JMM Insights: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Posted on May 20th, 2016 by

Jonestown horizontal 4C


On May 29 we’re putting out the welcome mat as six of greater Jonestown’s well established historic and cultural attractions celebrate the arrival of three brand new facilities planned over the next few years.  We hope you’ll join JMM, the Carroll Museums, Zion Church of Baltimore, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Port Discovery, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and B’Nai Israel: The Downtown Synagogue, in saying “welcome!” to our future neighbors.

We thought it might be a good idea to share the backstory behind this event.  Most of you will recall that last October we facilitated the development of the Jonestown Vision Plan and the launch of the new Jonestown brand identity.  In the months since, we’ve continued to work closely with the community and Historic Jonestown Inc. (HJI), led by Lindsay Thompson and Joe Cronyn on ways to put our ambitious goals into practice.

HJI is in the process of organizing itself into affinity groups, bringing together the neighborhood’s social service organizations, its religious institutions, its hospitality industry and its historic/cultural organizations to work on parts of the plan that are a natural fit with each group.  Our historic/cultural group has been concentrating on events and programs.  We felt very fortunate to be included in the Carroll Mansion’s current partnership in support of the All American House and we are studying other two-way and three-way collaborations to bring life to the streets of Jonestown, including tentative plans for a plein air art experience on surrounding streets later this summer.

Meanwhile we’ve had some terrific news about institutions bringing new activity and energy to our immediate vicinity.  Just a block away from the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Ronald McDonald House is well on its way to starting construction on a new facility.  The new Ronald McDonald House, which will be built at 1200 E. Baltimore Street, will reflect a commitment to incorporate best practices into all of its programs and services. The new house is intended to fulfill an institutional goal of establishing Baltimore as providing not only quality pediatric care but the most effective and compassionate family-centered care in the world.  Amenities included in the design of the new house were carefully selected through input from staff, volunteers and families. The new House will serve approximately 55 families daily and 2,200 families a year.  We intend to extend outreach to both volunteers and families. The coming of the new facility will also mean upgrades for the adjacent McKim Park.

And just a block away from the park, at 1100 E. Fayette Street, Kevin Plank and Under Armour have provided more than $6 million in support for a new recreation center, scheduled to open later this year.  The new center will be operated by Living Classrooms.  Jonestown’s cultural institutions are exploring ways to engage youth at the new center in our ongoing programs.

Go just a few blocks further down Fayette  Street and you’ll come to 901, announced last January as the new site for the National Aquarium’s animal care and rescue center.  Preparations are beginning now for an anticipated 2018 opening.  The Aquarium hopes to provide some public access to this behind-the-scenes space.  Jonestown has been welcoming new immigrants for more than 200 years – now we’ll have new arrivals with fins and tails as well.

Welcome to the New Neighbors!

Welcome to the New Neighbors!

It seemed like a great time to bring these new institutions into the Jonestown family.  From 1pm to 4pm we’ll have family activities for every taste.  Art projects, craft work, storytelling from Port Discovery and our new friends at the National Aquarium are bringing with a bearded dragon… just in case you’ve never seen a real dragon, or at least a real dragon with a beard. Admission to the Museum and to all the activities is free.

Happy birthday Mr. Jones!

Happy birthday Mr. Jones!

Speaking of every taste, there will also be birthday cake.  Whose birthday you ask?  Well Jonestown, of course.  On June 15, 1641, David Jones built his home by the falls that bear his name (not to mention the expressway they put on top of it).  So we’ve decided to jump the gun just a little and pull out the 355th birthday cake at our Jonestown celebration.  It seems a fitting way to mark a milestone for Baltimore’s oldest neighborhood and newest destination:  Jonestown – proudly we hail.

~Marvin Pinkert

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Small Improvements, Big Impact: Reshaping the JMM Visitor Experience

Posted on May 12th, 2016 by

Performance Counts May 2016

Many years ago I heard a joke: A very creative man, Moshe, was asked by his more run-of-the-mill friend, Joe, what Joe might do to help him be more like Moshe. Moshe replied, “sometimes, the smallest change makes a big difference in the way that you see the world. Try putting your pants on each morning with the other leg first. It will adjust your whole outlook on things.”

Joe thought Moshe might be crazy, but he tried it anyway. The next time he saw Moshe, he heartily thanked him, “I tried it, I put my pants on left leg first now, and since I started, I’ve been able to come up with creative solutions to problems that once seemed intractable.”

“That’s great!” said Moshe, “but what happened to your face?” referring to the large bruises on Joe’s cheeks and eyes.

“I fall on my face every morning, because I’m putting my pants on the wrong leg first.”


For whatever reason, and despite the punchline, that joke has really stayed with me. Mostly, I guess, because I believe it to be true: small changes, when they’re the right changes, can lead to big differences in individuals, organizations and cultures.

Some fresh, new landscaping.

Some fresh, new landscaping.

Since I started at the JMM about a year ago, we’ve begun collecting small changes:

*We started accepting credit cards at the front desk, so that our visitors don’t need to interrupt their entry experience to pay with card.

*We’ve moved more shop merchandise into the lobby, and have re-organized what’s in the shop, grouping items by theme, allowing us to make the shop experience also educational.

*Our front doors now feature handicap accessible paddles and power-assist opens.

*We brought in a company to power-wash the scaling from the portico that marks our entrance, and we re-landscaped the beds right out front.

*We’ve worked to stabilize the projector in our orientation space so that it no longer wobbles with the HVAC system’s operation.

*We retired the old Tzedakah box into our Institutional Archives, and had fabricated a new acrylic collection box that allows visitors to see others’ donation and encourages greater giving (the money collected this way has markedly increased!).

Our nifty new donations box.

Our nifty new donations box.

And we’re not done! In the coming weeks and months you can expect to see:

*A new phone system (it’s being installed this week) that will allow direct dial to all JMM staffers

*A new software package that will streamline the visitor entry transaction, and will allow us to better understand our visitors – who they are, where they come from, when they visit, etc.

*A facelift for our public bathrooms, including new lighting, sinks and mirrors

*A refresh of our lobby and orientation space, including fresh paint, new furniture and improved donor recognition panels

Taken together, as we move forward into fiscal year 2017 and beyond, these small changes are really starting to add up to positive developments at the JMM. I hope that you’ll agree, and will join me in celebrating the changes we’ve already made and share with me your ideas about how we can improve the visitor experience at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Tracie Guy-DeckerA blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.




Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Museum Matters: May Flowers Edition

Posted on May 6th, 2016 by

“Stoke” detail, from JMM 1993.73.1

“Stoke” detail, from JMM 1993.73.1

It seems like the cool rainy days will never end, but here at JMM everything’s in bloom.  We have a spectacular month of movies, lectures and even a “welcome to the neighborhood” party.

The seed of the month ahead was Sunday’s launch of the “Book, Bell and Candle Mystery,” a new experience of Maryland’s oldest synagogue, where visitors are invited to help us track down questions about who designed and manufactured key components of this historic site – from the nails to the Torah scrolls.  Our “whodunit” (i.e. who built it) is open to sleuths of all ages, every Sunday at 3 through July 4th weekend.

And if your taste runs to wildflowers, you won’t want to miss the true story of Solomon Carvalho’s journey to the Wild West.  Hear the tale of Baltimore’s most improbable pioneer photographer and painter – a real life version of the Frisco Kid.

Speaking of movies, we’re offering a classic comedy double feature about Jewish doctors on May 22.  Hosted by our most-beloved media maven and zombie analyst Dr. Arnold Blumberg (see, even our doctors are blooming this May).

By May 29th there will be blossoms everywhere as we join the cultural institutions of Jonestown in welcoming our newest neighbors – the National Aquarium, Ronald McDonald House and Living Classrooms.

Don’t be a wallflower, join in the fun at JMM this May!

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.

CARVALHO_sunrise Carvalho’s Journey: A documentary film by Steve Rivo
Sunday, May 15, 1:00pm
Movie Screening and Talk with Director Steve Rivo
Included with Admission

A real-life 19th century American western adventure story, Carvalho’s Journey tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897) … Read More
Get your tickets

Copies available at signing.

Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin
Book Talk & Signing with Author Marlene Trestman
Thursday, May 19th from 6:30 pm
Included with Museum Admission

Come hear Marlene Trestman discuss her mentor and friend, Bessie Margolin. Margolin, who grew up in New Orleans Jewish orphanage, championed the wage and hour rights of millions of Americans. Margolin also helped to found the National Organization for Women and opened courtroom doors for countless women lawyers…. Read More
Get your tickets

may-PC-1A Day at the Races, A Night at Frankenstein’s Castle
Sunday, May 22, 11am
Speaker Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg
Included with Admission
A Day at the Races and Young Frankenstein: Two films released 37 years apart but united by remarkably similar senses of humor fueled by a uniquely Jewish perspective on mad doctors and mad love. Join Arnold T. Blumberg in his exploration of these two classics. Read More.

Schedule for the Day:
11:00am – Screening of Day at the Races
1:00pm – Lecture with Dr. Blumberg
2:00pm – Screening of Young Frankenstein

Get your tickets
Jonestown horizontal 4CWelcome to Jonestown
Sunday, May 29, 1:00pm to 4:00pm

You’re invited to JMM’s block party welcoming our new neighbors, The National Aquarium, Living Classrooms and Ronald McDonald House! Yes, there will be cake! Read More


DrPerman_HiRes2016 Annual Meeting
The Greatest Gap: Health Inequity in Baltimore
Samuel Boltansky Memorial Keynote Speaker Dr. Jay Perman, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Tuesday, June 14, 6:30pm

Join us for the JMM’s Annual Meeting as we elect members to our Board of Trustees and express appreciation to our retiring members. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Jay Perman, will address the social determinants of health—education, economic stability, personal and public safety, housing and transportation, social supports and cohesion—and how anchor institutions can help remediate the disparities we see in the health of populations. Read More

Couple collage smallHolocaust Memory Reconstruction Project: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt

With Artist: Lori Shocket
Sunday, June 19 – Tuesday, June 28

Holocaust survivors and their families are invited to participate in a series of workshops led by California-based artist, Lori Shocket, that will culminate in an art installation that will be on display at the JMM beginning in March 2017 in conjunction with our Remembering Auschwitz exhibits.
Please note that space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, please contact Deborah Cardin at (410) 732-6400 x236
Read More and see all dates


sofer imageA Glimpse into the World of a Sofer (Torah scribe)
Sunday, June 26th, 1:00pm
Speaker Rabbi Englander

Join us for this exciting program in connection with The All American Synagogue. Part lecture, part workshop:  Learn the basic steps of creating a Torah scroll, including how the letters are written and the rules governing the making of a Torah. Read More.

Esther’s Place: the JMM Store

new in shop JAdlerAt Esther’s Place we’re excited to show off some new merchandise, including from renowned designer, Jonathan Adler. If you haven’t been in lately, we have lots to show you!

We’re also still looking for a new manager for Esther’s Place. Learn more about the position and apply here.

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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on Facebook.
Jewish American Heritage Lecture: We Called Him Rabbi Abraham: Lincoln and American Jewry, A Documentary History
Tuesday, May 31, 7:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Gary P. Zola
At the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater
Constitution Avenue & 7th Street, NW, Special Events Entrance
Washington, D.C. — Directions

Free general admission — register online via the National Archives Foundation
Premium reserved seats for $10/person. Limited availability.  Online | | 202-789-0900
Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland March Meeting
Sunday, May 22, 1:30pm, Hadassah meeting room (3723 Old Court Road, Dumbarton Offices Entrance)
Speaker: Jim Bartlett, “Steps to Success with atDNA and Triangulation
The program is free for paid members and $5 for non-members. Refreshments will be available. Go to for more information.

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!

The Sanctity of Others will be on display in the JMM lobby through May 19.

Hours and Tour Times
magnifying-glass-detective-9875_0dc4603c0e0b7dfe4515c58822eb8ccaCombination 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.  Our new specialty tour, “Book, Bell and Candle Mystery” is offered on Sundays 3:00pm.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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