Candlelight, Sunlight, Footlights

Posted on December 7th, 2018 by

Museum Matters: December 2018

And while we are playing,
the candles are burning low
one for each night
as they shed a sweet light
to remind us of days long ago.

From the JMM Collections: Lighting the candles for Hanukkah, c. 1970s. JMM 1996.63.53

Happy Chanukah from the Board and staff of the Jewish Museum of Maryland – wishing you eight nights of inspiration and hope. 

But even when the last candle has burned out, the JMM is still full of treats – and not all of them are about “days long ago”. This month we are delighted to serve as host for the Pearlstone program on environmental challenges in Maryland. The program will throw a light on the most important environmental legislation pending before the state legislature.

Later in the month we offer a welcoming light to the newest residents in Baltimore, by preparing school back packs for immigrant children at the Esperanza Center on Mitzvah Day. Both events represent opportunities to turn the historic lessons we share on immigration, social justice and community-building into actions supporting a stronger future.

Of course, don’t forget about the “footlights.” This month our special dish is “Houdini – three ways:” reenacted as a living history character, described as a part of the community of Jewish vaudevillians, and performed by Adrian Brody in a two-part mini-series.

Enjoy all the lights of December!


Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.


Sunday, December 9th at 2:00pm

Houdini Comes Alive!
Downtown Dollar Day – Admission $1
Performance by David London
Let us know you’re coming!

Thursday, December 13th at 6:00pm

Charting the Course for Environmental Change in MD
Presented by Pearlstone
Free – Registration Required

Sunday, December 16th at 1:00pm

From Beer Halls to the Palace:
The Rise and Demise of American Vaudeville

Speaker: Dr. Alan Kreisenbeck
Get Tickets Now

Tuesday, December 25th at 10am

Mitzvah Project for the Esperanza Center
More info.

Tuesday, December 25th at 12:30pm

Houdini: The Mini-Series
Get Tickets Now


Sunday, January 30th at 1:00pm

Baltimore Premiere: The Mighty Atom
Speaker: Steven Greenstein, filmmaker
Get Tickets Now

Sunday, January 20th at 1:00pm

A Fantastical Farewell to Houdini
Performer: Brian Curry, magician
Get Tickets Now

Sunday, January 27th at 1:00pm

Refugees and America: Past, Present, and Future
Speakers: Mark Hetfield and Anne Richard
Get Tickets Now

Wednesday, January 30th at 6:30pm

Where the Birds Never Sing
Speaker: Jack Sacco, author
Get Tickets Now

>View the full JMM calendar of events here.<<

Esther’s Place

This month at Esther’s Place, we’re excited to welcome back into stock many of our best-loved children and adult books. We’ve especially missed children’s book Five Little Gefiltes, a sweet, adventurous tale of chutzpah that pairs well with our Macca Bean soft toy, Gefilte.

We’re also happy to restock favorite children’s titles that feature civic figures of past and present, and adult titles that tell the stories we love. Each one makes a memorable and meaningful gift, or book-collection addition.

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Small, But Mighty

Posted on November 9th, 2018 by

This month’s edition of Performance Counts is from Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read more posts from Rachel, click here. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click here.

What can you do in less than 60 square feet of vertical space? Turns out, quite a lot.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all spent countless hours exploring our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit in the Shoshana S. and Jerome Cardin Exhibition Gallery, touring our two historic synagogues and sharing Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini, located in the Samson, Rosetta and Sadie B. Feldman Exhibition Gallery, with your friends and family (if not, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit now!). Today I want to turn your attention to a slightly more diminutive – but no less exciting – space: the lobby niche.

Measuring just 80 inches wide and 107 inches tall at its peak, this small space can pack a powerful punch (though we do cheat and get an extra few feet with those side walls!). We have used this space to expand on stories presented in the larger exhibit galleries, as we did for Paul Simon: Words and Music with Marvin’s exhibit An American Tune, which explored Jewish connections to folk rock; and for Inescapable, with A Little Magic from the Collections, highlighting both new and old accessions in the Museum collections with a particularly magical bent. In February we’ll be preparing the space to accompany the Jewish Refugees in Shanghai exhibit, on loan from the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.

The size and flexibility of this space also makes it perfect for displays tied to special events and programs. Most recently you may remember seeing The Book of Joseph: Giving Voice to the Hollander Family, which was on display in conjunction with the play’s run at Everyman Theatre. In 2016, during the run of Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, we were lucky enough to host a special luncheon for the alumnae of the Sinai Nursing program and used the niche for a display of Sinai nurse-related material from our collections.

We have also created displays on the Jews of Shanghai for the 2014 Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration;  a feature on artist Saul Bernstein when we debuted the updated and recast living history character; and Raise Your Glass, highlighting items from the collections to compliment a Father’s Day program on the Jewish heritage of American whiskey.

Our newest lobby display, which will be on view starting this Sunday, November 11th, is a companion to our special Veteran’s Day program on the Jewish Legion. Generously supported by a gift from the Carole and Hanan Sibel Family Foundation, this display will highlight the various Jewish Legion-related materials in our collections, which will be further discussed at 1:00pm by our archivist Lorie Rombro.

We have also used this space to give our interns a chance to apply their skills and share what they’ve learned over the course of their internship. Most recently we had Just Desserts: Baking and Jewish Identity, created by 2018 summer intern Cara Bennet. 2015 summer intern Falicia Eddy created Recognizing and Responding to Injustice, which focused on using the Holocaust as a teaching tool to combat intolerance as a companion to our annual Summer Teachers Institute.

This space is not the only small gem we can use to tell special stories outside the bounds of our major exhibit offerings (although it is the most consistently filled). In the basement of the Lloyd Street Synagogue there is a single case that has been used to explore Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and Shavuot using materials from our collections and is often curated by interns or museum educators.

In the Anne Adalman Goodwin Memorial Library you can often find a small case featuring an item from the collection – perhaps a special menorah around Hanukkah, a Seder plate around Passover, or a funky clock that caught Joanna’s eye down in the stacks this past May.  During the final week of our Just Married! Wedding Stories of Jewish Maryland exhibit, we expanded a little farther into the library to share some special wedding “extras” that we just couldn’t bear not to share, like vintage wedding shoes and additional dresses from the collections.

These small spaces, and others, allow us to be experimental, responsive, and creative. In 2014 we created a tribute to actress Vivienne Shub in light of her passing. In 2015, in response to the unrest and uprising in Baltimore we created In Every Generation, exploring materials in the collections related to protest, public campaigning, and activism in the community.

So keep your eyes on our niches, on our cases tucked in to cozy corners, on those inspiring blank walls – you never know what new stories will pop up!

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From Side Shows to Spooky Seances

Posted on October 5th, 2018 by

Museum Matters: October 2018

October is the midpoint in our run of Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini and our programming has reached a feverish peak. We have something new to offer every Sunday this month all leading up to the big Halloween week.

We’ve even been researching JMM’s own vaults to find the “magic” hidden within, which led us to “A Little Magic from the Collections,” which is being installed today in our feature exhibit alcove, and will remain on display through Halloween.

Perhaps most magical of all – this month includes two free days. On October 21st we participate in Free Fall Baltimore and the entire Museum is free, including our 1pm program with Ken Trombley, Capturing Houdini. On October 7th the Lloyd Street Synagogue is available to the public all day (with docents, but no formal tours) as part of Doors Open Baltimore. (The Museum and our 1pm program with James Taylor will still have regular admission on the 7th, however.)

All this provides those of you who have seen the Houdini exhibit a good excuse to return (and bring a friend). And for those procrastinators who haven’t made it yet, don’t miss out on the best month to see the show!


Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.


Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 1pm

Street Show, Sideshow, Stage Show:
Novelty & Variety Entertainment and its Spread
Speaker: James Taylor
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 1pm

Magic and Monotheism
Speaker: Jonathan Dauber, Yeshiva University
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 1pm

Free Fall Baltimore!
Capturing Houdini
Speaker: Ken Trombley
Reserve Seats Now

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Family Day!
Houdini’s Magical Halloween
Reserve Seats Now

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Official Houdini Sceance
Tickets: $50 ($25 for Museum Members)
Please note seating is extremely limited for this event.

Esther’s Place

Have you explored our Shabbat items recently?

We have many lovely, unique pieces guaranteed to make your Shabbat or holiday beautiful and meaningful. From embroidered challah covers to modern or contemporary candlestick sets, striking Kiddush cups to elegant Havdalah sets to a selection of glass and wood Shabbat trays. Our Shabbat candles—which come in a variety of color styles—make the perfect table addition or gift.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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