It Takes a Village

Posted on June 24th, 2015 by

 

Unfortunately, not all exhibits are permanent, and in the case of The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, there was an expiration date. That date was Monday, June 15, 2015 when Minotaur Mazes (hyperlink: http://www.minotaurmazes.com/) came to pick up their traveling exhibition, and Mendes Cohen would be on his way to a new adventure in Texas. The morning began early as everyone from the museum’s Deputy Director, Deborah Cardin to the summer interns were breaking down the a-mazing maze.

First, Joanna Church, the Collections Manager, and the conservators, moved out the fragile and valuable objects such as Mendes’s flag. Pictured here is one of the conservators using nitrile gloves to handle objects.

First, Joanna Church, the Collections Manager, and the conservators, moved out the fragile and valuable objects such as Mendes’s flag. Pictured here is Sanchita  Balachandran, curator & conservator, using nitrile gloves to handle objects.

Laying out the panels

Next came down all the panels, both graphic and green, and they were carefully rolled as to not leave any crease marks.

IMG_1304

The interactives that all the visitors love to play with were unscrewed from the exhibit, and packed carefully in Styrofoam or even blankets. They were placed in the crate carefully and strategically so that damage would not occur during transportation.

Things got serious when Tracie Guy-Decker, the Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance (right), began using a power drill like a boss.

Things got serious when Tracie Guy-Decker, the Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance (right), began using a power drill like a boss.

Then the poles were strategically unscrewed and pulled apart bit by bit. For people without a lot of arm muscles (me), the struggle was real.

Then the poles were strategically unscrewed and pulled apart bit by bit. For people without a lot of arm muscles (me), the struggle was real.

The poles were also placed in the wooden crates tactically so that when it would be ready to set up in Texas, the poles that would be going on the floor (the foundation) would be the first to come out of the box. That way, the exhibit can literally be built from the bottom-up.

The poles were also placed in the wooden crates tactically so that when it would be ready to set up in Texas, the poles that would be going on the floor (the foundation) would be the first to come out of the box. That way, the exhibit can literally be built from the bottom-up.

Once we were sure everything was loaded, the top of the crates were screwed in. By Tuesday morning, Mendes Cohen was ready to leave the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Once we were sure everything was loaded, the top of the crates were screwed in. By Tuesday morning, Mendes Cohen was ready to leave the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

For a smaller museum, we often rely on each other to succeed, no matter what position you have. This was made clear when almost every department head, conservator, intern, and a museum educator, graciously set aside their day to pack up an exhibit. It may not necessarily take a village to de-install an exhibition, but it’s certainly more fun to.

Stay tuned for our upcoming exhibit, Cinema Judaica, opening Wednesday, July 1st!

IMG_0994A blog post by Education and Programs Intern Eden Cho. To read more posts from interns click HERE.

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Summer Internship: Time Flies!

Posted on June 19th, 2015 by

My name is Carmen, and I’m interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for the summer! I’m already two weeks into my internship, and boy does time fly! So, sticking with the theme of “time,” I want to show you some of my favorite clocks and pocket watches from our collection.

I’ve always had an interest in watches and clocks. I’m especially fond of ornate or antique clocks! Shiny ones are my favorite.

A gold colored pocket watch featuring military time from Greenburg Jeweler.

A gold colored pocket watch featuring military time from Greenburg Jeweler.

Clocks are interesting to me because they’re not just used for telling time. They can be an artistic expression; they can be beautiful, as well as useful. Manufacturers often go out of their way to create pieces of art that are functional and useful in everyday life.

A brass clock with the inscription “"1850 I.H. & S. 1906"on the base.

A brass clock with the inscription “”1850 I.H. & S. 1906″on the base.

A pocket watch given to Reuben Kramer for his Bar Mitzvah by his parents in 1922, kept in a velvet jewelers bag which came with it.

A pocket watch given to Reuben Kramer for his Bar Mitzvah by his parents in 1922, kept in a velvet jewelers bag which came with it.

As well as beautiful, clocks are also universal. Though many of the clocks in our collection are old or antique, they aren’t obsolete. Clocks never really go out of style; they will always be of use to us. You could say that clocks are truly “timeless”!

IMG_0991A blog post by Marketing Intern Carmen Venable. To read more posts from interns click HERE.

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Inventory and the Crystal Chandelier: A Journey Into Deep Intellectual Thought

Posted on June 18th, 2015 by

The Good Soldier and myself in Przemysl, Poland.

The Good Soldier and myself in Przemysl, Poland.

After spending six weeks abroad in the beautiful country of Poland during my senior year of college, I have embarked on a professional and academic journey into Holocaust studies. While it is clearly not a cheerful topic, it is one that I find to be challenging and interesting. My graduate school experience at the George Washington University, where I am a MA Museum Studies student, has included an internship with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sociology of the Holocaust and Genocide course, and two Holocaust related classes planned for my final year. I am thankful for my internship with JMM, because through all of the horrors and devastations of the Holocaust which I have studied, this museum is a reminder of the vibrant Jewish culture which managed to survive and thrive after the Holocaust.

One of my primary projects over this summer is to perform the scheduled inventory of the JMM permanent collection. While going through a drawer, I came across two items, a crystal facet and crystal pendant, accompanied by an incredible provenance. Once again, the Holocaust became a focus point for my work.

Crystal Chandelier Facet. JMM 1986.072.032

Crystal Chandelier Facet. JMM 1986.072.032

Crystal Chandelier Pendant. JMM 1986.072.033

Crystal Chandelier Pendant. JMM 1986.072.033

In December of 1938, just a month after Krystallnacht (the systematic burning of Germany’s synagogues by the Nazis) Richard Zurndorfer escaped Germany and traveled to Baltimore, MD. He managed to bring several items with him, including these crystal pieces, belonging to a chandelier from a synagogue in Mhringen, Germany, which was destroyed during Kystallnacht. A census list of European Jews and a Torah were also brought over. JMM is now home to these items.

The story of Mr. Zurnforfer made me think about how important artifacts are. While museums are always evolving to remain relevant to the public, it is crucial to remember the value of artifacts. This collection meant a great deal to Mr. Zurnforfer, who was described as “A man with respect for old traditions, he sticks like printer’s ink to his family artifacts – largely because they are the artifacts of his family,” by reporter Isaac Rehert of The Sun on January 17, 1978. In regards to the objects, Rehert says, “They tell the story of a thriving Jewish community acknowledged and valued by its sovereign, with roots deep down in Germany’s culture, with hardly a hint of the tragedy that was to overtake it.”

Whether coming across these items was strictly a coincidence, or an act of fate, I am again reminded about why I have chosen to work in museum collections. Artifacts facilitate relationships and lead to connections. In this case, the Holocaust becomes more than a Nazi, Jewish, or European issue. It becomes a Maryland, Baltimore, and JMM intern issue. I hope to have more intense thought provoking experiences like this one while I continue to inventory the collection!

IMG_0985A blog post by Collections Intern Kaleigh Ratliff. To read more posts from interns click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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