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.
Posted on February 20th, 2015 by Rachel
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.
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.
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.
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, email@example.com or 410.732.6400 x214.
Posted on February 11th, 2015 by Rachel
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts from Ilene click HERE.