Warm Fuzzy Notes!

Posted on April 15th, 2015 by

Nothing gives me the “warm fuzzies” more than receiving a package filled with “thank you” notes from students that visit the Jewish Museum of Maryland on school field trips. I love the way children express themselves… they allow the reader to know exactly how they feel… using emotion, honesty and humor.  Please enjoy some of the precious notes from third graders  from The Calverton School in Calvert County and fourth graders from Temple Adas Shalom from Havre de Grace in Harford County.

A Warm Fuzzy!

A Warm Fuzzy!

“Dear Jewish Museum,

Thank you for the amazing tour.  I thought the synagogues were awesome.  Hebrew is an amazing language.  I also loved the scavenger hunt.  Thank you for everything.

Sincerely, Kylie”   – The Calverton School

 

“Dear Jewish Museum,

Thank you for showing me all about immigrants.  I loved the synagogue and scavenger hunt.  When you showed me the church, I lit up!  Thank you Jewish Museum!”

Check out that artwork.

Check out that artwork.

“Dear Jewish Museum,

Thank you for taking us into a synagogue.   Also, thank you for showing us matza.  Thank you for having us wear a yarmulke.  Sincerely, Steven”   – The Calverton School

 

“Dear Jewish Museum,

Thank you for letting my school come to your interesting museum.  I liked the scavenger hunt.  I also liked when Ida Rosen came.  Things got super, duper interesting.  Love, Baliee” – The Calverton School

A Whole Passel of  Warm Fuzzies!

A Whole Passel of Warm Fuzzies!

“Dear Jewish Museum,

Thank you for showing us the synagogues.  Thank you for showing us the actor Ida Rosen.  That was a great act.  Thank you for letting us have a scavenger hunt in the museum.  It was fun experiencing more about immigrants.

Love, Damani” – The Calverton School

 

“Thank You So Much!  Thank you so much for showing us around the two synagogues.  They were really cool and interesting and pretty!  That was the best field trip ever!

From, Eliana J.“  – Temple Adas Shalom

 

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creativity in Museums: A Rewarding Workshop

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by

On March 10, 2015, two museum educators and a visitor services coordinator ventured to Edgewater, Maryland for a workshop called “Creativity in Museums.”  This rewarding and inspiring workshop was hosted at the Historic Londontown and Gardens. Linda Norris presented this workshop based on her new book, Creativity in Museum Practice.  We discussed the importance of looking outside your work for inspiration either in a physical setting, the media, or professionals from different museums.  To get the creative juices flowing we did a brainstorming activity.  We started with a problem and wrote down a solution on a piece of paper.  Then the paper was passed to the person next to you.  This activity allowed for all voices to be heard, but also challenging because it made you think outside the box.

 Tenement House

Tenement House

Failure is inevitable in life and often occurs in the workplace.  This can be damaging to our psyche and our creative process, but is necessary.  In a small group we discussed an instance in our careers where we had failed and had to choose the best story.  Linda called this activity “Failure Olympics.”  The importance of failure is how we overcome and learn from it.  We cannot assume what our audience will like or feel about a program or an exhibition, but gathering and testing out ideas will hopefully allow us to create something interesting and meaningful.

Participants of the Failure Olympics.

Participants of the Failure Olympics.

Historic London Town and Gardens was the next subject of an activity called SCAMPER.  Each letter represented a word such as Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate and Rearrange or Reverse.  We explored the campus answering various questions for each word at different locations.  It was not the best activity for March as the ground was wet and soggy from the snow and rain, but it was not an overall failure.  SCAMPER helped us to re-imagine and re-purpose the space being used while learning about this history of this organization.  “Creativity in Museums” permitted us to bring fresh and creative ideas back to the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  We hope to apply these practices to future exhibitions and programs.

 William Brown House

William Brown House

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A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way……

Posted on March 11th, 2015 by

Okay, I am the first one to tell you that the winter weather has put a damper on the daily happenings at the JMM.  Over the past few weeks, field trips, outreach programs and professional development workshops for teachers were all cancelled due to school closings, icy conditions and frigid temperatures.  However, there was a “ray of sunshine” that happened last week that will keep us warm until spring comes in a few weeks.

A little ray of sunshine...

A little ray of sunshine…

Last Tuesday morning at 9:30a.m., I received a phone call from the President of Mercy High School, a Catholic school located in Baltimore City.  The faculty and 11th graders were planning a field trip that morning to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC but decided against it due to the weather forecast. They were wondering if they could bring 84 students along with the teachers and chaperones to the Jewish Museum of Maryland instead.

Museum Educator Carolyn Bevans works with students.

Museum Educator Carolyn Bevans works with students.

My first reaction-OMG!  My second reaction – I went into command mode.  I asked the teachers what the students were learning about with regard to Holocaust studies.  I spoke to the JMM’s education staff and volunteers about the possibility of hosting such a large group and the logistics behind hosting the group.  We were all in agreement to “go for it” and within the hour we welcomed Mercy  High School to the JMM!

Lives Lost: Lives Found- Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945 photo activity.

Lives Lost: Lives Found- Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945 photo activity.

We divided the group into two sections. One group visited the Lloyd Street Synagogue and learned about the history of the building and the different immigrant groups that used the building, which was used as a Catholic Church at the beginning of the 20th century.  The students also learned about Jewish rituals and customs that take place inside the synagogue.  The other group stayed inside the Museum and watched a short movie about the JMM’s exhibition, Lives Lost: Lives Found- Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945. Following the movie, the students looked at images that were depicted in the exhibition and used critical thinking skills to find meaning in the posters.  After an hour, the groups flip-flopped so that everyone had an opportunity to participate in both activities.

Visiting the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Visiting the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

The education staff was pleased with the decision to host the group, especially in this instance when the bad weather was to our advantage.  With all school groups, we give the teacher an evaluation form to fill out about the education experience.   I received the evaluation form back from the teachers but I also received this lovely email… along with lovely posies……  A little kindness  really does go a long way….

IMG_20150307_120933901Dear Ilene,

Many thanks for the warm welcome you extended to our 84 Mercy High School juniors, faculty and parents today!  I am deeply grateful to you and your staff and volunteers for offering a wonderfully enriching experience to our students with less than an hour’s notice!  I learned today that most, if not all, of the students visiting the museum had never been inside a synagogue.  What a gift you gave to them!

I hope that this is the beginning of a new partnership for Mercy High School with the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  In the meantime, if we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to call upon us.

Best regards,

Mary Beth Lemmon ‘85

President, Mercy High School

 

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

 

 

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