Posted on July 21st, 2014 by Rachel
One of my favorite things that I’ve done during my internship here has been creating and leading activities for elementary and middle school students. Most of the activities I’ve worked on are connected to The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit opening in September, but I’ve worked on two that kids have had a chance to try out.
For the first activity I was tasked to create, my co-intern Arielle and I were given a bunch of cards with Jewish and Christian symbols on them that are usually kept in The Synagogue Speaks exhibit. Since there were multiple cards with each symbol, we decided the best way to teach kids about the symbols on the cards would be to create a matching game.
Museum Education Interns Emma Glaser and Arielle Kaden discussing which cards should be used in the matching game.
Eight pairs of cards are placed randomly in a 4×4 grid and the kids playing the game have to take turns turning over cards until they’ve found all of the matches. It’s especially fun toward the end of the game when they know where some of the cards are and give advice to their friends on which card to pick. Once they’ve found all of the matches, the staff member with them asks the kids which symbols they think are Jewish and which are Christian and discusses what the symbols are. Some of the symbols used in the game are Shabbat candles, a nativity scene, and a yarmulke. The game works best for groups of five to fifteen kids per grid, so it’s a great opportunity to for kids to have a group discussion and ask questions.
Kids from Hampstead Hill Camp playing the matching game.
Hard at work!
The other activity I created is based on The Electrified Pickle exhibit. It’s a scavenger hunt that’s aimed at getting the kids interested in the artifacts in the exhibit. The scavenger hunt highlights one interesting artifact from each section of the exhibit. When I was creating it, I picked artifacts that I thought would draw kids’ eyes, either because they were striking, like the samovar used in the exhibit, or because they were something the kids would have used themselves, such as a scooter.
Considering which artifacts to include in the scavenger hunt.
Kids have to find each artifact pictured in the scavenger hunt and figure out what it is. Older children also have to find the answer to a question about each artifact, such as what its function was or when it was used. At the end of the activity, a staff member asks the kids what the answer to each question is.
A girl from Hampstead Hill Camp points out an artifact to her friends.
Three kids from Hampstead Hill Camp check out a scooter they found in the scavenger hunt.
I have really enjoyed leading activities for kids here because it is very rewarding to see them enjoying and learning from the exhibits here at the museum, and that is doubly true for the activities that I created.
A blog post by Education Intern Emma Glaser. To read more posts by interns, click HERE.
Posted on July 17th, 2014 by Rachel
My role as an Exhibition Intern at the JMM has largely involved researching and reviewing subjects related to the upcoming Jews, Health, and Healing. My internship thus far has been incredibly rewarding, as I have investigated topics which I have never studied before, namely pharmaceutical history. I’ve read sixteenth century medicinal guide books, studied the changing corner drugstore, and cataloged countless prescriptions. Gradually, I began to gain a greater appreciation of the field, and saw the pharmacy as the true medical marketplace, where doctors, patients, and prescriptions come together.
However, as my supervisor, Curator Karen Falk, adeptly pointed out, I neglected one major detail in my research: how do we make this a Jewish Baltimore story? Individuals may recognize the immense Jewish presence in the field of medicine and pharmacy, but how will we portray this community in the exhibit? As I combed through the JMM’s impressive archives, I began to find the answer: the pharmaceutical fraternity.
An AZO window sticker dating from the 1940s. Courtesy of the Kramer-Labovitz Collection, accession #2001.61.2
The history of AZO parallels the Jewish experience of medical school. In the early twentieth century, American universities used race-based acceptance quotas to counter the tide of Jewish Americans eager to enter the medical professions. Jewish students in Philadelphia realized the challenges placed before them and decided to band together. In 1919, twelve Jewish students formed Alpha Zeta Omega with the goal of a 100% graduation rate. Just three short years later, AZO began to spread and the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy founded the Kappa Chapter.
The original symbol of AZO. It was originally referred to as the “Dead Man’s Club” or simply, “The Dozen.”
Though AZO was not an official Jewish fraternity and does not remain one today, Judaism and the Jewish experience was very much at the core of the organization. (One can easily identify Jewish imagery in the organization’s original symbol.) Therefore, AZO developed into more than a fraternity, but a community with similar professional goals and values. In fact, Baltimore’s AZO was so close-knit that the organization founded the first women’s auxiliary: the Azoans.
A group of Azoans after a very successful fundraiser, circa mid-1930s. Courtesy of the Kramer-Labovitz Collection, accession #2002.2.31
The Azoans was a philanthropic organization of pharmacists’ wives and sisters. The idea for the Azoans was born after Sadie Karpa attended a meeting of the AZO Pharmaceutical Fraternity in Cincinnati and realized how well the women worked together, but without organization. The first meeting was held on October 15, 1931 at the home of Lee Kramer, the first president of the group.
Part of the Azoans ritual was to commemorate the many symbols of the organization. The Azoans were very much a Jewish organization. Courtesy of the Ernestine Stiffman Collection, accession #89.109.19
The woman’s organization developed charity events which would profit medical institutions in Baltimore and Israel. With countless bake sales and auctions, the AZOANS were able to purchase an ambulance for the Red Cross, donate an iron lung to Sinai Hospital, and provide dental care to the Baltimore School for the Blind.
An image from a 1953 Azoan scrapbook. Courtesy of the Ernestine Stiffman Collection, accession #89.109.19
The organization also developed into a vibrant Jewish social organization. When Azoans members had finished their charitable drives and functions, members would often gather together, socialize, and discuss issues of the day. The Azoans were famous for their skits, poems, and songs.
The Azoans were notorious rhymers. Attached is a song dedicated to Esther Pelovitz. Courtesy of the Kramer-Labovitz Collection, accession #2000.144.30
The women of the AZOANS represent the strength of Baltimore’s Jewish pharmacy community. Each neighborhood drugstore had its own loyal customers and its own corner. But, on the weekends, the owners and their wives would come together and discuss how their city could profit from partnership, better health, and better facilities. I hope that Jews, Health, and Healing can accurately display that passion.
To close, a speech given by Ms. Lee Kramer. Courtesy of the Kramer-Labovitz Collection, accession #2000.144.30
A blog post by Exhibition Research intern Mandy Benter. To read more posts by interns, click HERE.
Posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Rachel
As a summer 2014 Exhibitions Research intern at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I am helping develop the upcoming exhibition Jews, Health, and Healing. The 2015 exhibition will explore how medicine shaped both the ways Jews are viewed by others and how they view themselves. This intersection of culture and science has provided some fascinating ways of looking at the construction of identity and empowerment in the Jewish community.
A lot of my research has focused on the Friedenwald family “dynasty” of doctors. Three generations of Friedenwalds practiced ophthalmology in Baltimore. Using JMM’s archive collection I have looked at the Friedenwald manuscript collection, which includes correspondences, speeches, and diaries.
Some of the many boxes containing the Friedenwald collection.
Our exhibit will pay special attention to Dr. Harry Friedenwald (1864—1950). Harry was interested in the history of medicine, particularly Jewish contributions to the field. This research led to the publication of his book Jews and Medicine: Essays in 1944. The exhibition will feature a recreation of Harry’s study.
A photograph of Dr. Harry Friedenwald.
One of the most interesting things I have found in the Friedenwald manuscript collection is a letter from Harry to his son Jonas (another ophthalmologist) describing medical school quotas for Jewish students. The July 21, 1922 letter describes a meeting that Harry organized with fellow doctors to review Jewish admissions to John Hopkins Medical school. In the early twentieth century there were quotas to limit the number of Jewish medical students. Harry wrote of the “inquisition” into the religious adherence of applicants. This was conducted by asking for statements from each person’s mother. Such policies were used to determine if an applicant was Jewish. Harry hoped to end the quotas.
Harry’s July 21, 1922 letter to Jonas describing quotas at Hopkins. One of the most difficult aspects of my research has been deciphering Harry’s handwriting!
Hopefully, this letter can be used in the Jews, Health, and Healing exhibition to illustrate the history of quotas on Jewish students in medical schools, as well as the broader story of discrimination in medicine.
A blog post by Exhibition Research Intern Sarah Moore. To read more posts by and about interns, click Here.