Posted on March 9th, 2016 by Rachel
When Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America opens, I will have been with the Museum for 10 months and three weeks.
I started on the day of the April board meeting last year, and even on that, my very first day, I was already hearing about this amazing health exhibit we had coming. I learned quickly that we’d won two prestigious and competitive grants from the Federal government; that the fundraising goals and achievements for the exhibit had blown all previous records out of the water; that we’d been working on this ambitious project already for nearly three years.
When we say immersive environments, we really mean it!
Fast forward several months, and I was delighted to accept the challenge when Marvin and Deborah asked if I’d take the baton from Deborah as project manager once we transitioned into the fabrication stage of the project.
I had no idea what I was getting into!
I have considerable experience project managing the creation of physical deliverables, but the largest deliverable I’ve ever managed was about the size of a magazine.
Yup, that’s a REAL ambulance (well, the back of one anyway).
Beyond Chicken Soup boasts the last five inches of an ambulance, an almost-full-sized pharmacy entrance, and recreated gymnastic wall bars, just to name three bigger-than-a-breadbox deliverables. It has literally hundreds of components that had to be designed and printed or configured and programmed or fabricated and painted. And that doesn’t even account for all of the artifacts!
This really is a remarkably ambitious undertaking. It forced me to stretch my project-management muscles, and required the assistance of the extended Museum team, from my colleagues on staff to our partners at The Associated to our wonderful vendors, too numerous to mention.
Anyone have these in their childhood school gyms?
I really enjoy project management. I find it remarkably satisfying to look at a finished project and say “I helped make that happen.” That satisfaction is immeasurably more intense when that final product is interesting, smart, funny, or in some way arresting. Lucky for all of us, Beyond Chicken Soup is all those things and more. It tells a fascinating story that resonates with issues that remain key issues in American culture. I am gratified to no end to see this huge undertaking—one I’ve been imagining since my first day on the job—coming together in this last week before the opening.
Make sure to take (and share!) your own #ChickenSoupSelfie when you visit.
I hope you’ll join us this weekend to see for yourself!
A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.
Posted on February 22nd, 2016 by Rachel
In its natural state, the Feldman Gallery is a nice big open space, with high walls and a wide expanse of floor – but of course the point of an exhibit gallery is to show off the contents, not admire the walls, and every exhibition fills the room a little differently. With each exhibit we get used to that particular configuration, the feel of the space, the color scheme and the visual focal points: The gallery looks like this. Then that exhibit closes and the cases and temporary walls are removed, and we think, “Oh, wow! What a nice big open space!”
Deinstalling Cinema Judaica, fall 2015. So much space!
Soon enough, though, it’s time to put up the next exhibit. The gallery’s open floor plan is versatile, but almost always requires some additional structures to create more vertical space. In the case of our upcoming Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America exhibition (opening March 13), we need a LOT of additional vertical space. Thanks to the exhibit fabrication team at Precision Plastics, the Feldman Gallery is being transformed into a series of small galleries, each custom-designed to highlight a particular aspect of the exhibit’s theme through images, documents, and a variety of artifacts. And every day, at least one staff member sneaks into the room (careful not to disturb the people doing the work) to admire the progress.
Framing out the new walls.
Plywood and drywall – these walls mean business.
Some finishing touches: baseboards and paint.
Not all the walls are purely functional; here’s the pharmacy window, almost finished (with the movie screen from Paul Simon: Words and Music behind it, waiting to be painted).
The view from the top. Goodbye, one-giant-room: Welcome Beyond Chicken Soup!
Once the walls are ready, it’ll be time for the installation of cases, furniture, and graphics – and then my favorite part, the artifacts. Then the transformation of the Feldman Gallery will be complete!
A blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.
Posted on February 19th, 2016 by Rachel
Last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz we presented a program with Shiri Sandler on the exhibit developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York titled A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. Shiri shared the story of town in which Jews had resided for centuries that has come to be known as a symbol of the Holocaust. While we wanted to create a special program for the anniversary year, JMM’s commitment to Holocaust education and fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of that history on our community and wider world is ongoing.
Fron the Kulturebund
For the past ten years we have partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) in leading a highly successful collaborative Holocaust professional development opportunity. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute is a workshop teaching best practices in Holocaust education. Presenters are invited from around the country to share their knowledge and resources with our local educators. This year STI is planned for Monday, August 1st thru Wednesday, August 3rd and will focus on the art of the Holocaust. While the program is geared for educators, it is open to anyone interested in participating. For more information please contact Deborah Cardin at email@example.com.
This February we decided to offer three programs highlighting personal dimensions of the Holocaust story. Last week Susan Sullam shared the story of her father Joel Fisher ,who following the war worked as a Monuments Man locating goods plundered by the Nazis. This Sunday at 1:00pm we have our rescheduled lecture with Gail Prensky titled Playing For Life: Art Under Tyranny, exploring the story of a group of Jewish musicians and artists who survived Nazi Germany. Then next week, in conjunction with Chizuk Amuno, we welcome Jennifer Teege, author of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past for her presentation Discovering A Nazi Legacy: One Family’s Story. You can RSVP for Jennifer’s presentation here.
with Stephanie Satie
We are also in the process of planning one further program in remembrance of the Holocaust for later this year, again in partnership with BJC plus Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. We are very pleased to welcome Stephanie Satie back to Baltimore to perform her one woman show Silent Witness. This performance marks our 10th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration taking place on Sunday, April 10th at Baltimore Hebrew Synagogue. The performance draws upon conversations and interviews with child survivors of the Holocaust and paints an uplifting portrait of human resilience.
Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum Bar Mitzvah from A Town Known as Auschwitz.
And we have begun planning for next February when we will bring together three exhibits connected to the remembrance of this tragic period in our history. First, the project that Shiri Sandler spoke about last year, second, from Yad Vashem Auschwitz Album: The Story of Transport. This exhibit contains the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which comes for a collection of photos taken in 1944 by either Ernst Hoffman or Bernhard Walter, two SS men stationed at the camp. Third, a project combining art and family history. Artist Lori Shocket will join us this summer to help facilitate a series of workshops where Holocaust survivors and their families are invited to develop collages reflecting their individual experiences .The pieces will be combined to create a powerful installation, showing that even in the midst of great physical destruction, the human spirit has the ability to transcend.