Posted on December 16th, 2016 by Rachel
Opening June 18, 2017
In last June’s JMM Insights I let you know that we were working on a project to draw objects, photos and documents from our rich collection to create the exhibit Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland (link: to the JMM insights article). Six months later we are well on our way to our goal. Joanna has combed our vaults for the most interesting invitations, ketubim, party favors and of course, beautiful wedding gowns. We have engaged an innovative design team led by Jeremy Hoffman of Ashton Design, a Baltimore firm. We are working on organizing all of the material into themes, looking at provocative questions about the meaning of the wedding and its symbols, the obstacles couples face and the way we remember wedding days. We even have a section on the business of weddings. Our education team is developing interactive experiences that we will incorporate into the exhibit – can you match the menu item or wedding tune with the right decade?
Rose Shapira of Pittsburgh married Sol Meyer Freedman of Baltimore on November 8, 1921. Gift of Shirley Freedman, JMM 1989.211.9, 6.26
Our collection is particularly strong in items from Baltimore from the late 19th century to the 1950s. Our goal, however is to represent the broadest cross-section of the Jewish wedding experience in Maryland – small towns as well as the big city, early history as well as recent history, and inclusive of all kinds of marriages, from every denomination (and non-denomination). This is where you, dear reader, are called on to help. We’ve now made it easy for you to share images with us through our special new url:
Here you can upload wedding photos and invitations (you can’t upload your gown, but a photo is much easier to store). While not every photo may be displayed in the exhibit, all of them will become part of our on-line catalog…and who doesn’t want the chance to say that their wedding or their parents’ or grandparents’ wedding is preserved in a museum.
Deborah Kaplan, daughter of Dr. Louis Kaplan, married Efrem M. Potts on November 24, 1949 at Chizuk Amuno, Baltimore. Gift of Efrem M. Potts. JMM 1995.192..11, 239
Besides preserving your own family history, you will be helping us build a documentary database of the wedding experiences of Jewish Maryland over time and this database will be of value to future generations. Our highest priority is to get a photo, an invite and basic factual information on as many weddings as you can. It doesn’t have to be your own wedding – but make sure that you have permission to send us the image; we don’t want to hear from Aunt Sadie that she never intended that bridesmaid’s dress to go public.
Florence Hendler married Howard Caplan on January 21, 1932, at the Southern Hotel, Baltimore. Invitation: gift of Naomi Biron Cohen, JMM 2009.58.9; photo: Anonymous gift, JMM 19220.127.116.11
There are no restrictions on the date or type of ceremony… we welcome the quiet elopement as well as the grand ball; the couple could have had fifty years of wedded bliss or ended in a quick divorce (though my “Aunt Sadie” advice applies here too). The only constraint is that there is some Maryland connection and some Jewish connection. This photo for example is ineligible because the bride is from Pittsburgh and the groom from Chicago:
…but I like it anyway.
So help us demonstrate the incredible diversity of loving relationships in our community and in our state. Add your image to the collection this December and we’ll thank you for it on Valentine’s Day!
Posted on December 9th, 2016 by Rachel
There has been a lot of discussion in the news in the last few months about the way that new social media channels are changing our economy and politics. It seemed like a great time to talk about how JMM is using these channels to build community around the Museum, it’s artifacts and history. In this month’s Performance Counts Rachel Kassman, wearing her “marketing manager” hat, shares recent highlights platform by platform. Rachel does an amazing job of making us visible with very limited resources.
Facebook was the first social media platform the Museum dipped its toe in – we’ve had our page since February 20, 2008 (at least, that’s when we uploaded our first profile picture)! Over the past almost 8 years we’ve gained 2,270 “follows” and 2,384 page “likes.” Those follows are particularly important, as Facebook’s various algorithms use them to decide who is going to see our posts on their timeline. In many ways Facebook is the most encompassing of our social media platforms; it serves as a photo-sharing site, an events calendar (with built in invitation capabilities), and as a forum to share articles and ideas.
In the past year we’ve also started to dabble in Facebook advertising. If you have a Facebook page of your own, you may have seen some of our “boosted” events as we work to increase awareness of the Museum and the many exciting public programs we host.
The Confusingly Popular Post
Ever heard the phrase “going viral?” It refers to something online exploding beyond any expectation (and often for no discernible reason). We had a little taste of this ourselves over Thanksgiving, with what is our most “popular” post to-date! On Wednesday afternoon we shared this archaeological bit of news: 3,800-Year-Old Ancient ‘Thinking Person’ Statuette Unearthed from Huffington Post. Over the course of the next 24 hours this post received 91 comments, was shared 425 times, and reached 14,303 people via our page. To place this in context, our next most popular post since July 1, 2016 (the farthest back Facebook Insights will allow is 180 days) had a reach of 1,935, received 1 comment, and was shared 17 times. (For those interested, it was this article.) Even stranger, the original article itself only got 12 comments over at Huffington Post. Why this post? Why on Thanksgiving? We will probably never know.
Did you know our very first tweet went out on August 11, 2010? (In case you’re wondering, we tweeted about a job opening at the Museum.) Since then we’ve sent out 13,800 individual tweets to over 1,300 followers! That number represents a combination of “retweets” (that is, where we share tweets from other accounts that we think are interesting or important) and original tweets written by the Museum. These original tweets cover everything from public program announcements to behind-the-scenes photos. The vast majority of our top tweets are based on sharing materials from our collections – our top two tweets over the past three months (September – November) celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Mexican Independence Day.
Rosh Hashanah and Mexico
How do we decide what to share on Twitter? Hashtags. (What’s a hashtag? Here’s an article to explain.) Hashtags help identify topics followers might be interested in multiple ways. One is by checking trending hashtags, which show you what topics are being tweeted about by others in your geographic location –that’s how we decided to post the above tweet on the left for Mexican Independence Day. Another is “daily hashtags” like #TBT (also known as Throwback Thursday) and #MondayMugShots (which have been a great way to highlight some of our quirky gift shop items).
Pickles, buttons, and hiking
A third way is by connecting our collections to eccentric holidays like #NationalPickleDay, #NationalButtonDay, and #NationalTakeAHikeDay. These hashtags don’t just help us on Twitter, but carry over to all our other social media platforms as well, letting us get multiple bangs-for-our-buck. (So far we haven’t had any “retweets” from the incoming “tweeter-in-chief”, but who knows?)
Tumblr is a social media platform often referred to as a “microblogging” site – it lets users share links, photos, videos, and text posts easily. The Museum has been on Tumblr since January 16, 2015 (we debuted with a series of behind-the-scenes photos of the Museum by way of celebrating “Appreciate a Dragon Day”) and has gained 819 followers through 1,314 posts. Here’s a look at the activity on our Tumblr over the last seven days:
The last 7 days
As with Twitter our top posts on Tumblr often come from our collections!
Instagram is the newest platform we’re exploring, added to the Museum’s social media portfolio just three months ago (September 13, 2016 to be exact). We’ve already gained 84 followers and posted nearly 275 individual images in that time – and those images have garnered 875 “likes” between them! Collections related posts have already proven incredibly popular, as you can see from the top 3 posts by both likes and comments pictured below.
Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!
Remember those hashtags we talked about earlier? Instagram relies heavily on them – and we’ve got the graph to prove it! Over the past three months, after researching multiple articles on how best to use Instagram as an institution, we’ve been increasing the number of relevant hashtags used on each post. As you can see, this has had a direct correlation to the popularity of our account.
Look at that generous incline!
And because we’re nerds, here’s one more graph showing the most-likes-per-hashtag used on our account.
Managing It All
There’s a lot going on in social media for the Jewish Museum of Maryland – we do our best to provide fresh content throughout the day on all our platforms, not to mention updating the Museum blog (and of course, sharing those updates on social media!). One tool that helps us maintain a robust presence online with limited time is Hootesuite, which allows us to schedule tweets, facebook posts, and Instagram posts in advance. This has been a lifesaver as we work to increase our output.
Hootesuite is a great tool
We hope you’ve enjoyed this look “behind the social media curtain,” and if you have any questions about the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter), please send them to us!
Posted on December 2nd, 2016 by Rachel
As we are down to the last 45 days of Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, we are frenetically pursuing programs that add new dimensions to the topic – from surgery lessons for kids to medicinal schnapps for younger adults to end-of-life care for those of us who… well, maybe I should just leave it there.
Even our December 25 Mitzvah Day program is infused with a health care theme. In the morning, help us make packets of chicken soup mix and decorated chicken soup bowls to soothe the souls and warm the hearts of our neighbors. In the afternoon, join us for some holiday binge watching of the classic series “Northern Exposure” – we’ll be following the journey of a young Jewish doctor headed north (rather than a jolly old fellow headed south). It might feel like Alaska outside, but we’ll have hot cocoa and popcorn inside.
On the Monday through Thursday following Mitzvah Day (Dec. 26 to 29), we’ll be featuring a “Best of 2016” Family Activity Week – we’ll be reprising some of our favorite hands-on activities from Beyond Chicken Soup as well as our fall arts programs. So if the kids are out of school, swing by and join in the fun.
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact Trillion Attwood at email@example.com / 443-8735177with any questions or for more information.
Downtown Dollar Day: Healthcare Heroes
Sunday, December 4, beginning at 10:00am
Museum Admission: $1
Join us for a hands-on day of exploration at the Jewish Museum of Maryland! Receive valuable training in how to perform medical tasks such as keyhole surgery, applying a plaster cast and other scientific experiments. Then meet professional animator Eliezer Medina who will lead a workshop on how to draw and ink some of your favorite cartoon characters while sharing stories about the Jewish roots of some of the most beloved superheroes.
Cordials, Schnapps, and L’chaims:
Let thy beverage be thy medicine
Thursday, December 8, 6:30pm
Facilitated by Casey Yurow, Pearlstone Center
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now
Join Pearlstone Center’s Program Director, Casey Yurow, for a multi-sensory and mind-altering evening exploring the relationship between Jews, plants, and therapeutic beverages. Participants will taste a variety of cordials made from the seven species of Israel – dates, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, wheat, and barley – while learning about historical uses of fruit, herb, and spice infused beverages in Jewish tradition and beyond. The evening will include opportunities for hands-on beverage blending so folks can take something home with them.
This program is designed for participants aged 21 and over. Dietary laws will be observed.
Places are limited so please book your space in advance here!
Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing
Sunday, December 11, 1:00pm
Speaker: Mike Silver, author of Stars in the Ring
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now!
More Jewish athletes have competed as boxers than all other professional sports combined. From 1901 to 1939, 29 Jewish boxers were recognized as world champions and nearly 200 others were ranked among the top contenders in their respective weight divisions. Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing chronicles an era when boxers named “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom, Ruby Goldstein (“The Jewel of the Ghetto”), Leach Cross (“The Fighting Dentist”), Joe Bernstein (“The Pride of the Bowery”) and hundreds of other fabulous Jewish boxers literally fought their way out of poverty to become instant heroes to a generation of immigrants struggling to break out of poverty and enter the American mainstream. Author and historian Mike Silver will share this vibrant social history.
Debating our Fate: End-of-Life Care in Maryland
Sunday, December 18, 1:00pm
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now
This important topic is one that is too often only discussed at the most challenging of times. Our panel of experts will discuss end-of-life care, including Jewish teachings and the contemporary legal landscape.
Sunday, December 25, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Bring your family and give back to our community with thousands of other volunteers across Baltimore. This year we take inspiration for our current exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. Help us to make Soup Kits and decorate soup bowls that will help feed our community (to be donated to Living Classrooms). Activities are suitable for all ages.
Northern Exposure – The Best of Season 1
Sunday, December 25, starting at 12:00pm
Included with Admission – Buy Tickets Now!
Join us for a relaxing afternoon as we visit Cicely, Alaska. Inspired by Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America and its examination of the role of Jewish doctors in popular culture, we will be screening episodes from Season One of Northern Exposure. This cult TV show follows the life of recently graduated New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who is sent to practice in Alaska in return for the state’s paying for his medical education.
Throughout the screening we will be serving popcorn and hot chocolate.
Esther’s Place: the Shop at the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Chanukkah and Christmas coincide this year! Are you ready for your December holiday (or dilemma)? Esther’s place has a wide assortment of Chanukkah menorahs and dreidels available, from the whimsical to the sublime. We’ve also got beautiful or funny gifts for children and adults. Stop in and browse our selection of everything from a dentist play-dough set or Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher to designer jewelry or folk music CDs to medical-themed housewares or Did Jew Know. Take care of your holiday shopping and support the JMM at the same time!
Also of Interest
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 bnaiisraelcongregation.org. For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit biyabaltimore.org or check out BIYA on Facebook.
Ongoing at the JMM
Exhibits currently on display include Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America (through January 16, 2017), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!
Hours and Tour Times
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.
Click Here for complete hours and tour times
Please note that the JMM is open on Sunday, December 25 from 10am-5pm and on Sunday, January 1, from 10am-5pm.
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The JMM is always looking for volunteers! Click Here to learn more.
Click Here for complete hours and tour times