It’s interesting to me; is it interesting to you?

Posted on July 9th, 2015 by

What do people find interesting? This is what I thought about as I scrolled through the 50 page exhibit script, looking for the best items.  Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, opening in Spring 2016, will be a traveling exhibit. This means that it will start here at its “home institution” and then it will travel to other museums for display. But first, other museums need to agree to host the exhibit, and to do this they will look at a marketing package which includes a list of its best objects, photos, and documents. This list is what I worked on.

Many questions popped up as I determined which items were the “best”. Would people other than me find this interesting? Does it sort of summarize the section of the exhibit that it is in? And is it instantly visually interesting, or would someone need to know the context of the item to understand it? A good number of items in the exhibit will also be loans from other institutions, so I had to make sure we were actually on track for a successful loan before I added it to my “best objects” list.

So what did I choose? 36 objects, items, and documents out of the 400 some items in the exhibit. The items work together to capture the big idea of the exhibit as well as being just plain interesting! The items described below are three of my personal favorites.

Ma’aseh Tuviyya, Tobias Cohen, 1708, Germany National Library of Medicine

Ma’aseh Tuviyya, Tobias Cohen, 1708, Germany
National Library of Medicine

This image is from an early 18th century book about medical practices. Written in Hebrew, and published in Germany, it provides a fascinating look into how medicine and the human body were viewed in the past. This specific image is a metaphor between the human body and a house. Intricately detailed, one can see the different rooms of the house on the right that symbolize parts of the body.

JMM 1991.35.24

JMM 1991.35.24

This is quite possibly the strangest piece in the exhibit, a ring made with vulcanized rubber and a porcelain molar. It was made by Edmund Kahn for a marriage proposal to Gertrude Fried in 1904. Being a student in dental school, he could not afford a ring. He created this interesting thing from things he found in the lab, and it is without a doubt very strange. But it shows more than just a man’s craft skills, it gives a view into life into what dental school was like for students.

JMM 1995.151.15

JMM 1995.151.15

When Sinai Hospital in Baltimore was built, it was primarily a Jewish institution. However, it was obvious that it would need to cater to other cultures in order to survive. So these foreign language phrase cards were made to help with this diversity. The hospital staff could use these phrase cards to communicate with non-English speaking patients, resulting in a hospital that was truly for “everybody”.

These three items stood out to me among the 400 some items in the upcoming exhibit. They are visually interesting and vital to the understanding of the exhibit. Hopefully other institutions will see this too and want to host the exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America.

SophiaA blog post by Exhibitions Intern Sophia Brocenos. To read more posts by interns click HERE.

 

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A Full Museum: The Grand Opening of Cinema Judaica

Posted on July 6th, 2015 by

On Thursday, July 2nd the Jewish Museum of Maryland opened the doors of its new traveling exhibit: Cinema Judaica! 130 members and visitors came to see the new exhibit, enjoying signature 1950s cocktails, sparkling wine, and kosher refreshments before the presentation. It was a fun event for all and gave museum members an opportunity to unwind at the museum. The event helped me learn about what is involved in preparing for a big event.

Members of the museum and special guests enjoy cocktails and kosher refreshments.

Members of the museum and special guests enjoy cocktails and kosher refreshments.

Education and Programming Intern Eden serves drinks.

Education and Programming Intern Eden serves drinks.

Visitors have a conversation about the film posters in the exhibit.

Visitors have a conversation about the film posters in the exhibit.

After the special cocktail hour, Ken Sutak, author of the book Cinema Judaica, gave a fascinating lecture titled How Harry Warner, Ernst Toller, and Alvin York Helped Win ‘The Great Debate’ for American Interventionists. I enjoyed learning about how the movie posters influenced public opinion and were used to help the US decide to intervene in World War II. The leaders Harry Warner, Ernest Toller, and Alvin York went against popular opinion in Hollywood and developed films like A Nazi Spy which played a role in getting America to intervene in WWII. There was also a book signing after the presentation.

Ken Sutak, author and curator of Cinema Judaica talks about  “The Great Debate.”

Ken Sutak, author and curator of Cinema Judaica talks about “The Great Debate.” Photo by Will Kirk.

 Collections Intern Kaleigh Ratliff, and Education and Programming Intern Falicia Eddy encourage visitors to vote for, and take pictures by their favorite poster.

Collections Intern Kaleigh Ratliff, and Education and Programming Intern Falicia Eddy encourage visitors to vote for, and take pictures by their favorite poster.

Visitors will have plenty more opportunities to see the exhibit – though don’t wait too long as Cinema Judaica closes on September 6, 2015! The museum has planned several other great events around the exhibit including free outdoor film screenings: The Great Dictator on August 9th, and Gentleman’s Agreement on August 23rd.

Can’t wait until August? On Sunday, July 12th come to our Flickering Treasures talk at 1pm with photographer Amy Davis to learn about the history of Baltimore’s own movie theaters!

Falicia EddyA blog post by Education and Programs Intern Falicia Eddy. To read  more posts from interns click HERE.

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Cinema Judaica: Behind the Scenes

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by

To celebrate the opening of our latest exhibit Cinema Judaica, I thought it would be fun to give you a quick behind the scenes look at what it’s like to prepare an exhibit for the public. Although I wasn’t involved much in the actual installation of this exhibit, I was able to lend a hand as opening day drew nearer and finishing touches were made.

 Labels are laid beneath their posters in preparation for putting them on the walls.


Labels are laid beneath their posters in preparation for putting them on the walls.

There was lot to be done the day before the gallery doors opened to the public. Labels needed to be printed and placed under each movie poster in the exhibit. The labels couldn’t be placed on the wall right away- they had to be matched up to their corresponding posters.

 Labels are laid beneath their posters in preparation for putting them on the walls.


Labels are laid beneath their posters in preparation for putting them on the walls.

Once the labels were matched up to their posters, it was time to stick them to the wall. Each label was to be carefully placed exactly one inch from the bottom of its corresponding poster and lined up with the right edge. Once it was determined exactly where the label would go, carefully the double sided sticky tape on the back was peeled and the label was gently and precisely placed on the wall.

 Rachel carefully measures one inch from the bottom of the poster.


Rachel carefully measures one inch from the bottom of the poster.

 Once she measured, she was finally able to place the label on the wall with double sided tape.


Once she measured, she was finally able to place the label on the wall with double sided tape.

The Queen of Sheba’s finished label mounted on the wall.

The Queen of Sheba’s finished label mounted on the wall.

Although a lot of the instructions when it came to labeling was fairly straightforward, some things were left to stylistic choices.

 Joanna decides where she would like to place this label, which belongs to all three of these posters. Should it go to the right, the left, or the center?

Joanna decides where she would like to place this label, which belongs to all three of these posters. Should it go to the right, the left, or the center?

Finally, all that was left was to put up the panels in the front of the exhibit.

Joanna and Rachel team up to put up the remaining panels at the front of the exhibit.

Joanna and Rachel team up to put up the remaining panels at the front of the exhibit.

This behind the scenes look highlights the fact that there is a lot that goes into creating and setting up an exhibit. It’s easy to walk into an exhibit and forget that in order for it to be available to you, so many people took their time to put it together and make it something worth appreciating.

CarmenA blog post by Marketing Intern Carmen Venable. To read more posts by interns click HERE.

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