Flat Mendes?!?

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by

It’s true! Inspired by everyone’s favorite Flat Stanley, we’re introducing our very own FLAT MENDES.

Now you can take The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen wherever you go – Mendes was an inveterate traveler, visiting locations all over the world. We want to see where YOU take him! So download and print your own Flat Mendes – or stop by the Museum and pick one up.

FLAT_MENDES4

It’s Flat Mendes & he’s ready for adventure!

The next step? Photos! Take pictures of your Flat Mendes in various locations – home, school, at the park, on vacation, wherever you think he’d like to visit. Then share those photos with us.

 

There are a few ways to share: 

1. Post your photo to Facebook and then tag Mendes Cohen (did you know Mendes has his very own facebook page?)

 
2. Tweet your photo and tag @MendesCohen or #amazingmendes

 
3. Email us a copy with the subject line “Flat Mendes”

 

Flat Mendes was designed by extremely talented, former JMM intern, Lisa Perrin (you can check out more of her work at her website, http://madebyperrin.com/).

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Insights May 2014: Project Mah Jongg & Education

Posted on May 9th, 2014 by

Since the successful opening of Project Mah Jongg, The Education and Programs Department has planned some wonderful programming for adults in connection with the exhibit.  We’re particularly excited for our Mother’s Day Mah Jongg Madness event this Sunday and our upcoming “The Art of Mah Jongg” talk with Robert Mintz, chief curator at The Walters Art Gallery on Sunday June 8th.
In addition to our Sunday programs we have been delighted to welcome a charming stream of mah jongg mavens to the Museum. These groups of ladies are coming down to the JMM during our early morning opening hours; often armed with their  own mahj sets and accoutrements for play (if you’re looking for a few mah jongg themed items yourself, don’t worry, our museum shop has got you covered!).  It seems that the ladies are making the JMM a destination for the day (something we highly recommend).  The first order of the day, of course, is visiting our special exhibit Project Mah Jongg; then it’s a leisurely browse through the Museum shop and a visit to the neighborhood for lunch only to head back to the lobby for some intense game play, and then finish up the day taking advantage of the synagogue tours – a full day indeed!

Talmudic Academy 2014

Talmudic Academy 2014

While these lovely ladies are a natural audience for all things mah jongg, the challenge of the exhibit for our department was how to present Project Mah Jongg to school groups? Learning to play mah jongg can be challenging and we couldn’t actually teach a group of students how to play the game in twenty minutes. Mah jongg takes practice to really understand the strategies and even just learning the different symbols on the tiles takes time. We knew we needed to develop an experiential learning opportunity – a way for students to engage and apply academic understandings through hands-on experience, while simultaneously learning new information about the world around them.

Younger students learning at play.

Younger students learning at play.

For inspiration, we turned to the mah jongg handbook. We started by looking for key words that described the game, keeping in mind that students from third to twelfth grade would need to understand.  Success! First we had to familiarize students with the building blocks of the game: the tiles! So we concentrated on the basic symbols – bams, craks, dots and jokers.  Then we tackled math concepts: doubles, triples, quads and quints, consecutive, sequence – a perfect way to fuse classroom learning with the basics of how to win at mah jongg.  From there we developed a hands-on experience where the students could actually play a modified version of the game and apply simple math strategies.  Younger students were given Mah Jongg Mats where players take turns picking tiles, working to complete their mats using the new math concepts that were introduced earlier.  Older students were given a modified card for mah jongg play and used rules similar to the card game “rummy,” using the mah jongg tiles to mimic the different types of hands for play on the “card.” In this way we elevated game playing into an exercise in set theory and critical thinking skills.

Our older students are equally fascinated!

Our older students are equally fascinated!

Project Mah Jongg really pushed us to think creatively with our educational activities and we were nervous – would the students understand?  Would they be engaged and enjoy playing the modified version of the game?  Well, we are excited to report that the students and their teachers have all commented how much fun Mah Jongg is!  Both versions of the game are proving to be popular – most students really seem to enjoy playing with their friends. All of our teacher evaluations have indicated a positive feedback for the exhibits and the engaging learning activities connected to our exhibits.  The teachers for both the younger and older grades have even inquired as to where they can obtain sets to bring back to the classroom!

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

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Out and About

Posted on April 16th, 2014 by

Part of my role at the museum is to handle the reservations of one of our travelling exhibits, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945 – 1968. The exhibit has been in storage for several months but is currently on display until April 14th at Beth Israel Synagogue.

In addition to displaying Jews on the Move, we also had an evening lecture there last week about some of the themes it highlights. The lecture, titled Jews on the move: A Conversation, was led by Dean Krimmel, a museum consultant who was a member of the team that developed the exhibit. The talk gathered a great audience and created a huge amount of conversation.

Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel

Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel

Dean started the lecture by asking a few questions, and he asked those who answered “yes” to stand. We were asked:

  • Were you part of the suburban exodus?
  • Were you born here in Baltimore?
  • Have you lived here for your adult life?
  • Are you a newcomer?
Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!

Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!

Unsurprisingly, the first two questions had a huge response, with most of the room standing. The final question, received a much smaller response, but it was interesting to see what people considered a newcomer to be. I knew I certainly would fit within this category, having only been here for a year. What surprised me was that people who had lived here their entire adult life still considered themselves newcomers! However, I quickly learned that, unless you went to high school in Baltimore, some will consider you a lifelong newcomer. This also led to another interesting point: this city is unique in that, when asked “what school did you attend?” you are not being asked about college but rather about high school.

The high point of the evening was hearing all of the conversations that were inspired by the program, both during the lecture and after, around the exhibit. People discussed their memories of moving to the suburbs, the reasons for doing so and some of the restrictions that they faced. Many people had similar experiences with regards to their suburban exodus, especially relating to their experiences with real estate agents.

We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.

We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.

There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.

There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.

 We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.

We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.

Overall, everyone had a lovely evening. The chatting continued for an hour after the lecture finished. Everyone shared memories and even remembered some things thought long forgotten.

Trillion BremenBlog post by Program Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion, click here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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