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The Festival YOU Created!

Posted on February 7th, 2020 by

Museum Matters: February 2020

We close almost every program with a request: “please fill out the survey near your seats.” You may find this surprising, but we actually read those surveys and try our best to use them to help inform future program development. This month we feature a festival inspired by your responses to two sets of programs.

The first set related to one of our most successful exhibits, 2015’s Paul Simon: Words and Music. While people cleary enjoyed learning about the life and career of Paul Simon, what really seemed to resonate was the story of Jewish involvement in the evolution and explosion of folk music. The second set was your overwhelmingly positive reactions to JMM Live in 2018, where we featured some of the amazing talent found in our community tbut not necessarily in our exhibit schedule. We tapped into both these sources of feedback to create this year’s JMM Live: Jewish Folk Life Festival.

The series kicks off this Sunday, February 9th at 3:30 pm with JMM favorite Lori Şen. Lori first joined us in March 2019 for a Sephardic art song presentation and performance. This year Lori has expanded her performance and will be back with guitarist Jeremy Lyons and pianist Yin-Shan Su. Not only will the concert be an amazing dive into Sephardic culture, if you have never had a chance to hear live music in the Lloyd Street Synagogue it is something truly special to experience.

The series continues with an additional five programs through February and March, featuring concerts, lectures and a special papercutting workshop. Presenters will include a world-renowned klezmer musician, local favorites, a 2019 Grammy winner, and one our absolute favorite speakers of the past few years – Nora Guthrie, daughter of Woody Guthrie. Don’t forget, all our public programs are included with museum membership* so if you are not yet a member, now is the perfect time to join.


*And JMM Members, don’t forget to bring your “love note” postcard with you to select your free mystery gift when you visit the Museum this month!


JMM Live: Jewish Folk Life Festival

An Afternoon of Sephardic Songs
JMM Live: Jewish Folk Life Festival
Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 3:30pm
Performers: Lori Şen, Jeremy Lyons, and Ying-Shan Su
Get Tickets Now

Hands-On Family Time

Celebrate Tu B’Shevat:The Festival of Trees
Monday, February 10, 2020 at 2:00pm
Storytime begins at 2:30pm.
Get Tickets Now

Film Screening

Thursday, February 12, 2020 at 6:30pm
Speaker: Dr. Deb Weiner
Get Tickets Now

JMM Live: Jewish Folk Life Festival

Jewish Folk Art: Papercutting
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 6:30pm
Instructor: Katherine Fahey
Get Tickets Now

Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling

Cash for Your Trash:Scrap Recycling in America
Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Carl Zimring
Get Tickets Now

Virtual Tour

Anne Frank House Virtual Tour
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
from 1:00 – 4:00pm
Get Tickets Now


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

February is the Perfect Month to Show Your Love

Stop in at Esther’s Place and pick out the perfect gift to show your loved ones you’re thinking about them!
Remember – JMM Members get a 10% at Esther’s Place every day.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

A Love Note To Our Members

Posted on January 17th, 2020 by

JMM Insights: January 2020

We’ve talked before about how much Membership Matters, but we believe there’s never a bad time to share our love for some of the most important people who come through our doors – our members.  From exhibit openings and book signings to concerts and family days, we always get a thrill seeing the familiar faces of our JMM family here at the Museum.

We want to say thank you. And we love your support, your enthusiasm, and YOUR love for us. To show our love, we’ve got a Valentine’s Day present for all our members. Hitting your mailbox soon is a special Valentine from us to you. Bring your Valentine into the Museum during the month of February and we’ll give you a present – wrapped up with ribbons and bows. But this isn’t just any ordinary present – it’s a surprise.

Large and small, heavy and light, brightly colored and elegant and out-of-season – these presents are a mystery. We’re wrapping them up and letting you choose!

Like Valentine’s Day chocolate, we don’t want these gifts to get stale, so you’ll need to pick them up by the end of February. However, this isn’t the only way we show appreciation for our members! If you haven’t been to one of our special, members-only exhibit events, you’ve been missing out. From lion dancers in Lloyd Street Synagogue for Jewish Refugees in Shanghai to a night of magical memories for Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini to songs and stories in celebration of Scrap Yard, our members-only events are a seasonal highlight. Members should mark their calendars for Wednesday, May 27, 2020 as we enjoy the out-of-this-world opening of Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit this Spring.

Just a few of our stellar members-only events!

Did you know that JMM members at the Lombard Street Club, Living History Circle, Lloyd Street League, and 1845 Society get FREE ADMISSION to not just our Museum, but to multiple other Museums in the Baltimore area, including the Baltimore Museum of Industry, our Jonestown neighbor The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, and the B&O Railroad Museum? Plus, if you’re a traveler, members at these premium levels ($150+) also receive free admission to Jewish museums across the country, including the Skirball in California, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Maltz Museum in Ohio, the Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee in Wisconsin!

We are thrilled that so many of our visitors support our mission and choose to become members of the Museum. You make us feel loved every day. We hope you’ll be our Valentine.

Yours Truly,

The Jewish Museum of Maryland

Be Our Valentine and Become a Member Today

Join JMM as a member between now and February 14, 2020 and you too will receive a free gift when you stop in to the Museum during the month of February. Let us show you the love!


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What We’re Learning

Posted on January 10th, 2020 by

There are many ways to measure JMM’s progress. For this month’s  Performance Counts, Rachel Kassman collected highlights of what JMM staff learned in 2019. The great thing about gaining the weight of knowledge is that no January diet is required! To read more posts from Rachel, click here.

In the spirit of January, the New Year, resolutions, and self-improvement, while planning for this month’s edition of Performance Counts, I started thinking about the efforts we make on an individual level to improve and strengthen ourselves as Museum professionals. Professional development is as important as evaluating our exhibits, counting our visitors,  and appreciating our members, but we rarely here about what everyone is doing and learning. So I decided to reach out to my colleagues and ask everyone to share an example of professional development they participated in this year and you can read them yourself below. I love the variety of experiences and opportunities that JMM staff participated in – and am already getting excited thinking about what we can do in the year ahead.

For myself, this past year I was able to attend the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Annual Conference as a panelist.

It was a really great experience – not only did I get to share what JMM is doing in the world of social media (it’s a lot, by the way), I got some really great ideas from my fellow panelists AND attended a particularly great session on workplace happiness with Tamara Christian of the International Spy Museum. I’m hoping to share her presentation with the whole JMM staff at one of our Monday meetings.

From Marvin Pinkert, Executive Director:

They say that travel broadens the mind. After 32 years in the Museum industry, I can honestly say that some of my most worthwhile hours are those spent in other people’s museums. Among the most interesting exhibits I visited this year were the Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park and the nearby Statue of Liberty Museum (which I visited four months before its opening); an experimental gallery featuring augmented reality at the Free Library of Philadelphia and Museum of the American Revolution (also in that city); and back in Chicago, an outstanding exhibit on “streamlining” at Chicago History Museum and a huge mobile museum gallery built as a companion to the musical, Hamilton. I may not have agreed with every choice made by curators or project managers, but in every instance exposure to new ideas for design and project management, stimulated my thinking about what we do at JMM.

From Paige Woodhouse, School Program Manager:

Professional development can take many forms. While I also attended some incredible conferences and webinars this year, another experience is worth mentioning. This year I transitioned roles at JMM to the newly created School Program Coordinator role. Over the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to sit down with my counterparts from other Baltimore organizations to learn about their roles, programs, successes, and goals for growth. These casual meetings have empowered me to think creatively opportunities for the education team and about how JMM can develop partnerships. I look forward to meeting more of my fellow Baltimore museum education cohort in the upcoming year.

From Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Learning and Visitor Experience:

Professional development is so personal for me. This past year as a Board member of MAAM I participated in meetings to help plan and organize the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums Annual Conference that took place in October at West Point, NY. I am looking ahead to help plan the MAAM 2020 Annual Conference that will take place in Wilmington, Delaware.

I also had the opportunity to attend a session sponsored by CAJM (the Council of American Jewish Museums) on the topic of antisemitism. As an institution, the JMM also plans professional development opportunities for teachers throughout the State of Maryland. For the past 16 years, the JMM and Baltimore Jewish Council have worked together to plan the Summer Teachers Institute in the area of Holocaust Education. In 2019, we piloted the Winter Teachers Institute with great success with over 30 teachers in attendance for the two days. We are holding the Second Annual Winters Institute next month.

From Sue Foard, Membership Coordinator:

Webinars are my favorite type of professional development. It suits my learning style very well. This past year I participated in webinars from the postal service and about the Bank of America Cashpro system.

From Wendy Davis, Volunteer Coordinator:

One of my goals has been to provide workshops to increase the volunteers’ skill set and knowledge. Those workshops include learning how to use assistive listening devices and having the curators of the temporary exhibits provide us training on those exhibits. But the workshop that had the most meaning for me was the one I presented on the mikva’ot associated with the Lloyd Street Synagogue. I spent hours combing through books covering the history of Baltimore’s early synagogues and documents on the JMM computer finding archeologist reports, first person recollections and quotes from primary documents. I and the volunteers are now able to answer many more questions posed to us by Museum visitors regarding the mikva’ot, though there are still some questions that remain for future investigation!

From Tracie Guy-Decker, Deputy Director:

In February of 2019, I attended the Building Museums Conference in Brooklyn. The conference is dedicated to the processes and challenges of building museums and other cultural institutions. It was an eye-opening experience to hear stories from other institutions at various stages of expansion and evolution. Interestingly for me, some of the biggest takeaways weren’t about the nitty-gritty of building (e.g. humidity controls, building materials, LEED certifications and the like), but about the importance, nature, and consequences of visitor experience. Insights gained at that meeting have led to new partnerships and priorities as we move toward our own expansion. I’m looking forward to building on those insights at this year’s symposium.

From Talia Makowsky, Visitor Services Coordinator:

In December, I had the opportunity to join the Keshet Leadership Summit, as a part of the Keshet Leadership Project in Baltimore. Fifteen organization total came together to talk about LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Jewish community in Baltimore, and how we can commit to supporting and welcoming people from the LGBTQ+ community. Working together to show our dedication to diversity and inclusion was inspiring, and I felt proud to be a part of the Baltimore Jewish community. Our projects will continue for the rest of the year and we hope to meet again as a cohort soon. If you want to learn more about what we did that day, read about it here.

From Lorie Rombro, Archivist:

This past year I have enjoyed listening to webinars. My position has me working with numerous types of materials and objects and I enjoy learning more about care and processing of these collections. Many times, the webinars can be refreshers for me, but they always add additional knowledge to help in the care of the Museum’s collections.  Many of the webinars were facilitated by Connecting to Collections Care, including Practical Book Repair, Exploring Old Loans: A quest for resolution, What is this: solving problems found in collections, Preserving Film collections for the future and Managing resources for collections storage.

From Laura Grant, Program Assistant:

I spent the majority of 2019 in graduate school at George Washington University’s Museum Education Program. I learned about designing, implementing, and evaluating museum tours and programs for a variety of audiences. One of the most useful aspects of graduate school was meeting with professionals in the field. I learned so much about both the lofty and practical elements of museum work.

From Marisa Shultz, Museum Educator:

Last October, I had the opportunity to both present at and attend the Maryland Council for Social Studies Inc. 2019 Fall Conference, where teachers, museum professionals, and students came together to discuss the topic of “Integrating Civics in the Social Studies.” While attending sessions and meeting colleagues, I learned new techniques for sparking student curiosity, innovative ways to engage students with primary sources, and more about some of Maryland’s important historical figures, such as Margaret Brent. 

From Tracey Dorfmann, Director of Development: 

I was able to attend a workshop with The Association for Fund Raising Professionals in 2019 that focused on expanding our donor base.  One of the salient points was the importance of every contact with visitors, members, and existing donors. Each interaction holds the potential for a meaningful connection to the Museum. A good experience here can convert a visitor today can become an inspired donor in the future.

From Joanna Church, Director of Collections and Exhibits:

One conference I attended this year for the first time was the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists (ARCS) biennial conference in Philadelphia. As I mentioned in my blog post, “it’s always nice to be among your peers, people who understand the pain of poorly documented 50-year-old donations and the joys of matching up a “found in collections” object with its original paperwork.”

And these are just a few of the many, many learning opportunities JMM staff have taken advantage of over the past twelve months! We look forward to all the conferences, workshops, meetings, readings, discussions, and more to come in the year ahead.

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