JMM Insights: Professional Development for Educators

Posted on January 20th, 2017 by

Professional development is always on the minds of the JMM museum professionals, and 2017 is starting off with lots of opportunities for our staff to grow.  Professional development refers to all types of educational experiences relating to an individual’s work. As museum professionals, we often go to conferences and attending meetings that provide us with additional   perspectives and insights in our work.  Visiting other museums is a great way for museum professionals to learn from one another and from other institutions.

Last Friday, the JMM took a field trip to DC to the National Gallery of Art.  Many of us experienced our first Museum Hack. Museum Hack tours are high-energy, personalized and interactive tours that were developed in NYC with the goal to reinvent the traditional museum tour.  Our staff went on a guided hack tour, led by Hannah, our bubbly and vibrant docent, and we experienced the galleries in an entirely new way. We heard incredible, scandalous stories behind the works of art, many of the pieces of art very familiar to us. We interacted with the art and with each other through photo challenges, kinesthetic activities, and conversations. We discussed Andrew Mellon and Leonardo de Vinci and delved deeper to Impressionism and sculpture.  Check out the JMM blog for more on our fantastic experience.

JMM at the National Gallery

JMM at the National Gallery

Every professional’s career can benefit from continuing education that helps him or her stay sharp and develop new skills in their field of expertise.  Professional development is an important way for teachers to refresh and deepen their knowledge of their own subjects and learn new ways to help students learn. Teachers need to be able to prepare their students to succeed in a changing world — they need to be able to teach students how to use emerging technologies, how to navigate evolving workplaces, how to communicate effectively, and how to think critically and solve problems. The more professional development teachers get, the more likely students are to succeed.

Over the past 11 years, the JMM has been providing area teachers with professional development opportunities that enable teachers to keep their skill sets fresh and learn new skills. The JMM promotes the responsible teaching of the Holocaust through a variety of resources and programs to help our educators increase their knowledge of Holocaust history and implement sound teaching strategies. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute provides teachers with quality Holocaust education, incorporating accurate history, appropriate pedagogy, classroom strategies, and teaching resources.

Summer Teachers Institute 2016

Summer Teachers Institute 2016

Over the next four weeks, the JMM will be offering two exceptional professional development opportunities for educators in the area of Holocaust education. Both workshops will take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland and will provide teachers with the tools and resources to teach about the Holocaust in their classrooms and schools.

On January 27th, we are partnering with Echoes & Reflections, a multimedia program that provides US educators with both print and online resources from three world leaders in education: the Anti-Defamation League, USC Shoah Foundation, and Yad Vashem.  The Echoes and Reflections curriculum promotes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the Holocaust. It addresses academic standards, and uses informational texts along with primary source documents to inform learning.  The curriculum also incorporates visual history testimony in its lessons to engage students in the lives of survivors, rescuers, liberators, and other witnesses of the Holocaust.

The focus of this professional development will be on the materials and instructional strategies to effectively teach Elie Wiesel’s acclaimed NIGHT, a memoir about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and provide additional background that teachers can integrate into their instruction.  Teachers will be given the tools and resources to help their students examine the complex social challenges that they face every day and evaluate the issues of fairness and justice. More information on this program can be found here at our website.

Part Two of our professional development series will take place over Presidents’ Weekend, February 18-20.  The JMM is thrilled to be partnering with CENTROPA and Baltimore City Public Schools for its annual Winter Seminar: History, Holocaust, and Human Rights in the Global Classroom.

CENTROPA is a non-profit historical institute based in Vienna that uses new technology and digital storytelling to connect 21st century students to 20th century Jewish history – and with each other. Since 2000, CENTROPA has interviewed 1,200 elderly Jews in 15 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, and collected and scanned their family photos and placed on a database that is easily accessible to educators and the students in their classrooms.  Many of the most compelling biographies were turned into short multi-media films that are being used in 600 schools in 20 countries.

Teachers participating in the three day seminar (February 18-20) will learn how to use CENTROPAS resources (all available for free) to teach 20th-century European history, the Holocaust, civics, human rights, character education in  Social Studies and history, ELA and literature, foreign language, film, technology, and art classes. Details about the program can be viewed here at our website. More information about costs can be found on the application, located here.

Please share these professional development opportunities with someone you know who might enjoy learning more about these great resources that encourage learning and creativity for our 21st-century students in area schools. These workshops are geared for all teachers in private, public and parochial schools and are great for anyone interested in learning more about these topics.

ileneFor more information, please contact me, Ilene Dackman-Alon, Director of Education 443-873-5178 or

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

The Last Drop of Chicken Soup

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by

Performance Counts: January 2017

The time has come. On Tuesday, January 17, the doors to the Feldman gallery will remain closed, even when the Museum opens at 10 AM, so that our ambitious exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews & Medicine in America, can make way for the next occupant of the 2000 square foot space. It will also need to be made ready for its next venue, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Lest you think this is merely a matter of packing a box or two and heading to Cleveland, we thought we’d review some of the numbers of where Beyond Chicken Soup has been and what it takes to get it to the next step.

The exhibition consists of 229 artifacts, of which, 82 are on loan from other institutions or individuals. The artifacts from the JMM collection will be lovingly returned to their homes in our collections, until it is time for them to be meticulously packed for travel. Some of the materials on loan will be returned to their owners only to be re-borrowed. A conservator from the National Library of Israel will be traveling 6000 miles to oversee the removal of 8 volumes on loan from NLI. She will hand-carry her precious cargo, originally collected by Dr. Harry Friedenwald, the 6000 miles back to Israel. These volumes, while an important and impressive part of the exhibition, are too fragile to go on tour.  Instead, we have hired an expert book binder to spend approximately 70 hours creating facsimiles of each of them. The facsimile copies will be created precisely to mimic the original volumes, down to the way they sit in their cradles.

To be facsimiled!

To be facsimiled!

Beyond Chicken Soup boasts 25 cases, 122 panels and 131 captions that will all need to be crated or palletized for storage and eventually to travel the 364 miles to the Maltz Museum of Jewish History. There are 10 screens (5 TVs, 3 touchscreen monitors and 2 iPad tablets), 8 hands-on activities, and 3 audio loops from oral histories. The technology will require its own special treatment as it makes ready for its new home. There is precisely one “slice” of a real ambulance with working lights that will need to be removed from the wall and prepped for shipping. Additionally, there are 26 images or quotes that are applied directly to the wall. These will need to be re-printed for each new venue at which the exhibition appears.

Just one of the many environments to be de-installed, packed, and shipped!

Just one of the many environments to be de-installed, packed, and shipped!

We anticipate that the deinstallation will take somewhere in the vicinity of 200 to 250 man-hours to complete. That will involve everything from the meticulous, white-gloved work of removing artifacts from their mounts to the dirty and dusty job of sledgehammering the walls that were created expressly for the exhibition. It will also involve a lot of cleaning, patching and painting to make the gallery ready for our next exhibition, Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity.

Once the dust has settled and the artifacts, furniture, technology, and informational panels make their 364-mile-journey, if Beyond Chicken Soup’s run here is any indication, the Maltz Museum of Jewish History can anticipate 4,749 total visitors, including 1,401 students and teachers, and 791 adults through scheduled groups. Of course, we had the help of more than 25 public programs we hosted while the exhibition was mounted.

If you haven’t seen this one-of-a-kind exhibition, yet, don’t wait! You have only 2 more days to see it here in Baltimore (this Sunday and Monday).

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: December Bride (and Groom) Edition

Posted on December 16th, 2016 by


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

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:

Marrying Maryland


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

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 1998.47.4.59

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 1998.47.4.59

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.

…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!

~Marvin Pinkert

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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