Posted on August 24th, 2015 by Rachel
During my summer internship at the JMM, I had the opportunity to work on a pop-up exhibit in connection with the JMM’s Annual Summer Teachers Institute that focuses on best practices in Holocaust Education. After I learned how to use the museum software Past Perfect and learned about the JMM’s extensive collections, I was inspired to develop an exhibit. The exhibit focuses on recognizing and responding to injustices in our community. It relates to the 2015 Summer Teachers Institute’s theme: Auschwitz 70 Years Later, What have we Learned? I wanted to put some of the JMM’s collections on display and give teachers an opportunity to see what objects and materials we have in the collections that relate to topics they are teaching about the Holocaust in their classrooms.
Telling the teachers about my exhibit.
In recent years there have been many instances of injustices in our communities: locally, nationally, and worldwide. My hope is that by examining injustices during the Holocaust we can be inspired to recognize and respond to injustices in our communities today. I encouraged the teachers to reflect on this question: How can we teach our students to recognize and become “upstanders” or activists against injustices in our communities and society?
The exhibit consisted of photographs, objects, and documents about the Holocaust. Preparing for the exhibit was a lot more complex than I originally thought it would be. Some of the objects in the exhibit include: pieces of a chandelier from a desecrated synagogue during Kristallnacht, and an uncut Star of David. The exhibit also included archival materials…
This is a Mass Meeting flyer announcing a meeting for Jewish people in Baltimore to learn about what was happening to the European Jews.
The Baltimore Jewish Council booklet was established in 1939 to create a united front against Anti-semitism during World War II and provide resources on Jewish issues.
These are pictures of the Nazi and Confederate flags to show how flags represent different things to people, and can have painful associations and connections to injustices.
I had a lot of support from several staff members and interns including: Ilene, Joanna, Deborah, Karen, and collections intern Kaleigh who helped me pick appropriate objects, reviewed my labels, and helped me with the installation process. I really felt like I had the support of the staff in developing my first exhibit.
Joanna and I are cutting out texts for the exhibit.
And here I am arranging the objects in the display case.
When I installed the exhibit I was not sure how many people would be able to see it and what they would think. On Monday August 3rd over 30 teachers came to the museum for the Summer Teachers Institute. Ilene told them about my exhibit and in between workshops educators came and looked at my exhibit.
Teachers wrote comments about the exhibit.
I enjoyed telling the teachers about my exhibit. It was also great to hear some of the conversations they had about the exhibit and the connections they were making about injustices of the Holocaust and forms of injustice they see today. It was great to hear comments and dialogue between the teachers about what was in the exhibit and many of them were interested in seeing what else we had in our collections.
A blog post by Education and Programs Intern Falicia Eddy. To read more posts from interns click HERE.
Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Rachel
Yesterday afternoon, Rachel Kassman (Development and Marketing, Intern Wrangler, and Official Candy Provider), asked me to write a final blog about the Summer Teachers Institute (STI) that occurred a few days ago. In a nutshell, the STI is an annual workshop that provides educators the tools and resources to teach the Holocaust to their own students. The topic changes, and this year, the focus was on Auschwitz. I helped prepare for it by doing administrative tasks such as making copies and folders for each participant, but this is really our Deputy Director, Deborah Cardin’s baby.
This year’s Summer Teachers Institute flyer
In the last 24 hours, I began thinking about all the things I could ramble about and decided to keep the spotlight on the purpose of this workshop: the educators and their students. One of my post-STI duties was to go through the teacher evaluations and analyze the results. The evaluation was in the form of a survey broken down by each session with attendees marking a 1 for the lowest score to a 4 for the highest score. Here are some statistics for you:
*100% of the participants gave Louise Géczy, the Senior Project Coordinator at The John Carroll School, the highest score citing her presentation to be “valuable” and “eye-opening.”
*100% of the participants gave the highest score in their overall experience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the tour of their permanent exhibit.
*95% of the participants gave the two highest marks (3 or 4) on all the sessions on the first day, 92% of the participants gave the two highest marks on all the sessions on the second day, and 89% of the participants gave the two highest marks on all the sessions on the last day.
*When responding to survivor testimonies and what participants saw at the USHMM, the words “powerful,” “moving,” and “touching” were commonly used.
*When responding to speakers, the words “informative,” “knowledgeable,” and adjectives such as “wonderful” and “fascinating” were commonly used.
“At first, I thought this would be relatively simple, as I’ve visited before and studied the Holocaust rather extensively. But touring the exhibits brought me to pieces emotionally, and I can definitely relate to my students’ upheavals in studying the Holocaust.”
To end this blog post, here’s a short anecdote for you:
On the second day of STI, the location of the workshop was being held at the USHMM. STI provided buses at two stops, but I chose to meet the group at the museum since I would be staying in DC after. On that particular morning, I either forgot to set my alarm or slept through it, waking up late and scrambling out of my house. By the time I arrived two hours late sweating, and rushing through the metal detector, a very nice security officer pulls me aside and simply states he needs to do a random inspection. Instinctively, I start opening my purse, but he says it’s not necessary. Instead, he grabs a special piece of paper, rubs it on my red Rebecca Minkoff, and feeds it through a machine.
“Can I ask what that does?” I ask timidly.
“It checks your bag for explosive residues, which yours does not have,” he says as he’s reading the results.
I don’t think much of it as I hurriedly searched for Deborah in the lobby. During lunch, I tell the other interns about what happened, knowing I feel something but unsure of what that emotion exactly is. Someone jokes, “It’s because you’re Asian! None of us got randomly inspected.” But what I felt wasn’t a race issue- I’m used to being stereotyped. As the interns approached the main entrance of the museum to re-enter after lunch, I notice two security or police officers walking around outside and three more managing the security inside. That’s when I knew what that feeling was.
Permanent Exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In all of the museums I’ve visited, none has a tighter security than the USHMM. I felt such sadness and disheartenment that this place of education and living memorial has to be strict in security due to antisemitism that still occurs today, 70 years after the end of World War II. At the same time, I felt hopeful that I was attending a workshop with dedicated and passionate educators who were spending three days out of their summer vacation to learn how to better teach their students.
So, to Rev. Robert Albright, Judith Cohen, Louise Géczy, Dr. Lauren Granite, Josh Headley, Heller Kreshtool, Shiri Sandler, Rabbi Josh Snyder, Joseph White, and every single educator who attended at least one day of this year’s STI: thank you, thank you, thank you, for loving our younger generation. To me, you’re not just teaching about the pain and atrocity that occurred years ago, but you’re fighting antisemitism, and teaching kids how to be compassionate and kindhearted.
For other educators who could not join us this year, here are some resources from this year’s Summer Teachers Institute:
Centropa: Where Jewish history has a name, a face, a story
USHMM: Resources for Educators
Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Graphic Novels recommended by Josh Headley:
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Moving Pictures by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen
Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco
Palestine by Joe Sacco
Jerusalem by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi
Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Greg Salsedo, and Marc Lizano
Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv by Jack Baxter, Joshua Faudem, and Koren Shadmi
A blog post by Education Intern Eden Cho. To read more posts by interns click HERE.
Posted on March 11th, 2015 by Rachel
Okay, I am the first one to tell you that the winter weather has put a damper on the daily happenings at the JMM. Over the past few weeks, field trips, outreach programs and professional development workshops for teachers were all cancelled due to school closings, icy conditions and frigid temperatures. However, there was a “ray of sunshine” that happened last week that will keep us warm until spring comes in a few weeks.
A little ray of sunshine…
Last Tuesday morning at 9:30a.m., I received a phone call from the President of Mercy High School, a Catholic school located in Baltimore City. The faculty and 11th graders were planning a field trip that morning to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC but decided against it due to the weather forecast. They were wondering if they could bring 84 students along with the teachers and chaperones to the Jewish Museum of Maryland instead.
Museum Educator Carolyn Bevans works with students.
My first reaction-OMG! My second reaction – I went into command mode. I asked the teachers what the students were learning about with regard to Holocaust studies. I spoke to the JMM’s education staff and volunteers about the possibility of hosting such a large group and the logistics behind hosting the group. We were all in agreement to “go for it” and within the hour we welcomed Mercy High School to the JMM!
Lives Lost: Lives Found- Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945 photo activity.
We divided the group into two sections. One group visited the Lloyd Street Synagogue and learned about the history of the building and the different immigrant groups that used the building, which was used as a Catholic Church at the beginning of the 20th century. The students also learned about Jewish rituals and customs that take place inside the synagogue. The other group stayed inside the Museum and watched a short movie about the JMM’s exhibition, Lives Lost: Lives Found- Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945. Following the movie, the students looked at images that were depicted in the exhibition and used critical thinking skills to find meaning in the posters. After an hour, the groups flip-flopped so that everyone had an opportunity to participate in both activities.
Visiting the Lloyd Street Synagogue.
The education staff was pleased with the decision to host the group, especially in this instance when the bad weather was to our advantage. With all school groups, we give the teacher an evaluation form to fill out about the education experience. I received the evaluation form back from the teachers but I also received this lovely email… along with lovely posies…… A little kindness really does go a long way….
Many thanks for the warm welcome you extended to our 84 Mercy High School juniors, faculty and parents today! I am deeply grateful to you and your staff and volunteers for offering a wonderfully enriching experience to our students with less than an hour’s notice! I learned today that most, if not all, of the students visiting the museum had never been inside a synagogue. What a gift you gave to them!
I hope that this is the beginning of a new partnership for Mercy High School with the Jewish Museum of Maryland. In the meantime, if we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to call upon us.
Mary Beth Lemmon ‘85
President, Mercy High School
A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.