JMM Insights: Community Arts at the JMM

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by

ilene

This month’s JMM Insights is brought you by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon and focuses on some exciting upcoming displays and events here at the Museum.

Spring is just around the corner- and soon more people will be “out and about” to see what is going on in their neighborhoods after  a very cold winter.  This spring, the JMM should be one of your first stops to see just what is happening around town when we exhibit some community arts projects done by students and young adults around town.  The JMM is an institution that fosters discovery, community dialogue, discourse and creativity, and our Museum provides a perfect setting to display local community  artwork.

CHAI Photog exhibit Sept 3, 2014-1041

The Girl’s Photography Project

In late February, The Girl’s Diversity Photography Project will be on display at the JMM with a reception taking place on Sunday, March 1st from 2-4:00 p.m.  The exhibit features 33 photos that capture intimate interactions and daily snapshots between 15 African American and Orthodox Jewish girls from Northwest Baltimore.  The exhibition was sponsored by CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., in partnership with Wide Angle Media., The project is part of CHAI’s (Comprehesive Housing Assistance) – Community Conversation Series and the project was designed to destroy stereotypes and foster respect between the two diverse groups. The girls participated in a series of workshops, including photography lessons,  that enabled them to learn about each other’s perspectives and life experiences.

my Family Story

Following the Girl’s Diversity Photography Project, eighth grade students from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School will exhibit their works in connection with an exciting education initiative, My Family Story.   This initiative in partnership with  The International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) at Beit Hatfutsot – The Diaspora Museum located in Tel Aviv  is intended to be a meaningful, experiential, and multigenerational Jewish heritage program  that has been generating excitement and interest in Jewish family legacies over the past 20 years.

Beit Hatfutsot designed My Family Story to counteract the trend of Jewish indifference impacting the younger generation.  This international program was launched as means of encouraging students to research and present their family stories and explore their collective Jewish history.  Students make significant discoveries about who they are and where their families have come from as they learn about historical events that have affected their families and discover how they are connected to a larger community.  Students and their families explore their family roots in depth going beyond the development of the typical family tree.  It connects the younger generation to personal stories, family stories and the story of the Jewish people.  The exploration culminates in an artistic installation created by the student to represent their own family’s personal history.

As part of the installation, each students write artist statements about their creative works based on their independent exploration. Through their participation in the program, students are empowered to creatively “tie together” their new found discoveries using art as the medium of expression.

Support from the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for Jewish Education has allowed the JMM to bring My Family Story to the Baltimore Jewish community.   In 2014 more than 12,000 students from Israel, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada and the United States participated in the program.  Participation in the program is only available through educational institutions and community centers. Beginning this spring, Baltimore Jewish families will be represented for the first time.

With the help of Beth Tfiloh’s creative teachers, Mrs. Liz Shrier, Mrs. Shelly Spector along with the incredibly talented Arts department, students have been working hard throughout the school year.  On the evening of Thursday, March 12, 2015, the students will celebrate their work and the My Family Story exhibition at a private reception. The works will be on display through Monday, March 16th.  Following the evening, two displays will be chosen to represent the school and those projects will be sent to Beit Hatfutsot according to their guidelines.  In mid-May, Beit Hatfutsot will notify the international winners and those students will be flown to Israel to participate in the official My Family Story ceremony and official events that take place later in June.

making art

Creating Braille Art

After celebrating the students at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, the JMM will exhibit Learning Your Letters: Braille Art.  This exhibition, presented by the JMM and the Braille Art Gallery, features braille drawings of artists of all ages and all abilities, to promote braille literacy.  The exhibit will be open to the public in the lobby of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, from April 15, 2015, through May 3, 2015.  A reception will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Be sure to make your way to the JMM this spring to see what’s happening in our community and to celebrate the creativity of our youth.  If you have any questions, about any of these exciting programs, please contact the JMM’s Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon, idackmanalon@jewishmuseummmd.org or 410.732.6400 x214.

 

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The Immigrant’s Trunk Goes to Preschool

Posted on February 11th, 2015 by

Exploring the Immigrant's Trunk.

Exploring the Immigrant’s Trunk.

A few months ago, Bet Yeladim, a preschool in Howard County inquired about the Museum’s preschool educational offerings.  We quickly scheduled an outreach program  for late January –and the education staff got busy making sure that the Immigrant’s Trunk for Preschool was in tip-top shape and ready for 50 preschoolers.

The JMM received funding from the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Education Fund to create a preschool program in connection with our very popular Immigrant’s Trunk program.  The Immigrant’s Trunk program was created for elementary and middle school students to help them make concrete connections to historical immigration.  An interactive trunk filled with photo reproductions, artifacts and a curriculum give teachers the tools to teach about immigration in the classroom.

Piecing together a photo puzzle.

Piecing together a photo puzzle.

In order for the Immigrant’s Trunk to be developmentally appropriate for 3-5 year olds or preschoolers,  we created a trunk filled with interactives that included sewing cards, memory games, threading spools, and reproductions of  period clothing.  These hands-on materials  are intended to help younger ones understand the story of brave  Ida (a Ukrainian immigrant who arrived in Baltimore in 1913) and her journey across the ocean, so that she could meet her older sister Minnie who lived in Baltimore (The Golden Land).

Playing a matching game using objects from the trunk.

Playing a matching game using objects from the trunk.

As soon as we entered the classrooms the preschoolers were immediately curious about the trunk and its contents.  We explained that we worked at a history museum and immediately the children thought we worked at a museum that told stories about dinosaurs. We explained that we were going to tell a story about a brave young girl who travelled on a boat and that the trunk was filled with items that the young girl took with her on the trip.  We asked the children to brainstorm some things that they would bring with them on a long trip.  These children would be well –prepared.  Their answers included medicine, towels, food, and toys.

The children listened intently to the tale of young Ida travelling all by herself to meet her big sister.  They learned how Ida dragged her trunk with her up the plank of the ship and how she had to sleep in bunks in the “belly” of the ship, and the only thing she had to eat was watery soup and boiled potatoes.

Getting the wiggles out!

Getting the wiggles out!

The children demonstrated empathy when they learned that Ida’s tummy felt sick on the boat during the storms crossing the ocean.  They children were excited as they heard how Ida sailed on the ship up the Patapsco River and saw the American flag waving at Fort McHenry, and they were excited that she would be reunited with her older sister, Minnie.   The students learned how Ida made a life for herself in Baltimore- she went to school, worked as a seamstress and eventually married Daniel Rehr.  The trunk filled with inter-actives, photo reproductions and artifacts, along with storytelling and songs, helped to reinforce the children’s understanding of Ida’s heroic journey across the ocean to Baltimore and her new life she made for herself in Baltimore.

It's a hands-on learning experience!

It’s a hands-on learning experience!

To learn more about the JMM’s Immigrant’s Trunk for Preschool, and other education materials and resources on immigration, and field trip opportunities for students in grades (PreK through 12), please contact the JMM’s Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon at 410.732.6400×214; or idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org

ilene A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts from    Ilene click HERE.

 

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Mendes Cohen and the Battle of North Point

Posted on September 11th, 2014 by

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The City of Baltimore is abuzz this week gearing up for the 200th anniversary celebration of the historic Battle of Baltimore in 1814, the scene where Francis Scott Key got his inspiration for the words of our nation’s anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.   We have been gearing up for our own celebration of the Jewish presence during that battle and the opening of the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit.  This past weekend, our own amazing living history character, the “ghost” of Mendes Cohen had his first performance at The Defender’s Day Celebration at North Point located at Fort Howard Park.

The beautiful view at Fort Howard Park!

The beautiful view at Fort Howard Park!

Mendes Cohen takes the stage!

Mendes Cohen takes the stage.

North Point is situated at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay just east of the Patapsco River leading to Fort McHenry.  The Battle of North Point occurred a few days prior to the strike on Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814.  On September 12, 1814 over 4,000 British troops landed at North Point, Maryland. The plan devised by the British was to march towards the City of Baltimore and to capture the port city.  The British had already captured and devastatingly burned the nation’s capital, Washington D. C. in late August.  The British were hoping to repeat their success with a similar attack on Baltimore.

The audience is enraptured!

The audience is enraptured!

Under the command of Major General Robert Ross, troops and supplies were unloaded upon the Maryland shore at North Point. A rather small force of just over 250 Maryland volunteers, led by Brig. Gen. John Stricker, commander of the 3d Brigade of the Maryland militia met the marching British troops at North Point in an attempt to delay the British advance towards Baltimore. Ultimately, the British failed in capturing Baltimore.  The land attack failed and  Fort McHenry withstood the heavy British bombardment by sea.  Francis Scott Key watched the proceedings at the fort and wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, which eventually became the U.S. National Anthem.

Re-enactors walk along the water's edge.

Children in period wear walk along the water’s edge.

The Defenders Day celebration was complete with re-enactors both from the British company- The Wellington Fencibles led by Major General Robert Ross and the Maryland militia led by General John Stricker.   Re-enactors helped stage the actual battle that occurred at North Point, but also highlighted how people lived during the early 19th century.  Women and children were present in period clothes, showing teaching visitors about daily life during the time.

Mendes introduces himself.

Mendes introduces himself.

The highlight of the morning was our own “ghost” of Mendes Cohen, taking stage and sharing with the audience his recollections of the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.  This was the first performance “on the road” for professional actor, Grant Cloyd, and he did an amazing job!

IMG_20140907_101104 (2) mendes

More pint-size re-enactors!

Be sure to check out the Amazing Mendes Cohen exhibition that opens this weekend at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Check the website often www.jewishmuseummd.org to learn about all of the amazing programming and the upcoming performances of the living history character, the “ghost” of Mendes Cohen that will take place in connection with the exhibit.

Don't miss the opening, THIS SUNDAY, September 13th, 10am - 5pm!

Don’t miss the opening, THIS SUNDAY, September 13th, 10am – 5pm!

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

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