Performance Counts: February 2015

Posted on February 13th, 2015 by

abby krolikThis month’s Performance Counts comes from Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik!

Today is Maryland’s “Tourism Day”—an event organized by the tourism industry to make the case to our state legislators that recreational and cultural attractions have an important impact on the economy and quality of life in Maryland.  In keeping with the spirit of the day, we decided to take a look at who comes to the JMM and where they come from.

This is a more complicated question than you might think; there are countless ways to categorize our guests.  We usually divide our on-site visitors into four main categories:  general visitors, school groups (including summer camps), public program participants, and adult groups (e.g. mah jongg clubs or sisterhood visits that book in advance).  School groups are traditionally the largest segment of our visitors, but in the last two years general visitors have been catching up and program visitors are not far behind.

John Ruarah Middle School students explore The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit.

John Ruarah Middle School students explore The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit.

School groups come to us in a handful of main categories—public/private/parochial/homeschool; Jewish/non-Jewish; and Day School/Hebrew School. Within these groups, our single largest draw is from Baltimore City public schools, but this year we’ve had increasing success in attracting the local Jewish schools (both Day Schools and Hebrew Schools). We’ve also expanded our educational outreach in Baltimore County, and we are making efforts to recruit more parochial schools.  We have even received a grant from the Delaplaine Foundation to extend programming, outreach and onsite visits to Frederick County schools.  Our programs are aligned with the Common Core standards, which helps to attract the interest of teachers and principals. While we work with students at all grade levels—from Pre-K to even college level—the average group that visits us is in middle school, particularly 7th grade (when all the city schools teach “The Diary of Anne Frank”).

City Springs Elementary School students in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

City Springs Elementary School students in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

General visitors can be subdivided in several ways as well.  The most obvious is, of course, geography.  We don’t have data on 100% of our visitors’ points of origins (not everyone chooses to leave us a zip code), but we have enough data to give us a pretty good sample.  It is true that a lot of our visitors come from Northwest Baltimore and the immediate suburbs, but there is also a significant segment from downtown Baltimore as well as Columbia, Md.  We can tell when we’ve received coverage in the Washington Post Weekend section because we can see the boost in visits from Montgomery County, DC and Northern Virginia.

Baltimore

Baltimore

Many of our visitors come from a much farther distance. I love telling people that we get visitors from pretty much everywhere in the world!  Just over the last year we’ve hosted guests from such far-flung and exotic states as Alaska and Oklahoma, as well as visitors from at least one country per continent (not counting Antarctica), including—but certainly not limited to—El Salvador, Argentina, Italy, Rwanda, Japan, and Kyrgyzstan!

The World

The World

For our public program attendance numbers, we are careful to not double count program participants as general visitors. For example, our raw number for general attendance last December was 517, but to get the right number for “on-site attendance,” we subtracted the number of participants in our programs that took place during our normal open hours, which left us with 222 as the general attendance.  Our #1 best attended program in 2014 was the Joanie Leeds Chanukah concert—we counted more than 175 guests (though a few of them were in strollers)! Program attendance is probably the category with the greatest variability. Not only is it affected by the attraction of the topic or speaker, but also by the weather and the Ravens’ game schedule.  There’s just no competing with football in Ravens’ Nation!

Some spirited dancing at our Joanie Leeds Chanukah Concert!

Some spirited dancing at our Joanie Leeds Chanukah Concert!

In addition to our on-site data, we also try to track off-site contacts : how many students we reach in the schools, or how many people who come to see Mendes Cohen at an event or who come up to our booth at a festival.  Still, our focus is on the JMM as a destination, and that is the data that we are monitoring most closely.  It helps us make sure we spend our limited resources wisely, and it tells us something about the success of our initiatives.

 

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Museum Matters February 2015

Posted on February 6th, 2015 by

Language, Business, Politics, Community

Our Mendes Cohen-inspired programs in the next four weeks take us in many exciting directions.   Mendes, the Sephardi Jew, led us to the door of an expert on the Ladino language.  Mendes, the businessman, gave us an idea for a program on the business climate of antebellum Baltimore.  Mendes, the state delegate, put us on the trail of early Jewish entry into running for office.  And we even think that Mendes, the community leader, would be pleased to know that an important new technology from his lifetime (photography) was now a bridge between cultures (see the March 1 program and exhibit below).  Visit JMM this month and find your own moment of Mendes’ inspiration.

 

Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Carolyn Bevans*: (410) 732-6400 x215 / cbevans@jewishmuseummd.org. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org. *Carolyn is filling in for new mom Trillion Attwood from January through March.

 

February

Epoca_1902_IssueLadino, a language of the Jewish Diaspora

Speaker Dr. Adriana Brodsky, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Sunday, February 8, 1:00 pm

Program included with Museum admission

 

Explore Ladino, a Jewish language that developed in the wake of the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 as new Jewish communities settled in the Ottoman Empire. Professor Brodsky will introduce the history of this language, and present examples of the Ladino in early 20th Century America, as well as old and modern ladino songs.  Although many argue that Ladino is ‘dead,’ especially after the extermination of entire ladino-speaking Sephardi communities during the Holocaust, Brodsky argues that, in fact, this Jewish language is alive and well.

Adriana M. Brodsky, Associate Professor of Latin American History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and has published on Sephardi schools in Argentina, and on Jewish Beauty Contests.

 

Audience Research Image - please use captionHelp Make a Museum: Audience Workshop for the Core Exhibition of DC’s New Jewish Museum

Sunday, February 8, 2:00 pm

Facilitator: Zachary Paul Levine, Curator, Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

Program included with museum admission

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) has asked for our help as our neighbors in DC make plans for their new facility (projected opening 2020). As part of that process, they are coming to Baltimore to collect thoughts on stories for the new museum’s core exhibition.  This workshop will include a series of activities designed to get participants thinking, talking, and sharing their counsel for this new project.  Participants will look at a handful of objects and stories, and discuss how, together, they tell the unique story of Washington DC’s Jewish community.  Of course, we will be listening too – as we think about ideas to improve our own site at JMM.

Image: President Calvin Coolidge spoke during the cornerstone laying ceremony of the 16th and Q Street building on May 3, 1925. JHSGW Collections.

 

1024px-View_of_Baltimore_-_William_H._BartlettClimbing the Ladder of Success in a Nineteenth-Century Boomtown: The Cohen Family in Early Baltimore

Sunday, February 15th, 1:00 P.M.

Speaker: Tina Sheller, Goucher College

When Israel I. Cohen died in Richmond, Virginia in 1803, his wife, Judith, packed up her belongings and moved herself and her children to Baltimore.  Why Baltimore?  Early Baltimore was a bustling port town of merchants, shopkeepers, skilled craftsmen, workers, and slaves.  How did these groups contribute to the dynamic expansion of the city’s antebellum economy? Who were the people that populated the growing port town, and how did the Cohens and other Jewish families adapt to life in a city soon to be known as “Mobtown?”  All of these questions and more will be answered as we journey back in time to the era of Boomtown Baltimore.

Tina H. Sheller is an assistant professor of History at Goucher College where she teaches courses in American history and Historic Preservation.

 

Jew Bill imageHow Jews Entered American Politics: The Curious Case of Maryland’s “Jew Bill”

Sunday, February 22nd, 1 p.m.

Rafael Medoff, The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

 

During Maryland’s first decades, a “Christians Only” policy applied to those seeking public office. Dr. Rafael Medoff, a noted scholar of Jewish involvement in American politics, will take a candid look at the Maryland legislature’s debates in the early 1800s over political rights for Jews and other non-Christians –a controversy that sheds fascinating light on the process by which Jews entered the American political arena.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is the author of 15 books about American Jewish history, Zionism, and the Holocaust, including a textbook, Jewish Americans and Political Participation, which was named an “Outstanding Academic Title of 2003” by the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine.

 

March

The Girls’ Photography Project Exhibition Reception

Sunday, March 1, 1:00pm

Program included with museum admission 

In 2014, 15 African American and Orthodox Jewish girls ages 10-14 participated in a series of workshops that enabled them to learn about each other’s perspectives living in their northwest Baltimore City community. They learned to use a camera, take quality photos and most importantly, got to know one another while gaining an understanding of each other’s life experiences. The photos in this exhibit feature their view points and are truly one of a kind. 

The exhibit has been sponsored by CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. in partnership with Wide Angle Media. This project has been generously supported by: David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, The Fund for Change at The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, Nathan & Lillian Weinberg Family Foundation, The Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund, and The Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg Fund.

The exhibit will be on display February 23-March 8, 2015.

 

More Programs

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. www.facebook.com/groups/biyabaltimore

 

Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland February Meeting

The Jews of Eastern Europe in the Age of Mass Migration, 1881-1914

Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Moss, Director of the Jewish Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University

Sunday, February 22, 2015, 1:30 pm

Pikesville Library’s Meeting Room (1301 Reisterstown Road)

Program is free for JGSM members; $5 for non-members

For more information, check out www.jgsmd.org

 

Exhibits

Exhibits currently on display include The A-mazing Mendes Cohen (on display through June 14, 2015), Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, and The Synagogue Speaks!

 

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm.

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.  We will offer tours focused on the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Sunday through Thursday at 3:00pm and on Sunday at 4:00pm.  On November 9 we introduced a new Lloyd Street “1845: Technology and the Temple” tour at 3:00pm. This tour is available every Sunday and Monday at 3:00 until The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen closes in June 2014.

Please note that the JMM is open on President’s Day, Monday, February 16 from 10am-5pm.

 

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or icohen@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Membership

 Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street.

Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchased online! http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/museum-membership/ For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.

 

Gift Shop

Purium comes but once a year…and so once a year we get funky and fun things in our Museum Shop such as this Knock-Out Haman Pen!  His eyes light up every time you punch!

Get a little silly this Purim!

Get a little silly this Purim!

Your hamentashen deserves the best display dish, and we have that too!

The Fast of Esther is March 4 and Purium is March 5…come and celebrate with us at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Membership in the JMM entitles you to a 10% discount in the Museum Shop

For more information, call Esther Weiner, Museum Shop Manager, 410-732-6400, ext. 211 or email at eweiner@jewishmuseummd.org.

Your Museum Shop Purchase directly benefits the aims and programs of the JMM

 

 

 

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JMM Insights: There Were Doctors in the House

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by

On Thursday, January 22, the JMM, in partnership with the Associated, hosted a special event for medical professionals to learn about our upcoming exhibition, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. The goal of the event was to spread the word about this landmark exhibit among medical professionals and also as an opportunity for the exhibition team to gain feedback about the exhibition that can help inform its development.

Drs. Ira Papel and Robert Keehn check out the displays.

Drs. Ira Papel and Robert Keehn check out the displays.

Beyond Chicken Soup explores the interplay of cultural beliefs and medical practice and contributes to the contemporary conversation about health and medicine in America by illuminating the social meanings and values intrinsic to medical interactions. While national in scope, the exhibition focuses on many local stories and highlights the central role that our local community has played in the medical arena. To that end, the exhibition team has been actively seeking stories and artifacts to help flesh out exhibit themes. Having so many medical professionals from across the spectrum – including surgeons, pediatricians, pharmacists, orthopedists, ob/gyns, nurses, and even a mohel! – gave JMM staff the chance to learn about the experiences of a diverse group of local professionals.

Marvin shares details of the upcoming exhibit.

Marvin shares details of the upcoming exhibit.

40 people attended the program and enjoyed having the chance to interact with the exhibit team. Curator, Karen Falk and collections manager, Joanna Church, created a temporary display of several fascinating objects and photographs that will be featured in the exhibit.  These included such iconic items as “Mr. Bones”, a model skeleton created by Leon Schlossberg (courtesy of the Chesney Medical Archives), a medical artist, as a teaching tool at Hopkins; historical pharmaceutical tools from the collection of Adolf Ed Baer, a pharmacist who practiced in western Maryland; a doctor’s bag belonging to Dr. Morris Abramowitz who practiced medicine in East Baltimore in the first half of the 20th century; a silver tea set used by Sinai Hospital nurses; and a diploma from Louis Hamburger, who was among the first graduating class at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in 1897. Staff members positioned at each of the display areas were armed with questions to ask guests about their specific experiences. Attendees were encouraged to provide answers to thought provoking questions such as “Why did you decide to become a doctor?” and “Do you ever pray with your patients?” designed to inspire conversation around topics that will be explored in depth in the exhibit.

Trustee Rikki Specter with some doctor friends!

Trustee Rikki Specter with some doctor friends!

The event was hosted by four JMM board members who are also doctors – board president, Ira Papel; board vice president, Robert Keehn; Sheldon Bearman and Crystal Watkins Johannson. Remarks were presented by Ira Papel who thanked exhibition donors and encouraged attendees to spread the word about the exhibit. JMM executive director, Marvin Pinkert, further elaborated on why Beyond Chicken Soup is such an important project of local, national and even international significance.

Researcher Alicia Puglionesi collects stories from attendees.

Researcher Alicia Puglionesi collects stories from attendees.

Thursday evening provided the JMM with our first opportunity to showcase Beyond Chicken Soup to an important constituency. We were delighted by the enthusiastic response we received by everyone in attendance, including several people who had never visited the JMM previously. We look forward to following up on many of the leads provided that will help enrich the exhibit’s content. Please help us continue to spread the word about this exciting project.

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Have something to share? Call or email Curator Karen Falk! 410-732-6402 x227, kfalk@jewishmuseummd.org

 

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