Hanukkah Clean-Up 2017/2018: The Oven Method

Posted on December 28th, 2017 by

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

I know people overuse the phrase “it changed my life,” especially at this resolution-time of the year, but I can honestly say that when I learned the oven-method of hanukkiah wax removal, it greatly increased my enjoyment of the festival of lights! Before I learned this method, I used to spend hours with a fork or a toothpick or sometimes a chopstick chipping away at wax our menorahs. I would scrape and poke and curse and then start the cycle over again. It was as far from Hanukkah joy as you could get. Now that I use the oven method, even the clean-up of the holiday feels like a blessing.

To share the added joy, I wanted to walk you through it.

First, a glimpse of my house on the final night of Hanukkah:

We light 9 menorahs at the Guy-Decker household each year. Why? Because we can.  On the final night, the heat off of the 81 candles is palpable, and the light is truly joyous.

The wax is a bi-product of the joy. The greater the joy, the higher the wax build-up.

For this demonstration, I’m going to show you the oven-method on this brass menorah that belonged to my husband’s grandfather. Its “before” picture is particularly intimidating with that thick barrier of blue and white wax build up.

To remove this build-up I followed these steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to between 180 and 200 degrees.

2. Break off any wax that will come off easily and discard. Do not work at this: if it doesn’t come off easily, leave it.

3. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Make sure the foil overlaps the edges of the sheet so you don’t end up with waxy cookie sheets.

Place the menorah face down (or as face-down as you can manage—the key is that the candle cups are oriented downward so that liquefied wax will poor out).

4. Place the cookie sheet into the oven for approximately 20 minutes

5. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and carefully (it’s hot!) remove the menorah from the cookie sheet (you might want to have prepared another piece of foil if you’re worried about removing wax from the counters, too). You should be leaving a puddle of wax on the foil on the cookie sheet.

If you’re not, and the wax is still mostly on the menorah, put it all back into the oven for another 5 minutes, or until you have puddling.

6. Carefully (it’s still hot!) wipe the liquid wax from the menorah with a clean rag. (Use a thicker rag so the heat doesn’t bother your hands.)

a. Fold the rag after each wipe so that you’re not just moving wax around.

b. If your menorah has small nooks and crannies, you can use a q-tip or other small tool to wipe out the liquid wax (I used my rag around a kabob skewer to get into the openings in the star points).

c. If you have a very ornate menorah, you might need to put it back into the oven for a few minutes if your detail work in one area allows the wax to cool too much in another area.

7. Discard the foil and the rag.

8. Voila! You’re ready for next Hanukkah.

So, what do you think? Life changing? Ok, so maybe it’s not on par with falling in love or finding your dream home, but I hope that it does make your dream menorah more of a possibility for you. Come down and see us at Esther’s Place. I bet you’ll be looking at our fancy and fanciful hannukiot in a new light now that you know the oven method!

P.S. Even with the oven method, I recommend sticking with white and/or beeswax candles for the really ornate menorahs out there. I would also note that in my experience, cheaper candles make more wax.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Volunteer Spotlight on Carol Buckman!

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 by

Carol Buckman has been a shop volunteer at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for about two years. Her husband, Marty Buckman, who she has been married to for 29 years, is also a volunteer at the JMM (read up on him here). Prior to volunteering with us, Carol worked for 25 years as a Doctor’s assistant and then in the jewelry department at Sacks.  I was amazed to learn that she has held 29 different jobs in Baltimore.

Carolyn Buckman

Carolyn Buckman

Carol decided to volunteer at the JMM because she wanted to reconnect with her heritage as well as help others do the same. She fondly describes growing up when Lombard Street was bustling with activity and remembers when chickens were in crates on the sidewalk. When in the shop, she likes rearranging the merchandise and helping customers pick out a gift.  She enjoys explaining Jewish rituals and holidays to our guests and showing off our newest merchandise, such as our Chanukah menorahs. Carol has also helped us out with some outreach programs, such as representing the JMM this past fall at the Annual Museum Shop Around at Strathmore.

When she is not at the JMM, she keeps busy volunteering at local hospitals making jewelry for patients. She also loves cooking and entertaining as well as sewing. Carol comes from a big family and is very proud of her children and great grand-children. We are very lucky to have Carol in the shop as she always lights up the space with her smile and spirit.

If you know of anyone else who would like to join Carol in the shop (or as a volunteer in any other area of the Museum), please contact Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org.

GrahamPost by Visitor Services Coordinator Graham Humphrey. Every month we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x220! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Performance Counts: Strathmore’ Museum Shop Around

Posted on November 11th, 2016 by

This month’s Performance Counts is by Tracie Guy-Decker, Associate Director of Projects, Planning and Finance and Manager of Esther’s Place, the JMM Museum Shop.

The JMM Shop

The JMM Shop

Those of us who have strong affiliations with and affinity for an individual museum—whether as staff, volunteer or visitors—like to believe that our museum is one-of-a-kind. In our minds and hearts, it is a snowflake, truly unique and special. And we’re not wrong. Every museum is unique and special in its own way. It is also—whether intentionally or not—part of an international franchise with a recognized brand.

Museum shops enjoy a similar umbrella brand in many consumers’ minds. As a part of their museum experience, shoppers visit museum stores to take home a part of what they saw and learned. As a stand-alone brand, the Museum Store is known for uncommon and interesting finds. It is a destination for the discerning shopper and especially as we start to approach December, for the gift-giver in search of the perfect item.

One of our sister-franchisees, Strathmore, has been capitalizing on the strength of the Museum Store umbrella brand for more than a quarter century with their annual Museum Shop Around.

The Strathmore Mansion

The Strathmore Mansion

This four-day event brings together loads of special-snowflake shopping experiences under one roof. And though this is their 27th year doing it, they’ve never done it quite like they will in 2016: this year, Esther’s Place: The JMM Shop will have a space!

You can support JMM—and all of the wonderful participating museums—by coming by Strathmore between Thursday, November 10 and Sunday, November 13. There’s a small entry fee to get in (much like a craft show), but that gets you access to 18 different museum stores, all in one trip!

The Strathmore Museum Shop Around was introduced to JMM staff by our colleague Joanna Church, who participated with a previous employer (another sister franchisee). Joanna, Devan and I have had a great time selecting just the right products to take with us. We’ve done our best to select key highlights that will excite, entertain and tempt our customers—whether they are shopping for loved ones or themselves!

This event is a great opportunity for us to find new customers and sales for Esther’s Place. Just as importantly, it helps us to gain exposure and visibility for JMM to a group of people who may or may not know we exist.

Setting up "Esther's Place" at Strathmore Mansion

Setting up “Esther’s Place” at Strathmore Mansion

Our products for sale at Strathmore will include fine Judaica from designers like Michael Aram and Jonathan Adler. We will also feature home goods, children’s gifts, jewelry, books and tchotchkies. In fact, if you come by JMM this weekend, you may notice that Esther’s Place seems to have a little less of a selection than usual—we want to make sure we make you proud in Rockville!

Other Museums who will be represented include the National Archives Foundation, International Spy Museum, Just Imagine!, The Shop at Imagination Station, National Geographic and the White House Historical Association (another first-time attendee). See the full list of participating museum stores here.

Whether you’re interested in doing some Chanukah (or Christmas) shopping or just want to see what’s available, I highly recommend making the drive. Most participating shops offer a discount while they’re at Strathmore (we will be offering 10% off), and there are raffle prizes and other fun add-ons. Look for us on the second floor when you get to the mansion!

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Next Page »