marvin Pinkert, Executive Director, Jewish Museum of Maryland

Walk in the footsteps of Mendes Cohen and join us for this ultimate experience, a bus tour of Mendes Cohen’s Baltimore led by JMM Executive Director, Marvin Pinkert. Mendes lived in Baltimore for most of his life and there are several fascinating locations awaiting exploration! We will spend the day visiting both sites of importance to Mendes and venues that now house some of his most valued possessions. The tour highlights Mendes Cohen and puts his story in a broader context of Baltimore and American Jewish history.

Venues will include the Maryland Historical Society, Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and a special cemetery visit.  All admission fees are included in this program. Please contact Trillion Attwood at or 410.732.6400 ext.215 to purchase tickets. Places are limited so please book early.

The JMM has decided to donate 50% of the money we collect for this tour for the fund established by The Associated for the rebuilding of areas of the city recently damaged.  We hope you will join us for this special event – you will not only discover a hidden past, but you will help enable a revitalized future.

The Puzzle Project: Israel Celebration at the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Sunday, May 17, 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Reception: 2:00 pm

Students attending local Jewish day school and after school programs have participated in a creative art project that will be on display at the JMM on Sunday, May 17, 2015. The Puzzle Project, inspired and created by New York artist, Tim Kelly, allows art to be easily accessible to anyone who wants to create personally meaningful artwork. Students participating in the program express themselves individually and collectively on their shared vision on what Israel means to them on blank white, 18’’by 18” puzzle pieces. This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Education and the Embassy of Israel.

Playing Jewish Geography in the Nineteenth Century: Mendes I. Cohen’s Travels to Europe and the Middle East, 1829-1835
Sunday, May 31, 1:00pm
Speaker: Prof. Daniel B. Schwartz, George Washington University
Included with Museum Admission

What might a Jew sailing from America to explore Jewish life in Europe and the Middle East in the nineteenth century likely have discovered in his travels? In this talk, Prof. Daniel B. Schwartz (George Washington University) will follow on the heels of Mendes I. Cohen’s voyage to and through the “Old World,” leading the audience on a tour of some of the major sites visited by Cohen from 1829 to 1835, and providing a mini-history of Jewish society in an age poised between tradition and change.


Annual Meeting
Sunday, June 7, 1:00pm
Samuel Boltansky Memorial Keynote Speaker: Senator Ben Cardin

The JMM is excited to welcome Senator Cardin as our keynote speaker for our 2015 Annual Meeting. Senator Cardin has enjoyed a long career in American politics. He was the youngest elected speaker in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1979 – 1986 and today serves as one of Maryland’s representatives to the United States Senate.  Senator Cardin will draw upon his personal experiences to discuss what it means to be a Jewish politician today, the significance of his strong Jewish roots and how they have impacted his political career.

The program begins at 1:00pm with a presentation of the FY 16 slate of nominees to the JMM’s Board of Trustees for election by the Museum’s membership. The lecture will follow.

Refreshments will be served.

Flag Day
Sunday, June 14, time TBD
Speaker: Michelle Pagan 
Included with Museum Admission

Help us bid a fond farewell to The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen this Flag Day. We will have something for everyone with related crafts and trivia games throughout the day. At 1:00, Michelle Pagan, the conservator who worked on the textiles in The Amazing Mendes Cohen, will discuss her work on the jacket and flag that are on display.


Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

On Display: April 15 through May 3
Learning Your Letters: Braille Art
Learning Your Letters: Braille Art is presented by the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Braille Art Gallery. The exhibit features braille drawings by artists of all ages and all abilities, to promote braille literacy. The exhibit will be open to the public in our Museum lobby.

On Display: Sunday, May 17
The Puzzle Project: Israel Celebration at the Jewish Museum of Maryland
This one-day only exhibit features large-scale puzzle pieces decorated by students from local Jewish day and after-school programs that reflect their interpretations of what Israel means to them. Co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Education and the Embassy of Israel.

More Programs

The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.

Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland May Meeting
Sunday, May 17, 1:30pm, the Pikesville Library’s meeting room
The Jews of Eastern Europe in the Age of Mass Migration, 1881-1914
(Program rescheduled from February)
Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Moss, Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University

The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be available. Go to for more information.
Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

Combination tours of the 1845 Lloyd Street Synagogue and the 1876 Synagogue Building now home to B’nai Israel are offered: Sunday through Thursday at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 2:00pm.  We offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  Our new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour is available every Sunday and Monday at 3:00 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes in June 2015.

The Museum is closed on Sunday, May 24 and Monday, May 25 in observance of Shavuot.

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

JMM Museum Shop

Mother’s Day is just around the corner…Sunday, May 10!  The Museum Shop of the JMM has the perfect choice for a special gift for that special person. Our selection of jewelry is chosen with care, with a wide range of choices – come and visit the Shop, you will be surprised and your Mom will be delighted.  We will gift wrap your choice, mail it if needed, all in time for Mother’s Day!  Give us a call or visit the museum and make your gift giving a delightful experience.

Every purchase made in the JMM Museum Shop supports the mission and programs of the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

JMM Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases.

For further information, please call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 or email:

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