An Introduction to an Internship

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by

World War II electronics. Credit: National Electronics Museum.

World War II electronics. Credit: National Electronics Museum.

On June 2, 20214, I began my internship at the Jewish Museum of Baltimore with two days of orientation. On Friday of that week, we were invited to the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Maryland.  That visit brought back memories of my father who loved those spools of copper wire, radio/television tubes, radios and televisions. He wound spools of copper wire seemingly for fun. He would have loved that museum. Even I loved that museum. How electronics helped win the world wars.

Dr. Friedenwald’s  lecture

Dr. Friedenwald’s lecture, 1896

On Monday June 8, I began work on the Dr. Aaron Friedenwald lecture from 1896, handling those fragile noted with white gloves then typing what I read also in my white collections handling gloves digitizing the lecture. The lecture may be part of the 2015 Exhibit  “Jews, Health, and Healing.

The lecture includes stone age medicine. The medicine man could repair compound fractures using sticks, twine, and mud for a cast.  He was able to relieve pressure of the brain, by drilling holes into the skull of the patient, sometimes more than once. The books of Genesis and Exodus sited what the Jews did and did not know about medicine on leaving Egypt. There were even women mentioned in the work both as midwives and actual physicians. There was a cavalcade of learned men who were both Rabbis and physicians who translated medical works on the side.

Flag House

Star-Spangled Banner House. Credit: Laureen Miles Brunelli.

On Friday June 13, Marvin Pinkert walked the Interns and a volunteer over to the Flag House as a (one-day early) celebration of Flag Day and to see another small museum.  General Flowers asked Mary Pickersgill to create a flag to fly over Fort McHenry. The flag was to be red, white, and blue. The measurements were to be 32 feet by 72 feet. The stripes were to be 2 feet wide and the stars 2 feet across. The flag was to be made of the lightest weight wool bunting purchased from ex-mother England.

The Flag House contained original household items: andirons, candle sticks, a desk,  chairs, a painting of General Benjamen Flowers, Mary Pickersgill and Rebecca Young’s young and handsome relative over the mantle of the fireplace.  Mary and Rebecca as well as Mary’s daughters and an indentured servant all sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore There were perfume bottles, handmade quilts, and many other period pieces of the late 18th century at the time of the War of 1812.

Barbara IsraelA blog post by Summer Exhibitions Intern Barbara Israelson. To read more posts by and about interns, click here.

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Putting together an exhibit

Posted on June 23rd, 2014 by

Pickle_logo4I’ve been interning at the museum for just over two weeks and, so far, my favorite thing that I’ve gotten to do is help out with The Electrified Pickle exhibit. I was especially excited for the meeting held last Wednesday because I had been asked to look through PastPerfect, our collections database, and see if I could find a couple of artifacts for the exhibit.

We were taking out artifacts and seeing how they fit together because an artifact might be really interesting, but not quite work with the other artifacts in an exhibit. We started out looking at artifacts that could provide a backdrop for the Permanent Wave Machine, a really neat piece used in a salon in East Baltimore in the 1930s.

Blog Post 1 Photos 1

Jobi arranging hat pins.

The other section of the exhibit we talked about was the science section. We figured out which pairs of eyeglasses in the collection would look best next to an optometer. When I was looking at artifacts in PastPerfect, I stumbled upon an eye examination box, an old fashioned version of the chart eye doctors use to test people’s eyesight. Seeing it in person was much cooler than looking at the photo in PastPerfect, and I was thrilled that something I found was going to be in the exhibit.

Exhibit designer Mark Ward with the eye examination box.

Exhibit designer Mark Ward with the eye examination box.

After that, we discussed whether all of the items in a section should go in one case or in multiple ones and looked at which items would fit in different cases. We also took pictures, to help us remember how the artifacts should be arranged. Then, it was time to put everything away until we set up the exhibit.

Emma (that's me!) preparing to put away an optometrical tool.

Emma (that’s me!) preparing to put away an optometrical tool.

Don’t forget to come and check out The Electrified Pickle when it opens on July 13!

Emma GlaserA blog post by Education Intern Emma Glaser. To read more posts by and about JMM interns, click here



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Amazing Partnerships at the JMM!

Posted on June 18th, 2014 by

Partnerships are something that we take seriously at the JMM and many of our programs and initiatives are conducted in collaboration with other institutions. We frequently work with other museums to develop and promote programs and we belong to such networks as the Greater Baltimore History Alliance ( and the Council of American Jewish Museums ( which foster collaboration among member organizations.

Our next major original exhibition, The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, takes the concept of partnerships to new heights.

Opening September 14th - but you can start following Mendes and his travels now on Facebook!

Opening September 14th – but you can start following Mendes and his travels now on Facebook!

We are developing the exhibition as a joint project with the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS). As the MdHS is the custodian of many important artifacts and documents relating to Mendes Cohen, including the dozens of letters he wrote home during his travels, this partnership is truly a win/win for both organizations.

The JMM is incredibly grateful to the Burt Kummerow, director of MHS, and his staff for all of their assistance with this project. Jobi Zink and I recently had the great pleasure of meeting with Eben Dennis (job title) who showed us many of the artifacts we are hoping to display in the exhibit.

Travel Firman, courtesy of Maryland Historical Society.

Travel Firman, courtesy of Maryland Historical Society.

After spending so much time looking at reproductions of such objects as the firman that Mendes received from the Ottoman Empire which granted him the right to officially visit Palestine as a tourist (becoming the first American to receive such an honor), I was blown away by seeing the actual piece of paper with its Arabic script. The size of the document is hard to conceive especially when thinking about the pocket sized nature of today’s travel documents. Mendes wrote about his pride in receiving this document and in a letter published by a Baltimore paper in 1831, he wrote, ““I have just received my Firman . It is very full and explicit, to give me aid, supply my wants, &c, through my travels. It is written . . . on a sheet of paper about two feet and a half square [original italics] the size of the paper constituting, in some measure, its importance. . . . When it is presented to a Turk, he respects it by bowing, putting forward his head, and kissing the Sultan’s signature at the top of the paper. This necessary document I have received very promptly from Constantinople, an evidence of the dispatch given to our affairs there by our new Charge. It is, I believe, the first American Firman which has been issued, our countrymen heretofore having been obliged to procure them through the English Ambassador.”

Although The A-mazing Mendes Cohen does not open at the JMM until September 14, 2014, for those who cannot wait until then to learn more about this fascinating individual be sure to check out MdHS’s current exhibit In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812.The exhibit includes such wonderful artifacts as the epaulets and hat that Mendes took to wearing many years after his participation in the War of 1812.


Mendes’ epaulets

Mendes' hat

Mendes’ hat

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah, click here. To read more posts about Mendes Cohen, click here.


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