Can’t Touch This: Voices from the Basement Part 1

Posted on August 17th, 2017 by

This summer we asked our summer interns to team up and create their very own podcast episodes. Over the course of ten weeks they needed to pitch a concept, draft a script, and record and edit their podcasts. We’re going to share those podcasts here with you on the blog over the course of the next few weeks! You can see all of their podcasts by clicking on the intern podcast tag.


 

Interns Joelle and Amy posing with one of the many historic dresses they worked with this summer.

Interns Joelle and Amy posing with one of the many historic dresses they worked with this summer.

The first podcast episodes in this special series were created by collections interns Joelle Paull and Amy Swartz to focus on the care and handling of museum collections. They had so much to talk about that they elected to create three episodes – the first is focused on textiles, a subject they got first hand experience with as they assisted with the installation of our Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland exhibit. Below are some images and resources related to their podcast Can’t Touch This, episode 1.

>>Listen to the Podcast<<


 

Wedding dress made of silk with beadwork on bodice and skirt, worn by Bessie Grossman when she married Louis Paymer, Jan. 3, 1911. Gift of Zelda Paymer Salkin and Lenore Paymer Snyder. JMM 1986.109.1

Wedding dress made of silk with beadwork on bodice and skirt, worn by Bessie Grossman when she married Louis Paymer, Jan. 3, 1911. Gift of Zelda Paymer Salkin and Lenore Paymer Snyder. JMM 1986.109.1

Many hours were spent carefully steaming out wrinkles.

Many hours were spent carefully steaming out wrinkles.


Resources on how to handle textiles:

How to Handle Antique Textiles and Costumes from the Smithsoniam Museum Conservation Institute

Curatorial Care of Textile Objects from the National Park Service

Care of Historic Clothing and Textiles from the University of Georgia

Caring for Your Treasures: Textiles from the American Institute for Conservation


 

Each of these mannequins has their own name and were used for displaying textiles in the Just Married! exhibit.

Each of these mannequins has their own name and were used for displaying textiles in the Just Married! exhibit.


Why you shouldn’t use blue tissue paper to store your wedding dress!


Continue to “Can’t Touch This” part 2!

 

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Intern Round Up 2017

Posted on August 11th, 2017 by

Our wonderful 2017 Summer Interns

Our wonderful 2017 Summer Interns

I’m so pleased to announce another successful summer of interns! The Museum welcomed six new interns into our intense, ten-week internship program this year, and a seventh intern doing an extended internship through the summer and fall, spread across multiple Museum departments.


BY THE NUMBERS

This year’s summer interns hailed from 3 different states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). All 7 interns came to us from different colleges and universities and between them they represented 9 different majors (four interns are double majoring!). Over the course of their internships they participated in a combined 2,450 hours of work and learning.

22 Blog Posts: Between their 2 individual blog posts and the weekly series “Intern Thoughts: A Weekly Response,” interns produced A LOT of words this summer! You can check out all the entries in the weekly response series HERE,  and see all entries by (and about) our interns on the blog in the “intern” tag!

The interns also created 5 podcast episodes, exploring topics ranging from collections care to Jewish identity in millennials – we’ll be sharing those over the next few weeks, so keep an eye (and an ear!) out.

 Visiting the MICA art library


Visiting the MICA art library

Once again staff donated their time and expertise to offer 6 professional workshops throughout the summer!

>Object Handling with collections manager Joanna Church

>Introduction to Exhibitions with curator Karen Falk

>Program Planning with program manager Trillion Attwood

>Museum Management with executive director Marvin Pinkert

>Archival Exploration with education director Ilene Dackman-Alon

>Visitor Services with visitor services coordinator Graham Humphrey

We gave Esther’s Place a small face lift this summer in addition to our annual inventory and the interns’ assistance was invaluable, totaling 14+ hours of assistance, inventorying over 1,550 types of items!

Working hard in Esther's Place!

Working hard in Esther’s Place!

Interns were able to participate in 2 off-site fieldtrips over the course of the summer. On Flag Day they enjoyed a 3 part visit to the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House & Museum – first observing the annual flag day ceremonies, then touring the historic Flag House and finally attending the afternoon lecture by K. A. Wisniewski on the story behind the design of the American flag. Interns also enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of MICA’s art library with library director Heather Slania, with a special look at the library’s “artist books” collection.


REPORTS FROM THE INTERNS

Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns:
Erin Penn and Sara Phillipe

Sara and Erin worked on several exciting and interesting projects over the course of this internship. From the start they hit the ground running, as they helped to put the final touches on the opening events for Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland. Also in conjunction with Just Married!, Sara and Erin created a scavenger hunt for the schools and camps which visited over the summer. They even got to lead the students through the exhibit.

They researched and planned upcoming programs for the next exhibit, Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, contacting artisans, caterers, and even planning fun craft projects. In connection with the new exhibit Sara and Erin helped to organize and create a companion curriculum for all types of students, young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish.

The display they created in the Lloyd Street Synagogue

The display they created in the Lloyd Street Synagogue

Sara and Erin also joined in with Museum Educator Alex Malischostak and Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon on their work for the Henrietta Szold bus tour, lending their voices to the audio recording. The pair of interns also helped with documenting damage at the Lloyd Street Synagogue, assisting in the planning and execution of a city-wide Intern Trivia Night, and organized the handouts and registrations for next week’s Summer Teachers Institute. Lastly, Sara and Erin researched and compiled a mini exhibit celebrating Talmudical Academy’s 100th year which will be displayed in the basement of Lloyd Street Synagogue (where the Academy began).

Education Interns by the Numbers:

>School and camp groups facilitated: 8

>Mailchimp campaigns designed and sent: 4

>Supply and equipment cabinets cleaned and reorganized: 3

>Trips to the Hamden Giant for giftcards: 2

>Calls to Carl Bernstein’s agent: 1 (still waiting for a response…)


Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections Interns:  
Joelle Paull and Amy Swartz

This summer Joelle and Amy tackled a variety of projects as a team. They began with updating accession files, so that all of the information on our physical files appeared in our digital records. They continued a large inventory of the collections — photographing and measuring objects, and updating existing records.
The imminent opening of Just Married: Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland meant a break from condition reporting to help prepare the exhibit. Amy Swartz helped to steam all of the dresses for the exhibit and prepare them for display, including building pads and arms for mannequins to properly support and display the textiles.

Posing with one of the many wedding dresses for Just Married!

Posing with one of the many wedding dresses for Just Married!

After Just Married opened, they turned their attention to a past exhibit, which is getting ready to travel. Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America will open at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio this fall. Amy and Joelle gathered the objects from the exhibit, photographed and condition reported them, and packed them so that they would be ready to ship when the time comes.

Collections by the Numbers:

>Beyond Chicken Soup artifacts condition reported and packed: 550

>Artifacts inventoried, photographed and condition reported: 317

>Boy Scout related-items processed in recent donation: 105

>Dresses prepared: 11

>Electrified golden lions collected: 2

>Collections Committee meetings attended: 1


Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Exhibition and Oral History Interns: Ryan Mercado, Tirza Ochrach-Konradi, and Jillie Drutz

Ryan’s projects were all in relation to the “Belonging(s): What Connects Us” exhibit which opens in 2019. A long list of topics were given to Ryan and the other interns on subjects pertaining to “belongings” and were tasked with researching the topics and finding out how they can be used in the exhibit. Ryan focused on three topics: researching a character profile on a man named Dr. Samuel Neistadt, a Jewish socialist who immigrated to Maryland in his childhood and thrived in the Jewish institutions here; researched material in relation to the Maryland Jew Bill, particularly about a pilgrimage to the bill’s chief advocate’s grave; and finally, began extensive research and planning on converts to Judaism that may be included in the exhibit. Ryan even used his time abroad in Canada to do side work visiting the Jewish Museum in Montreal and writing for the JMM about it in a blog post. Ryan also donated the first siddur he ever bought during his own conversion to Judaism to aid in the research.

Touring the library with Karen Falk

Touring the library with Karen Falk

Tirza worked as part of the Exhibitions team this summer. She was focused on an oral history collections project that the JMM is collaborating on with Beth Am congregation. The interviews are focused on the founding of Beth Am out of the Chizuk Amuno downtown congregation in 1974 and Beth Am’s growth through the years. Tirza spent the first few weeks doing a lot of background research on the interview topic and working with Karen Falk, JMM curator, and Aaron Levin, the project head at Beth Am, to develop a set of interview questions that fit both Beth Am and the JMM’s goals. She then got in contact with potential interviewees and began conducting interviews in early July. She has also been transcribing, making archive entries, and doing all of the other tasks that go into collecting and maintaining oral histories for the JMM’s collection.

(We’ll hear from Jillie later in the year as she gets closer to the end of her internship!)

Exhibitions and Oral History by the Numbers:

>Interviews transcribed: 10 (totaling 8 hours 22 minutes and 37 seconds of recorded audio)

>Hours spent transcribing: 33

>Interviews conducted: 7 (1 international)

>Research topics: 3

>Trips to Canada: 1

Enjoying a beautiful summer day together (and some delicious gelato)

Enjoying a beautiful summer day together (and some delicious gelato)

Many thanks to all our interns.  We hope they learned as much from us as we learned from them.
– Marvin


 

JMM in the News!

Our newest acquisition!

Our newest acquisition!

Suburban Orthodox Donates Golden Torah Lions to Jewish Museum in the Baltimore Jewish Times

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Intern Weekly Response: Internship Reflections

Posted on August 9th, 2017 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to look back over the summer and to reflect on what they’ve learned, share some favorite memories, and give us some updates on their projects. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


 

A Summer of Stories

by oral history intern Tirza Ochrach-Konradi

The Beth Am project is going swimmingly! So far there are ten interviews, six of which I conducted, with full transcriptions. This adds up to over eight hours of oral history content, and I will be fitting in one more this week! In addition I’ve made contact with five individuals who weren’t available over the summer, but are happy to be interviewed this fall so the project is going to be running full force forward. Beth Am is well on its way to an amazing video commemorating the 100th anniversary of the temple building! I’ve had a great time becoming immersed in the history of Beth Am and have had a wonderful time working with people’s stories.

The 100th Anniversary of the temple will be in 2022. Original architectural drawing of the temple’s front façade by Joseph Evans Sperry.  (JMM 1997.063.018)

The 100th Anniversary of the temple will be in 2022. Original architectural drawing of the temple’s front façade by Joseph Evans Sperry.  (JMM 1997.063.018)

My favorite memories from this summer are definitely every interview. Being allowed to enter someone’s home and ask them to share their memories is an incredible experience. The majority of the folks I interviewed were retired, which I imagine meant they had time to perfect their decorative skill, because every room I interviewed in was gorgeous. I got to collect all kinds of stories. Some highlights include elephants at Druid Hill Park, Jewish exclusion from Roland Park, details of the Harbor Place renovations, stories of meeting and falling in love, moving to and living in Baltimore City, making Bat Mitzvah corsages out of war stamps, innumerable stories about Dr. Louis L. Kaplan, working in and for Baltimore City, and all of the work that went into getting Beth Am, the self-described do-it-yourself synagogue, up and running.

 

Photograph of the Beth Am main entrance which fronts onto Eutaw Place. (JMM 1996.010.073)

Photograph of the Beth Am main entrance which fronts onto Eutaw Place. (JMM 1996.010.073)

In my sociology course work I’ve read countless ethnographic pieces that depend on interview material, but I hadn’t done any hands on work to discover whether this kind of research is something I would enjoy. After this internship I can say for certain that interview work is a definite positive! I’m only entering my junior year of undergrad so I have some time to figure out where I’d like to end up. This internship has helped me find the connections between what I’m studying and museum work and has really introduced the field as a possibility.


 

 

The Wrap-Up

By education intern Sara Philippe

This internship has taught me a lot about the importance of the programs and education departments of museums, two areas that did not immediately come to mind when thinking about museums prior to this summer. I learned a lot about determining what factors to take into consideration when planning a program as I searched for potential speakers, performers, and films to host at the museum. I also thought a lot about how to create educational materials and experiences that would be appropriate and compelling for a wide range of students. When doing educational work, we always had to consider how it would illuminate the exhibit in question and make it more accessible to the students hoping to learn from it. We also had to tailor activities keeping in mind students’ level of familiarity with Judaism, sometimes putting together activities that could work for both non-Jewish and Jewish students, as well as separate activities to ensure a more meaningful experience for both types of students. I loved all of this work and can definitely see myself continuing to do it in my future. I love that it requires you to stay on your feet, think creatively, and interact with a wide variety of people.

Our workspace as we get ready for the Summer Teachers Institute

Our workspace as we get ready for the Summer Teachers Institute

As I look back on this summer, a few memories stand out. Erin and I were tasked with documenting the cracks on the very old walls of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Although sometimes the going got tough, I had a great time posing with our makeshift whiteboard and a yardstick next to a crack on the wall in the heat of the balcony as Erin took photos. I even managed to stave off the temptation to be in every photo. Interacting with student tour groups was one of my favorite aspects of the internship. We recently hosted the junior ambassadors from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and I really enjoyed watching them do the same workshop about Jewish refugees to Baltimore that the interns had done earlier in the summer with Ilene. They had so much important knowledge from their work as Holocaust educators that they were able to bring to the activity. I also loved when the Bell Camp for blind children visited. I painstakingly put together a craft for the kids that would enable them to make stars of David out of popsicle sticks and Velcro. It ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be and not everything went as planned, but it was definitely a valuable learning experience for which I am grateful.

Our display now up in Lloyd Street next to the matzah oven

Our display now up in Lloyd Street next to the matzah oven

One of my proudest accomplishments this summer has been the mini-exhibit that Erin and I designed for the case in the basement of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Baltimore’s Talmudical Academy, Erin and I carefully crafted a display using artifacts from the JMM’s archives. We feature photographs old and new and real artifacts from TA’s earlier years like a fundraising brochure for a new building in the 1930s and a beautiful, miniscule prayer book. As of yesterday, the display is up and ready to be viewed. I hope people enjoy it and appreciate the connection between TA and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, both homes to Rabbi Schwartz. As our last week comes to an end, we are continuing to work on preparing for the Summer Teachers Institute on Holocaust education taking place next week. Erin and I have been working hard coordinating the three-day event’s logistics and it is shaping up to be a great experience with many learning opportunities and compelling speakers. Also looking ahead to the future, Erin and I finished putting together an educational resource to accompany the JMM’s upcoming exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving the Iraqi Jewish Archive. We did our best to come up with ways to teach the complicated history of Iraqi Jews to students of all grade levels in a meaningful and engaging way, and I’m looking forward to this resource being put to good use.

To find out more about my experience at the JMM this summer, check out Erin and I’s podcast We Know What We Did This Summer! (coming soon)


 

Au Revoir, et Merci

by exhibitions intern Ryan Mercado

Well, here I am 10 week later from my first day back in June. These last 2 months have been full of many long work days and experiences, and I’m happy I got to have this opportunity. I started out this internship as a recent college graduate, I had no prior experience in museums nor did I even have an internship before. Then I found myself working for the Jewish Museum and I could not have been more excited.

All the interns as we walk back from getting delicious desserts from Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. I will miss all of them and the fun times at lunch we had together!

All the interns as we walk back from getting delicious desserts from Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. I will miss all of them and the fun times at lunch we had together!

I learned a lot about Museums that I honestly did not know before. One thing that continuously sticks with me is the idea of the Museum being like a business. This came from Marvin’s workshop a few weeks back. I see a business in this museum and in others, from Tracie working the phones to Sue planning the Volunteer Appreciation dinner, there are literally so many aspects to a museum! I also learned that as each department works separately from one another, all of them need to be in balance as they work with one another. The Collections Manager needs to work with the Curator, the Curator with Marketing, etc! The Staff depends on one another and when they all work hard they get wonderful results, such as the Just Married exhibition.

“PastPerfect Cubicle A” aka my work station and my home away from how for the past 10 weeks.

“PastPerfect Cubicle A” aka my work station and my home away from how for the past 10 weeks.

I’m leaving this internship having put a small mark on the upcoming exhibit: Belonging(s): What Connects Us, which will open hopefully in 2019. I did three projects this summer: A character profile on a Jewish Socialist, research on the Maryland Jew Bill, and I started what is perhaps the Museum’s first real in-depth research on converts to Judaism. I hope that what research I did, what quotes I catalogued in excel, and even the siddur I donated to the Museum will help the upcoming exhibition in some way. For myself, as a convert to Judaism, to work in a Jewish Museum being surrounded by Jewish History and helping preserve it and even contribute to it has made me immensely proud and affirms my new Jewish identity. I will miss all the interns as we go our separate ways, and I will miss the JMM staff as well. This museum and this internship defined my summer 2017. It’s tough to say goodbye, but I’m ready to move on to grad school and what awaits me in Montreal.


 

Looking Back at the Summer

By collections intern Amy Swartz

It seems strange to me that my time interning at the JMM is almost over. During my ten weeks here I have learned more about museum functions and have been able to narrow down future career paths. I learned about handling textiles and putting together a traveling exhibit. Prior to this experience I had always envisioned a future career as a curator. This internship has expanded my interest to collections, especially since curators for exhibits can switch in and out and be outsourced. I find that I enjoy working with physical objects more than research sometimes.

The interns at the Just Married opening.

The interns at the Just Married opening.

Some of my favorite memories from this summer include forming friendships with the other interns, planning intern night, and helping put together the wedding exhibit. Joelle and I had fun working together in the basement and I will never forget the daily intern lunch talks and our trip to Vaccaro’s. I also really enjoyed going on a mini field trip to look at a possible accession: two large gilded lions.

The interns after getting cannoli and gelato at Vaccaro’s

The interns after getting cannoli and gelato at Vaccaro’s

Most of the collections projects have been wrapped up – quite literally in some cases. The traveling exhibit is mostly condition reported and packed besides larger items that need specialized crates. Our files have been organized and new accessions have been put into PastPerfect. Our podcast is finished and edited and will be up shortly too. Ultimately, as the summer has been coming to an end so too have been our projects. There is one last remaining thing to look forward to however: The Summer’s Teachers Institute next week; I am excited to learn about teaching the Holocaust and visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C.


 

My Museum Story

by education intern Erin Penn

In one of the first workshops for the interns, Marvin asked us about our museum story. I have always loved museums whether it was a day trip with my family or a school fieldtrip. They were always a place that made me feel comfortable and excited to learn. Ten weeks later, I have an even richer and more personal museum story. I have been able to help every department in both big and small ways. With Just Married!, I was able to help steam the dresses to ensure they were picture perfect for the exhibit. I was lucky to help create posts for all of the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s social media platforms. My specific work with education and programs has provided me with great lessons about the inner workings of both museum education departments and programs. There, I’ve had projects that ranged from creating curriculum for students to organizing the crafts for family day programs. This internship has added a huge chapter to my museum story.

Here I am with the other Summer interns. Now when I think of museums, each one of them will be included into my Museum story.

Here I am with the other Summer interns. Now when I think of museums, each one of them will be included into my Museum story.

This internship has been full of great and educational memories. I loved helping with intern night gathering the prizes and calling companies. It felt like I was in a race across town to get every last gift card and certificate in a ten mile radius. I also loved being able to sit in on the staff meetings. It was so fascinating to watch the JMM’s staff tackle the upcoming weeks in a fast-paced and exciting environment. I challenged myself to transcribe what each staff member shared. I am excited to look back on the minutes and reflect fondly on the experience of seeing everyone at work.

Harris Teeter was one stop on the hunt for great intern night prizes.

Harris Teeter was one stop on the hunt for great intern night prizes.

With the internship wrapping up, the education interns’ projects are in great shape. Our research for the Iraqi Jewish Archives lent itself over for education tools and activities for future school visits to the museum. Our experimental crafting and googling will be used to ensure Iraqi Family Day and other programs are a total blast! The search for Jewish entertainers and performers will help create an exciting line up for JMM Live in March and April. The Lloyd Street display case is now exhibiting our designed and curated look into Talmudical Academy’s 100th year. Summer Teachers Institute opening day quickly approaches and the education interns are making sure the event runs smoothly creating folders and organizing the resources. While most of the projects from the summer will not go into effect until after the internship is over, they allowed me to dive into museum operations and really give back to the JMM.


A Sizeable Dent

By collections intern Joelle Paull

As the internship draws to a close, it is nice to reflect back on the past 10 weeks. As a recent graduate, I went into this summer hoping to explore different interests and gain new experience. Ultimately this summer re-enforced many of future goals and raised new questions for me.

In the basement, but not forgotten. Our fellow interns made us these name signs!

In the basement, but not forgotten. Our fellow interns made us these name signs!

We have wrapped most of our projects up. Over the past couple months we have inventoried a portion of the collection, packed boxes to send a JMM exhibit on the road, and processed new donations. Inventory is ongoing, but we definitely made some a sizeable dent in the list. It was a fun project to begin the summer with, as it gave us the chance to explore the collection.

Intern Lunch Break!

Intern Lunch Break!

I really enjoyed spending time with the other interns and our daily lunch conversations. Highlights from the summer include taking a small trip to look at a recent accession and planning intern night. I loved having the opportunity to live in and explore Baltimore including visiting other museums and going out to dinner with fellow interns. I am looking forward to the Summer Teachers Institute next week and excited for new adventures!

 

 

 

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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