Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Rachel
World War II electronics. Credit: National Electronics Museum.
On June 2, 20214, I began my internship at the Jewish Museum of Baltimore with two days of orientation. On Friday of that week, we were invited to the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, Maryland. That visit brought back memories of my father who loved those spools of copper wire, radio/television tubes, radios and televisions. He wound spools of copper wire seemingly for fun. He would have loved that museum. Even I loved that museum. How electronics helped win the world wars.
Dr. Friedenwald’s lecture, 1896
On Monday June 8, I began work on the Dr. Aaron Friedenwald lecture from 1896, handling those fragile noted with white gloves then typing what I read also in my white collections handling gloves digitizing the lecture. The lecture may be part of the 2015 Exhibit “Jews, Health, and Healing.
The lecture includes stone age medicine. The medicine man could repair compound fractures using sticks, twine, and mud for a cast. He was able to relieve pressure of the brain, by drilling holes into the skull of the patient, sometimes more than once. The books of Genesis and Exodus sited what the Jews did and did not know about medicine on leaving Egypt. There were even women mentioned in the work both as midwives and actual physicians. There was a cavalcade of learned men who were both Rabbis and physicians who translated medical works on the side.
Star-Spangled Banner House. Credit: Laureen Miles Brunelli.
On Friday June 13, Marvin Pinkert walked the Interns and a volunteer over to the Flag House as a (one-day early) celebration of Flag Day and to see another small museum. General Flowers asked Mary Pickersgill to create a flag to fly over Fort McHenry. The flag was to be red, white, and blue. The measurements were to be 32 feet by 72 feet. The stripes were to be 2 feet wide and the stars 2 feet across. The flag was to be made of the lightest weight wool bunting purchased from ex-mother England.
The Flag House contained original household items: andirons, candle sticks, a desk, chairs, a painting of General Benjamen Flowers, Mary Pickersgill and Rebecca Young’s young and handsome relative over the mantle of the fireplace. Mary and Rebecca as well as Mary’s daughters and an indentured servant all sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore There were perfume bottles, handmade quilts, and many other period pieces of the late 18th century at the time of the War of 1812.
A blog post by Summer Exhibitions Intern Barbara Israelson. To read more posts by and about interns, click here.
Posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Rachel
I’ve been interning at the museum for just over two weeks and, so far, my favorite thing that I’ve gotten to do is help out with The Electrified Pickle exhibit. I was especially excited for the meeting held last Wednesday because I had been asked to look through PastPerfect, our collections database, and see if I could find a couple of artifacts for the exhibit.
We were taking out artifacts and seeing how they fit together because an artifact might be really interesting, but not quite work with the other artifacts in an exhibit. We started out looking at artifacts that could provide a backdrop for the Permanent Wave Machine, a really neat piece used in a salon in East Baltimore in the 1930s.
Jobi arranging hat pins.
The other section of the exhibit we talked about was the science section. We figured out which pairs of eyeglasses in the collection would look best next to an optometer. When I was looking at artifacts in PastPerfect, I stumbled upon an eye examination box, an old fashioned version of the chart eye doctors use to test people’s eyesight. Seeing it in person was much cooler than looking at the photo in PastPerfect, and I was thrilled that something I found was going to be in the exhibit.
Exhibit designer Mark Ward with the eye examination box.
After that, we discussed whether all of the items in a section should go in one case or in multiple ones and looked at which items would fit in different cases. We also took pictures, to help us remember how the artifacts should be arranged. Then, it was time to put everything away until we set up the exhibit.
Emma (that’s me!) preparing to put away an optometrical tool.
Don’t forget to come and check out The Electrified Pickle when it opens on July 13!
A blog post by Education Intern Emma Glaser. To read more posts by and about JMM interns, click here.
Posted on June 20th, 2014 by Rachel
15 Years By the Numbers
For this week’s newsletter, I asked Jobi Zink to try to summarize her history with JMM. In the spirit of this “Performance Counts”, Jobi has elected to tell her own story “by the numbers”. On behalf of all our Board members, staff, interns and volunteers, we wish Jobi every success and to let her know that she will be #1 with us forever.
As many of you know, I am leaving the Jewish Museum of Maryland in July. I will be moving to Philadelphia to take the position of Registrar at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. I am sad to say goodbye to my friends and favorite objects, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career.
Since making my announcement, I have heard from staff, board, volunteers, and colleagues outside of the JMM about the impact I’ve made on the museum. I thought I would reflect on what I consider to be some of my major accomplishments over my tenure.
Number of Accessions: The first batch recorded in the accession notebook in my handwriting is 1999.037; since then 3,037 new donations have been made to the museum. Of course, over the 60 quarterly meetings that I’ve attended, the Collections Committee hasn’t accepted every single batch—they’ve done a diligent job sticking to materials that truly meet the JMM mission.
Number of Objects in the Collection: 10,954. Ironically, 10,000 was the number of objects believed to be in the JMM collections when I started. I am not sure what this early estimate is based on, and whether it included photographs or archival documents. When I organized the first collections inventory in 2000 (really more of a collections count), we discovered that we really had closer to 5,000 3-D artifacts.
Inventories Conducted: 5. Since that initial collections count in 2000, I have overseen 4 additional collections inventories that have each included portions of the archival and photograph collections. I also spoke about our triennial inventory project and procedures for the panel Inventory: Intimidating! Important! But NOT Impossible! at the 2012 MAAM Annual Conference.
Number of Hats Worn: I’ve never actually worn any of the hats in the JMM collection. On the other hand, I’ve worn a decided number of professional hats. I’ve had four official job titles during my tenure at JMM: Curatorial Assistant; Registrar & Curatorial Assistant; Senior Collections Manager; Acting Building Manager. I’m personally a bit partial to the five unofficial job titles held at the JMM: Queen of Traveling Exhibitions (Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator); Intern Wrangler (Internship Coordinator); Emergency Management Coordinator; Building Manager; Entertainment Committee Co-Chair. These unofficial titles reflect both the fun and serious sides of the JMM and also truly prove that the JMM is a dynamic place where no two days are ever the same.
Kind of hard to believe that its pure coincidence that I wore pink on the day of the earthquake in August 2012… and it matched my hard-hat perfectly.
Number of Archivists: 6. Ginny, Abby, Robin, Erin, Jon & Jennifer. 6 Collections Assistants –David, Karen H., Deborah, Olivia, Renee, Danyelle, and Chris—(though I suspect I have accidentally forgotten someone!) have also come and gone from that “back cubicle.” All of them have made my registration work and collections management that much easier to control! I thank you all!
Many people, one title
Number of Skits for Outgoing Employees: 9 (Leah, Erin, Lauren, Melissa, Avi’s retirement plus his surprise 65th birthday party that he nearly missed; Simone x 2, Anita). While a registrar loves to live by the rules, sometimes we just need to be silly. As the Co-Chair of the Entertainment Committee, I probably put in 10 hours of seriously fun work for each production. And let us be clear, some of these skits were full-blown productions.
Check out that set piece!
Number Pencils Retired: 229. Registrar’s love their pencils! What started as an experiment in June 2006 to see if I could use one pencil from start to finish without losing it has become a slight obsession. Number of pencils on my registration spreadsheet: 444. Most pencils retired in one month: 9. Maximum length for retired pencils: 2” from point to the metal cuff. Number of admitted pencil enthusiasts inducted into the club: 2.
That’s nearly 2 FULL jars of retired stubs!
Number of JT Photos 329 different photographs have been featured in the “Once Upon a Time” and “Snapshots” columns of the Jewish Times. And to date, 213 (64.7%) of these photos have been at least partially identified! This project is nearly as satisfying as retiring a pencil!
Once Upon a Time…
Number of Exhibitions. I’ve worked on 27 different full-gallery exhibitions—whether it was researching, curating, overseeing the installation, or coordinating the rentals. And in a close second place, I’ve worked with 26 different lobby exhibits either at the JMM or at an offsite location. Some of these exhibits highlighted select objects from our collections in conjunction with a program while others involved considerable skills in constructing an allegedly simple structure and hanging numerous art pieces. I’ve also travelled our various exhibitions to 50 venues across the state and as far away as the Spertus Museum in Chicago. The most memorable installation by far was installing We Call This Place Home in St. Mary’s County and discovering that the U-Haul we rented not only didn’t have working breaks but had been reported as stolen!
Number of Objects in a Single Exhibition. 1124. I didn’t even have to look that stat up, I still remember installing them all in Tchotchkes! Treasures of the Family Museum.
Oh how young and innocent I appear.
Boyfriends. 143. Although I got married in 2003, I had 143 “dates” between 2007-2008. Most of these were actually meetings with World War II veterans or their family members to gather photographs in conjunction with Ours to Fight For and lasted approximately 15 minutes, though a few did involve a corned beef sandwich at Attman’s.
Mervin Fribush and Jacob Matz are two of my WWII veteran boyfriends.
Interns. Since starting the official internship program in 2006, we’ve offered 106 internships and I’ve personally supervised 28 collections management interns. That’s an awful lot of wrangling! Not only have I helped train the next generation of museum professionals, but I’ve coordinated field trips, workshops, and activities to introduce the interns to the varied world of museums.
Just last week I received the highest compliment from a colleague in the field who said, “I know that when an intern has the Jewish Museum of Maryland on their resume that they will come in knowing how to handle objects, use the database, and be ready for whatever task comes their way.”
Magic Number. 15. Number of years I have been at the JMM. Also, an address I will always remember.
 I have definitely missed a few quarterly meetings over the years, (I can’t believe I missed the meeting when Gina H. announced that she was pregnant with twins!) but my attendance record is pretty good.
March 2014. Apparently I found a bunch of previously used pencils and made it my mission to retire as many as possible. Prior to that, six was the most.
 I had planned on writing a blog post “Tips for Traveling Exhibitions: Do not rent a stolen truck!” but ran out of time. Feel free to ask Karen Falk or Darrell Monteagudo for the details.
 Some interns have done more than one internship at the JMM, working on different projects and even in different departments.
To read past issues of Performance Counts, click here.