Posted on July 11th, 2014 by Rachel
We’re Gonna Be A Star!
Lights, camera, action!
Some of you may remember back in December when we introduced our new collateral material (Performance Counts: December 2013), the beautiful folder and brochure designed by Gallagher & Associates. What you may not remember is that this project, generously made possible by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, has a second part! We at the Museum have been hard at work developing a video calling card – that is, we’re putting together a short film (about 6 minutes long) that will serve as an introduction to the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
Why a video? As you know, the Museum has been expanding its development efforts, particularly in the corporate sphere. We feel that a video is the perfect way to capture the attention and hearts of those we hope will support the Museum and its mission. DVDs containing the video can be included with our brochures and folders whenever we put out a grant proposal. Digital copies of the video will be accessible on our website for those seeking to find out more about the Museum. Shorter clips can be shared with media outlets and on our own social media. This video will serve a variety of purposes and give us another tool to engage others with the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
Living History actress Karen Lyons
Something you might not know: making a video is hard work! We’ve been working with the fantastic team from Blue Land Media and an extraordinary group of volunteers to gather and film the content we need. For our short, 6 minute video we started with over 12 hours of interview footage! This doesn’t include all the “b-roll” that the team shot. (B-roll is all the shots of buildings, landscapes, close ups of objects and exhibits, etc. Basically, all the material that isn’t a shot of someone talking.) We needed to complete all of our filming over two days. This meant a lot of coordination of schedules (we filmed 13 separate interviews, a school visit and multiple synagogue tours), a lot of equipment moving all around the Museum (we filmed in 4 different locations) and a lot of enthusiasm from everyone involved.
And we can’t thank our volunteer interviewees enough. We gathered board members, staff, teachers, museum volunteers and members of our community to tell the story of JMM. Let me tell you: they were wonderful! We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people – their love for the Museum and our neighborhood came shining through.
Past President Barbara Katz
Now we’re in the editing phase – that means watching all the footage, identifying the best pieces and trying to reduce that 12+ hours of video by over 120%! We’re very excited by what we’re seeing and we can’t wait to share the finished product with you.
This month’s Performance Counts was written by Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click HERE.
Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Rachel
15 Years By the Numbers
For this week’s newsletter, I asked Jobi Zink to try to summarize her history with JMM. In the spirit of this “Performance Counts”, Jobi has elected to tell her own story “by the numbers”. On behalf of all our Board members, staff, interns and volunteers, we wish Jobi every success and to let her know that she will be #1 with us forever.
As many of you know, I am leaving the Jewish Museum of Maryland in July. I will be moving to Philadelphia to take the position of Registrar at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. I am sad to say goodbye to my friends and favorite objects, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career.
Since making my announcement, I have heard from staff, board, volunteers, and colleagues outside of the JMM about the impact I’ve made on the museum. I thought I would reflect on what I consider to be some of my major accomplishments over my tenure.
Number of Accessions: The first batch recorded in the accession notebook in my handwriting is 1999.037; since then 3,037 new donations have been made to the museum. Of course, over the 60 quarterly meetings that I’ve attended, the Collections Committee hasn’t accepted every single batch—they’ve done a diligent job sticking to materials that truly meet the JMM mission.
Number of Objects in the Collection: 10,954. Ironically, 10,000 was the number of objects believed to be in the JMM collections when I started. I am not sure what this early estimate is based on, and whether it included photographs or archival documents. When I organized the first collections inventory in 2000 (really more of a collections count), we discovered that we really had closer to 5,000 3-D artifacts.
Inventories Conducted: 5. Since that initial collections count in 2000, I have overseen 4 additional collections inventories that have each included portions of the archival and photograph collections. I also spoke about our triennial inventory project and procedures for the panel Inventory: Intimidating! Important! But NOT Impossible! at the 2012 MAAM Annual Conference.
Number of Hats Worn: I’ve never actually worn any of the hats in the JMM collection. On the other hand, I’ve worn a decided number of professional hats. I’ve had four official job titles during my tenure at JMM: Curatorial Assistant; Registrar & Curatorial Assistant; Senior Collections Manager; Acting Building Manager. I’m personally a bit partial to the five unofficial job titles held at the JMM: Queen of Traveling Exhibitions (Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator); Intern Wrangler (Internship Coordinator); Emergency Management Coordinator; Building Manager; Entertainment Committee Co-Chair. These unofficial titles reflect both the fun and serious sides of the JMM and also truly prove that the JMM is a dynamic place where no two days are ever the same.
Kind of hard to believe that its pure coincidence that I wore pink on the day of the earthquake in August 2012… and it matched my hard-hat perfectly.
Number of Archivists: 6. Ginny, Abby, Robin, Erin, Jon & Jennifer. 6 Collections Assistants –David, Karen H., Deborah, Olivia, Renee, Danyelle, and Chris—(though I suspect I have accidentally forgotten someone!) have also come and gone from that “back cubicle.” All of them have made my registration work and collections management that much easier to control! I thank you all!
Many people, one title
Number of Skits for Outgoing Employees: 9 (Leah, Erin, Lauren, Melissa, Avi’s retirement plus his surprise 65th birthday party that he nearly missed; Simone x 2, Anita). While a registrar loves to live by the rules, sometimes we just need to be silly. As the Co-Chair of the Entertainment Committee, I probably put in 10 hours of seriously fun work for each production. And let us be clear, some of these skits were full-blown productions.
Check out that set piece!
Number Pencils Retired: 229. Registrar’s love their pencils! What started as an experiment in June 2006 to see if I could use one pencil from start to finish without losing it has become a slight obsession. Number of pencils on my registration spreadsheet: 444. Most pencils retired in one month: 9. Maximum length for retired pencils: 2” from point to the metal cuff. Number of admitted pencil enthusiasts inducted into the club: 2.
That’s nearly 2 FULL jars of retired stubs!
Number of JT Photos 329 different photographs have been featured in the “Once Upon a Time” and “Snapshots” columns of the Jewish Times. And to date, 213 (64.7%) of these photos have been at least partially identified! This project is nearly as satisfying as retiring a pencil!
Once Upon a Time…
Number of Exhibitions. I’ve worked on 27 different full-gallery exhibitions—whether it was researching, curating, overseeing the installation, or coordinating the rentals. And in a close second place, I’ve worked with 26 different lobby exhibits either at the JMM or at an offsite location. Some of these exhibits highlighted select objects from our collections in conjunction with a program while others involved considerable skills in constructing an allegedly simple structure and hanging numerous art pieces. I’ve also travelled our various exhibitions to 50 venues across the state and as far away as the Spertus Museum in Chicago. The most memorable installation by far was installing We Call This Place Home in St. Mary’s County and discovering that the U-Haul we rented not only didn’t have working breaks but had been reported as stolen!
Number of Objects in a Single Exhibition. 1124. I didn’t even have to look that stat up, I still remember installing them all in Tchotchkes! Treasures of the Family Museum.
Oh how young and innocent I appear.
Boyfriends. 143. Although I got married in 2003, I had 143 “dates” between 2007-2008. Most of these were actually meetings with World War II veterans or their family members to gather photographs in conjunction with Ours to Fight For and lasted approximately 15 minutes, though a few did involve a corned beef sandwich at Attman’s.
Mervin Fribush and Jacob Matz are two of my WWII veteran boyfriends.
Interns. Since starting the official internship program in 2006, we’ve offered 106 internships and I’ve personally supervised 28 collections management interns. That’s an awful lot of wrangling! Not only have I helped train the next generation of museum professionals, but I’ve coordinated field trips, workshops, and activities to introduce the interns to the varied world of museums.
Just last week I received the highest compliment from a colleague in the field who said, “I know that when an intern has the Jewish Museum of Maryland on their resume that they will come in knowing how to handle objects, use the database, and be ready for whatever task comes their way.”
Magic Number. 15. Number of years I have been at the JMM. Also, an address I will always remember.
 I have definitely missed a few quarterly meetings over the years, (I can’t believe I missed the meeting when Gina H. announced that she was pregnant with twins!) but my attendance record is pretty good.
March 2014. Apparently I found a bunch of previously used pencils and made it my mission to retire as many as possible. Prior to that, six was the most.
 I had planned on writing a blog post “Tips for Traveling Exhibitions: Do not rent a stolen truck!” but ran out of time. Feel free to ask Karen Falk or Darrell Monteagudo for the details.
 Some interns have done more than one internship at the JMM, working on different projects and even in different departments.
To read past issues of Performance Counts, click here.
Posted on June 13th, 2014 by Rachel
When I was a young whippersnapper, I traveled extensively to lands near and far, and I acquired a precious ring on one of these journeys. Several years ago, I donated this ring to the JMM for safekeeping, because it was causing an inordinate amount of strife within my family. I would like to check up on the ring on my next visit the museum, will I be able to see it? I understand that you have topnotch security—which is why I chose your establishment in the first place.
Your Friend from Middle Earth
Dear Middle Earth,
If you want to make sure that you will see your precious ring when you visit us, I would recommend that you make an appointment with our Collections Manager several weeks ahead of time. Many museums, including the JMM, have more things in our collections than we could possibly put on display at any one time. If your donated item is going to be used in an exhibit, we will be sure to let you know. Otherwise, it is probably safely tucked away in an acid-free box in our basement.
I recently retired from my high-energy job, and I am already bored, bored, bored! I just can’t get used to having all that free time and quiet in the house. There are only so many times you can get coffee or lunch with your friends until you’ve run out of things to gossip about. And you know you’ve got it really bad when you’ve rearranged the furniture so many times that you’ve worn out the carpet you only bought 6 months ago. I have lots of energy and I need some way of using it! Do you take volunteers at the JMM? How do I sign up? I don’t have any museum work experience, so do you provide training?
Bored Out of My Mind
Dear Bored Out of My Mind,
We have many, many wonderful volunteers here at the JMM! And we honestly, we don’t know what we would do without them. If you are interested in volunteering with us, the first step is to call or email our amazing Volunteer Coordinator, Ilene Cohen, at (410) 732-6400 x217 or email@example.com.
Ilene will tell you about the various volunteer opportunities that we have. These include giving tours (being a docent), helping in the shop, and manning our front desk. All of these are very important positions. Being a relatively small staff with big ambitions for serving our community, we often find ourselves stretched too thin. That’s where our incredible volunteers come in. We depend on you to help us fill in the spaces where we can’t be.
Ilene will also work with you to find what your expertise and interests are, to see how we can best utilize your talents. She will also take the time to tell you everything you need to know for your position and give you the time and space to practice.
Generally, we ask that our volunteers commit to coming in at least twice a month. Typical daily volunteer shifts are from 11am to 4pm, though it can be changed a little to suit the individual volunteer’s schedule. The only exception to this is for the docents, who only come in for 2-3 hours at a time for very specific times of the day.
As a volunteer, you enjoy some perks here at the JMM. In addition to getting a 20% discount at the giftshop, there are a few opportunities during the year when we have special programs and field trips for our volunteers. And of course, you get the inside scoop on everything that’s happening at the Museum!
If you want to hear more about what our volunteers do, you can read our Volunteer Spotlight blogposts here: http://jewishmuseummd.org/?s=Volunteer+Spotlight
I clean house for a family of seven bachelors. They are hard working fellows, but they track in a ridiculous amount of mud around the house—I can barely keep up with them with the mop! I would like to have a full day with them out of the house, so that I can give the house a nice, deep clean. Maybe I’ll even bake them an apple pie for when they return home…
Anyway, I saw an ad for your museum in the newspaper, and I thought this could be the perfect place to send those little men for a day of much needed culture! Do I need to make a booking for them to visit the Museum? How do I do that, and what is the admission fee? If I book a tour for them, what will that tour cover?
Thank you for all your help!
The Fairest Housekeeper of Them All
Dear Fairest Housekeeper,
You’ve already completed the first step to booking a tour at the Museum—talking to me! I arrange all group visits to the museum—including school groups, synagogue groups, social groups, you name it! That being said, our definition of a “group” that is eligible for the group rate discount is ten people, so if your seven bachelors have three friends they’d like to bring with them, and they (or you) schedule their visit in advance with me, then they can pay only $5 per person. If not, then they will have to pay the normal individual admission rate, which you can find here: http://jewishmuseummd.org/visiting/admissions-fees/.
Since group visits are scheduled in advance, we can arrange for tours of almost anything you want—within reason, of course! Most likely, we won’t be able to give you a tour of the collections unless you call our Collections Manager well in advance of your visit and talk it through with her. We always give tours of the Lloyd Street and B’nai Israel synagogues five times a day (for the full schedule, read here: http://jewishmuseummd.org/visiting/#MuseumHours) For scheduled group visits, however, we offer the additional possibility of having a docent lead your group through our special exhibitions.
I hope this answers all of your questions, and if it doesn’t, please call or email me—I would be happy to talk it over with you.
My family is planning our vacation to Baltimore for late July this year (I know, it seems like the worst time to come to Baltimore, but don’t you worry, we’re from Texas, so Baltimore will feel positively cool to us!). It’s common knowledge that no visit to Baltimore is complete without stopping by the JMM, so you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be there! I see that the Project Mah Jongg exhibit will be closed by then, and that The A-Maze-ing Mendes Cohen won’t open until September, so what will we be able to see in July? Will there be something family-friendly for all ages? We’ve got a wide range of ages in my family—both actual and mental!
Thank you for your help!
Your Fans from the Lone Star State
Dear Lone Star State,
Never fear, there is always something exciting happening at the JMM! Not only can visitors always see our two historic synagogues and our permanent exhibits, Voices of Lombard Street and The Synagogue Speaks, but we’ve also got something brand new coming this July. Last year, we noticed that we were going to have several “dark” weeks between the close of Mah Jongg and the opening of Mendes, so we’ve decided to try something we’ve never done before, and we’re calling it The Electrified Pickle!
For five weeks, starting on July 13th, the Feldman Gallery (where our temporary exhibitions usually are) is turning into a Makers’ space, where people of all ages can explore innovation through the ages with a mix of displays of old fashioned technology and hands-on workshops. Each Sunday during this time will have a different theme. The first one will be “Power This!,” with a focus on electricity and girl power. The following Sundays will be “Print This!”; “Fly This!”; “Imagine This!” and “Code This!.” There will also be a community art project component to which all of our visitors will be able to contribute.
As we get closer to the date, be sure to check for more information about our programming for The Electrified Pickle on our website, www.jewishmuseummd.org!
We can’t wait to see where this new project will take us, and we definitely want you and your family to be part of the experience!
Best Wishes, Abby
Dear Abby is written by our Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts from Abby, click here.