The Making of JMM Live!

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by

Trillion is on family leave for a few months, but before she left the building she shared the story of the “making of JMM Live!” for this month’s JMM Insights!  To read more posts from Trillion, click here.


It all began with a gap.  The National Archives could lend us the Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit until mid-January but couldn’t send us the Amending America exhibit until early April.  That was a long span of time for our Samson, Rossetta and Sadie B. Feldman Gallery to be dark.

During 2017 we discussed various ways to bridge the gap, including several smaller exhibits.

(We actually ended up with two:  Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, which opened at the beginning of this month, and the My Family Story student-curated projects from March 11th.)

I suggested we try something a little different. In my role as programs manager I am frequently contacted by speakers, performers, authors and many more asking for the opportunity to present at the JMM. Normally our program calendar is so busy with exhibit-related events that I can only take one or two of these requests per year, however, it occurred to me that with an open calendar perhaps we could make something of this opportunity.

I proposed a series of live events at the museum that celebrate all aspects of American Jewish performing and literary arts; this became the inspiration for JMM Live! 

I have spent the last several months working on finding a wonderful selection of programs, including author talks, musical performances, movies and theater. The topics we will explore vary from the expected, like Jewish Broadway, to the more surprising, like Jewish Punk Music. The series is designed to suit the whole family, in addition to our regular programs we also have two live festivals for kids, the first on March 4th celebrating Purim and the second on March 25th celebrating Passover.

Daveed Korup and Miss Spice will entertain kids of all ages with their concerts!

One of the most important things when planning this series was to include our very own Living History characters. Over the past few years we have developed several characters, we are very pleased to feature two of our characters as part of this series, Henrietta Szold performed by Natalie Pilcher on March 18th and Ida Rehr performed by Katherine Lyons on February 25th.

The stories of Henrietta and Ida are truly brought to life by these talented actresses!

The series has also been a lovely opportunity to work again with some wonderful partners plus build some new relationships. We are very pleased to welcome back the Global Theatre Project for a performance of Stories From the Fringe on Wednesday, March 21st. On Thursday, March 15th I am really excited about the program we will be presenting in partnership with Fells Point Corner Theater, a special preview of the theaters upcoming show Gertrude Stein and a Companion. 

The series started this Sunday with a dedication to Yiddish music with Hazzan Sara Geller of B’nai Shalom Olney, part performance, part talk and part sing-along!

There really will be something for everyone!

The series runs from February 11th until March 25th and features fourteen different performances. In my absence Lindsey Davis will be managing these programs – you can reach her at ldavis@jewishmuseummd.org but she’ll also have proxy to my e-mails.

If you can’t join us this Sunday please take a few minutes to review the full program of events here. If you see a program (or several) that appeals, reserve your tickets today – the most popular programs are selling fast!

Now is also the perfect time to become a JMM member– with all these programs you’re sure to be a repeat visitor this winter. Museum Membership includes FREE admission to the Museum every day we’re open, and to all our public programs! (Plus members get a 10% discount at Esther’s Place, the JMM gift shop.)

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Postcards for Paige

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by

Last fall Paige Woodhouse joined our team as Visitor Services Manager.  Following in the tradition of “Dear Abby” (Abby Krolik) and “Greetings Graham” (Graham Humphrey), this month Paige introduces the quarterly feature, “Postcards for Paige”, giving us a chance to answer commonly asked questions about how to make the most out of your visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland. (All the answers are real, the postcards are dubious… but these days, who knows?)


 

Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

Planning is my passion. I love to come to the Museum’s public programs so I plan my visit ahead of time. I buy my tickets online to print and bring with me. I always leave my house early to get a good seat for the lecture. However, with the wintery weather that we are having, another “bomb cyclone” could throw a wrench in my plan! What if I come to the museum for the planned program and it’s closed? How do I find out if the Museum is closed, opening late, or closing early because of the weather?

From,

Phrenetic about Precipitation

 

Hi Phren,

Your organizational skills are outstanding! Alas, the weather sometimes interrupts our best-made plans. First, your safety is very important and we ask that you don’t take any risks in unsafe conditions to come to a program. With that said, sometimes we do have to close the Museum, open a little late, or close a wee bit early. During the week, for the first day of inclement weather we follow whatever the Baltimore City Schools are doing. After the first day, or on Sundays, we make the decision ourselves. You can find those updates on our website’s front page: www.jewishmuseummd.org and on our social media.

Keep warm out there,

~ Paige

 


 

Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

This winter cold is getting to me. I need something to liven things up! I need some music to get me moving, or a few films to get my family out of the house. Maybe even some performances to get my blood pumping. Can you help me?

Sincerely,

Looking to Liven Things Up

 

Hey Looking,

Seems as if cabin fever might be getting to you. Lucky for you, we have just the program to spice up your winter! Escape from your house this February and March and experience JMM Live. From music to film to dramatic living history performances, the Museum will be celebrating the impact Jewish Americans have had on the performing arts. Check out the great line-up of events here. I bet you will be able to find something to liven up your long winter!

~ Paige


 

Postcard Reads:

Hi Paige:

I wanted to let you know how much my group enjoyed the exhibit Discovery & Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. Everyone thought our docent was wonderful. She gave them a lot of the history to the exhibit and left them really excited to have been here. Thank you for making this a great day. We want to come back soon! What exhibits will be on next? Who do we contact? How much does it cost?

From,

Happy Campers

 

Dear Happy,

I am tickled pink to hear that your group had such a positive experience at the Museum! All the credit must go to our wonderful volunteer docents.

I would love to help you arrange for your group to come back. The Museum has an exciting schedule of exhibits coming this spring. From March 8th to 25th, the My Family Story Exhibition will be on display. This exhibit shows student’s projects that illustrate their personal exploration into their family history and connections to the Jewish Community. From April 8th to May 28th, the Museum will be the host of Amending America: The Bill of Rights, a travelling exhibit from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Can’t wait that long? We’ve added another exhibit to our schedule! A panel show from Yad Vashem in Israel, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, will be on display beginning February 4th. Don’t forget that you can also go on a tour of our two historic synagogues during your visit.

To schedule your group, please send me an email at pwoodhouse@jewishmuseummd.org or call me at 410-873-5167, with the name of your group, contact information, number of people attending, and any special requirements. I will send you an intake form to complete, followed by a confirmation form with your scheduled itinerary and fee due on the date of your visit. How much does it cost to bring a group? For groups of 10 or more that reserve in advance, the cost is $5 per person.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

~ Paige


 

Postcard Reads:

Yo Paige,

I read in last week’s Sun that nearly all museums in this area are losing attendance.  How bad are things at JMM?

Where will I practice climbing stairs if all the museums go away?

~Sylvester S.

 

Mr. S.,

To quote Mark Twain, she said SLYly, “the rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated”.  2017 was a great year for JMM.  I just finished calculating the numbers and in 2017 our on-site attendance was up 26% overall from 2016 and our program attendance was up a whopping 48% year-over-year.  Every one of our exhibits, Remembering Auschwitz, Just Married! and Discovery and Recovery out-performed the same time frame in the prior year.  And JMM was not alone, several other small museums, not interviewed for the article, like our neighbors at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House also had good years.

So my advice is don’t stay in the sun too long, exercise your mind as well as your feet by coming in off the steps and experiencing what’s keeping millions of Americans coming to museums.

~ Paige

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Diving into the Associated Scrapbooks

Posted on December 22nd, 2017 by

This month’s JMM Insights comes from our archivist, Lorie Rombro. You can read more posts by Lorie here.

In the last few months I have begun working on a collection of scrapbooks from The Associated Jewish Charities. The books date back to 1919 and I have been recently investigating the late 1940’s and 1950’s scrapbooks of the publicity and campaign work of the Women’s Division. These books are incredibly interesting, giving a peek into a large, organized group of women working to help not only the Jewish community of Baltimore but people throughout the world. Reading and processing the scrapbooks has been a history lesson of the time period, here and abroad.

Scrapbooks have long been a way to preserve photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, documents, and other assorted items.

The problem with scrapbooks is that they are often put together with materials that are detrimental to long-term preservation. In the past, scrapbook pages where made of poor-quality, highly acidic paper that deteriorates rapidly and discolors. The pages would also become brittle over time and then tear easily and crumble. Often, the binding of the album was not made for the increase in size caused by the materials placed in the scrapbook, causing the spine to break and pages to come out. Papers are attached to the scrapbook with harmful tapes and/or glue. Multi- paged letters or pamphlets may be fastened only by the last sheet, causing rips and tears, or folding and crushing of documents.

For all of these reasons I have been carefully cataloging, photographing and taking apart the scrapbooks. Archivists like me always struggle with the decision whether a scrapbook should stay together or be taken apart. If possible, we try to leave a scrapbook together, since it tells a story not only with the information inside of it but how someone chose to put it together. That is why if I do dismantle a scrapbook, I carefully document its original form for future researchers. To some, these scrapbooks may only seem to contain old bits of paper, but to us they are full of important historical information.

I wanted to share some of what I have found in the scrapbooks. Not only does it give a picture of the time it was made, but some of the pieces could be produced and used today.

The two images above are from the 1949 Women’s Division scrapbook.

We hope you laugh a little at these two postcards that went out to the husbands of the women volunteering! In 1950 over 1200 women participated in the campaign.

This picture is from the 1951 G-day handbook – check out all the do’s and don’t’s they’ve got listed!

Last is my very favorite which I believe could be used today – babies are always a good tug on the heartstrings. These are images from the publicity and booklets for the 1955 Women’s Division campaign.

Making a Scrapbook to Last

Today, making a scrapbook which will stand up to the test of time is easier. Choose a book which is made with acid free paper and pH neutral adhesives for the binding. Use acid free photo corners or other type of binding, make sure all the corners are carefully attached but do not use glue.

In this picture you can see how tape discolors and negatively affects paper.

You want to be able to remove anything placed in a scrapbook, you never know when you might need it again! Scrapbooks are an incredible way to document your family history, a trip, an important event or your organization – they are worth spending a little extra money on good supplies to make sure that future generations can enjoy them.

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