Museum Matters: August 2014

Posted on August 8th, 2014 by

How to Avoid Regret

Next week you will receive our JMM Insights newsletter.  It will contain photos of the great activities, artifacts and speakers we had during the five weeks of Electrified Pickle.  Some of you will look at the newsletter and think, “gee, I really wanted to see that.”

Well, here’s my tip:  it’s not too late.  We have one more week of the Electrified Pickle, and we are going out with a double-header.  Come by this Sunday and enjoy “Code This!”, and, as Hercule Poirot would say, “exercise those little grey cells” – ciphering, deciphering and bar coding.  We will have an enigma machine on site and an expert on WWII codes, Dr. David Hatch, who will speak at 3pm on “Kosher Cryptology”.  On next Wednesday night we torture our pickles one last time for your education and enjoyment – electrifying them, freezing them and who knows what else.  It’s mad science night at JMM.

Don’t wake up next Friday with post-Pickle remorse.   Be a part of this one-of-a-kind tech fair.

And for even less regret – mark Sept 14 on your calendar now.  You have the chance to be among the first to “lose yourself” in the Mendes Cohen maze and discover a whole new world of 19th century Maryland.

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 Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / tattwood@jewishmuseummd.org. For more information on JMM events please visit www.jewishmuseummd.org.

Code This!
Sunday, August 10, 11:00am – 3:00pm

Explore the secret world of coding and decoding past and present.  Learn about encryption, decryption, bar codes and ciphers. We will be welcoming Barcoding Inc. who will reveal the secrets of barcoding and teaching us how this common but mysterious code works. Then create your own secret code and deliver messages with invisible ink.

We also welcome the National Cryptologic Museum and Dr. David Hatch who will demonstrate the uses of the Enigma Machine used in the twentieth century for enciphering and deciphering messages.

Eavesdropping On Hell
Sunday, August 10, 3:00pm
Speaker Dr. David Hatch

From Navajo Windtalkers to the women of Bletchley Circle, the mysterious world of codes, ciphers and those who make and break them has proven fertile ground for the imagination, inspiring authors, filmmakers, and television producers to tell their stories. This Sunday join us at the Jewish Museum of Maryland as Dr. David Hatch shares some of the true stories about the minds behind America’s efforts in cryptology surrounding World War II.

 

Late Night on Lloyd Street: After Hours Mad Pickle Science!
Wednesday, August 13th, 6pm -9pm

If you still haven’t visited the Electrified Pickle this is the perfect opportunity! Come and visit the museum after hours, explore the experiments in the exhibit and play with some of our favorite experiments from our Sunday programs. This of course includes electrifying Pickles! We will also be welcoming Mad Science, with their show Bubbling Potions, essentially lots of dry ice plus freezing pickles.

As with all late nights we will have plenty of food and drink available. Please be aware this event has a maximum number of places available so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Book Talk: The Jewish Daughter Diaries
Sunday, August 24th, 1:00pm
Author Rachel Ament

The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much By Our Moms is a hilarious, and heartfelt essay collection about Jewish mothers, featuring essays by prominent writers and entertainers including The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. Whether the essay features a mom impersonating her daughter on Jdate, a mom who makes half her daughter’s bed while her daughter is still sleeping in the other half, or a mom who takes her camp‐hating daughter on a visit to a “summer camp consultant,” the book is sure to strike a familiar chord in anyone who has been loved too much by their moms.

SAVE THE DATE

Members Opening: The Making of The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen
Sunday, September 14, 5:00pm

MC_Exhibit Assets_v2Just for members of the Jewish Museum of Maryland and members of our partner The Maryland Historical Society we have a special insider’s evening at the maze.  This will be a chance to not only meet our living history character and explore the exhibit, but also to here from the creative voices who turned a little-known 19th century soldier, businessman and adventurer into a physical experience.  Our panel of experts will delve into the decisions that drove the development of the maze and character – and reveal some of the stories and anecdotes that had to be sent to the “cutting room floor.”  It’s a chance to go behind the scenes of the exhibit process for people who love museums.

 
MENDES COHEN WAS THERE:

At Ft. McHenry when the bombs were bursting in air; at the Supreme Court when states rights were at stake; in Paris when the people prepared the barricades; at the Vatican for the installation of a new pope; down the Nile to collect artifacts; in Jerusalem as the first American tourist; in Annapolis when arguments raged over fugitive slaves; on the board of the nation’s first railroad.

But who was Mendes Cohen?

A soldier, a banker, an adventurer, a politician, a philanthropist… a member of the elite, a member of a persecuted minority… a son of England, a son of Germany, an American patriot, a proud Jew?

Come meet the most interesting person you have never heard of! The Jewish Museum of Maryland and The Maryland Historical Society invite you on a journey to put together the puzzle of one man’s identity and in the process discover something about identities we share.  It’s a journey full of twists and turns and missing clues.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland is offering a very different perspective of the Battle of Baltimore and its aftermath.  A new exhibit opening September 14 follows the life of one of the most interesting characters in the fort, artilleryman Mendes I. Cohen.  The museum has turned the many twists and turns of this real life adventurer into a maze.  Visitors follow Cohen from his rescue of the gunpowder during the battle, to his life in the family lottery business (did you know that the Washington Monument was built with funds from lottery sales?), to the struggle to give Jews the right to hold office, to his visit with the Pope, to his journey down the Nile and his status as the first American tourist in Palestine.  That’s just the first half of his life!

The exhibit connects Cohen’s journey to what was happening to Jews across America, Europe and the Middle East in the early 19th century.  It explores how Cohen, as one individual, created a personal identity and it allows visitors to reflect on how they are forming their own identities.  Younger visitors will enjoy a series of hands-on experiences, but older visitors will also appreciate some of the new discoveries they will make about the 19th century and authentic artifacts and letters from the Cohen family that are embedded in the maze.

The maze exhibit will be open through June 14, 2015. 

Citizen Stand: Battle for Baltimore 1814
Sunday, September 21st, 1pm
Performed by Baltimore School for the Arts

Help us welcome BSA to the JMM for a performance of their latest student production, Citizen Stand: Battle for Baltimore 1814. Students have worked with Maryland Historical Society and National Park Service to develop three short plays about the battle that led to the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.  The plays explore different experiences for Baltimoreans in the lead up to war. One play is especially important to us as there is a character not dissimilar from Mendes Cohen. September 14 to June 14 2015 – The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen
 
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.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of MD will hold its next program in the Pikesville Library’s meeting room on Sunday, August 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available. Throughout the past year, we’ve featured entertaining and informative presentations by speakers, but now it’s time for our group members to take a turn. Please join us at the meeting and bring something to share! For more information contact contact Susan Steeble at ssteeble@gmail.com

Exhibits
Exhibits currently on display include The Electrified Pickle through August 15, Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks!

Hours and Tour Times
The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00.

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
After you visit The Electrified Pickle, keep the experiments going! Check out our new additions in the shop.

On the Blog:

Here’s some great posts you might have missed on the JMM blog!
Top 3 Things – Summer Intern Arielle shares her favorite JMM experiences. 
Volunteer Spotlight – this month we profile volunteer Robyn Hughes!
The War to End War” Marvin Pinkert on the anniversary of World War I.

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Performance Counts: July 2014

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by

We’re Gonna Be A Star!

Lights, camera, action!

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

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

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.

Rachel KThis month’s Performance Counts was written by Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click HERE.

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Performance Counts: June 2014

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by

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.

 

JobiAs 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[1], 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.

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

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!

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.[2] Number of pencils on my registration spreadsheet: 444. Most pencils retired in one month: 9[3]. 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!

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...

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![4]

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.

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.

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[5]  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.

Interns!

Interns!

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.

 



[1] 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.

[2] For the truly pencil obsessed please check out http://www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com

[3]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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

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