Posted on February 22nd, 2012 by Rachel
Like two kids in a candy shoppe, Karen Falk, Curator at the JMM, and I, Esther Weiner, the Shop Manager, took the Baltimore Free Bus, the Circulator, to the Baltimore Convention Center for the renowned ACC show. This is a show populated with artists from all over the United States, exhibiting their own crafts ranging from hand-loomed scarves to hand-woven jackets to magnificent jewelry, both gold and silver, to amazing blown glass decorative and useful pieces.
We oohed and ahhed our way down one aisle and another, stopping to look at all the booths, trying to decide if this was something that we would want to have in our own Museum Shop. Believe me, if I tell you that it’s a challenge, it is. You want to have all the candy in your own store…all the goodies.
And yes, we found something to bring to the customers and visitors to the JMM: an exquisite glass seder plate with perfectly sized dishes for each of the symbolic seder foods! We want the visitor to the JMM Museum Shop to feel just as good as we did in the ACC show by bringing back as many of the “candy pieces” as possible for our visitors to enjoy. And yes, we hope they will take something home with them!
So…do come to the JMM…do plan on visiting the Museum Shop…let us hear from you!
Posted on December 20th, 2010 by Rachel
A blog post by shop manager Esther Weiner.
One of the best parts of my job at the Jewish Museum of Maryland is meeting the people who take the time to come and visit the museum. Granted, it is a very special place, or so we think (those of us that work and spend a great deal of time there)…so I have always felt that visitors deserve to see our “best face forward”. After all, in a way, they are our guests in a unique kind of way.
The Museum gets visitors from all over the world!
Managing the Museum Shop has its share of difficulties, which I won’t touch on now, but my favorite thing is to be in the shop and meet and greet our visitors. Our special volunteers are most often there, but when they cannot come, that means I get to talk to the children, their parents, the visitors from California, France, Israel, Brazil, and most of the states all across the country. So now I can show off our hand-picked pieces of jewelry, menorahs, seder plates, artwork, listen to music on our CD player, and make the visitor feel comfortable and at home.
Let me tell you about a recent visitor to the museum who moved to the Baltimore area from Raleigh, North Carolina. As she looked at the merchandise in the shop we started to chat. I told her that I was born in Raleigh, and that my father started his rabbinical career in Raleigh. She told me about an exhibition in Raleigh at the North Carolina Museum of History called Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina. Interesting, I thought.
In about two weeks, an envelope arrived from my new friend from North Carolina, with a brochure from the exhibition. I read it with much interest, then on the very last page of was a small picture of a group of children, standing on steps with adults in the last row. The picture was labeled “Raleigh Sunday School, 1928”…..I could not believe my eyes, there was my father, the future Rabbi Isidore Printz, standing in the very last row of the picture! I had never seen that picture, in fact, I knew very little about my parents life in Raleigh.
I phoned the museum in Raleigh and spoke with a really helpful Education Chief, who turned out to be Jewish, and when I asked if it would be possible to get a reprint of the picture, he made it possible for that to happen. I was thrilled, and so was our family.
The photo in question!
Finally, to round out this incredible tale, there were oral histories taken of people who lived through the time period when my father was the rabbi of the House of Jacob. I was able to read those stories, read what the congregants thought of my father, and how much they respected him, and the work he did while he served the people of Raleigh. I felt so good about it, my father would have been so pleased to read these comments. Our family’s history has been enriched by this experience.
All this because a visitor came to the Museum Shop of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. And we made her feel welcome. Because that’s what we do.
I love it.