Inescapable: America’s first international superstar makes a return visit to Baltimore!

Posted on September 25th, 2017 by

A blog post by JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. You can read more posts by Marvin here.


JMM Insights, September 20, 2017

The New Year is upon us and in addition to wishing all our readers a happy and healthy year ahead, I wanted to share some exciting news about the year ahead.

By now most of you know about our next two major exhibits in the Feldman Gallery (both of which have their origin at the National Archives).  On October 15 we open Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage featuring more than 20 artifacts and documents from the Iraqi Jewish community, recovered and restored from Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters.  Looking ahead to next spring, we’ll be launching Amending America: Bill of Rights on April 9 and putting new focus on the Lloyd Street Synagogue as a landmark of religious freedom.

A pair of exhibits from the National Archives

A pair of exhibits from the National Archives

But this summer we’ve continued to add to our calendar, developing a concept for a month-long performance series called “JMM Live” in February, an expansion of our Baltimore edition of the “My Family History” project in March and a collaboration with the Everyman Theater and Rich Hollander on a companion exhibit to the upcoming play Book of Joseph highlights March and April.

Every one of these projects will be a quality experience (and of course, I love all my children and all my exhibits equally) but I have to admit there’s a special excitement around our most recent addition to the program calendar.  On June 21, 2018 we will premiere Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini.  Houdini, aka Erik Weisz, would be a fascinating subject for an exhibit in any time or place.  But the story of a poor immigrant who escaped the shackles of social norms to rise to the status of international celebrity seemed like an ideal topic for an exhibit in our era.  To put together this project we’ve reached out to public museums and private collectors across the country – but what really has made the exhibit possible is our extraordinary guest curator, Baltimore magician and storyteller David London.

Coming Summer 2018!

Coming Summer 2018!

David has been creating interactive magical experiences for over 20 years. He is the Director of Circus of Wonders, and has been fascinated with Harry Houdini since he was a child.  He tells me that he performed his first magic trick at age seven and even his Bar Mitzvah speech explored Jews and magic. Since he signed onto the project in August, he’s been using his network of contacts within the magician community to make this exhibit a truly one-of- a-kind encounter with Houdini and his world. As a special treat for our readers, David has agreed to write a guest blog that we are calling “Finding Houdini,” where he will document his journey over the next several months as his visits Houdini sites, museums and collections. To join him on his adventures, click here! Consider this a small dip of honey to make your New Year that much sweeter.

Shana Tova!

~Marvin

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JMM Insights: Welcome to the Team

Posted on August 18th, 2017 by

This month’s JMM Insights is from our newest team member, Lorie Rombro.

Hi! My name is Lorie Rombro and I am the JMM’s brand new archivist.

Hi! My name is Lorie Rombro and I am the JMM’s brand new archivist.

I have always enjoyed museums and, after college where I studied Archaeology and Anthropology, I went for a Masters in Museum Studies from George Washington University. That was an incredible experience; many of our classes were at the Smithsonian. Getting a chance to explore behind the scenes in the museums after they closed to the public really sparked my love of collections and archives.

I have spent the majority of my career until now working in historic house museums as well as assisting a donor in starting a museum in San Antonio, Texas.  My free time is spent with my husband, my two boys and our dog, Bowzer, which keeps me very busy!

The JMM Archives Room, where I've been spending a lot of my time!

The JMM Archives Room, where I’ve been spending a lot of my time!

This is my third week as the Archivist at the Jewish Museum of Maryland and so far this has been an amazing experience. I didn’t have a chance to physically see the JMM archives before I accepted the job, and now that I’ve had a chance to dive in I’m overwhelmed by just how much information is housed here! Our archives cover the rich and vibrant history of the Jews in Maryland, and there is a lot of it.

So I am exploring, which has always been one of my favorite parts of working in a museum. I am from Baltimore and, although I think I know my own history, I have been learning so much about the Jewish history of Maryland and the institutions, organizations and people who built our community.

So many things to see in our online collections!

So many things to see in our online collections!

As an explorer, of course I had to look up my own last name in the Past Perfect Collection Database (which is available online).   I wasn’t expecting to find anything, so I was pretty excited when a Bluefeld Caterers receipt from my father’s Bar Mitzvah in 1958 came up!  It seems like such a small thing but that one piece of paper led to an amazing conversation with my father.

A humble receipt leads to so much more!

A humble receipt leads to so much more!

My father showed me his Bar Mitzvah photo album, which I had never seen before. It was the first time I had ever seen a photo of his great grandmother and some of my own great grandparents. I learned more about my history from a catering receipt then I thought possible. It’s why preserving the past is so important and shows how much one piece of paper may mean to future generations. (Also as a parent of a 12 year old boy and planning a Bar Mitzvah myself I was really impressed with the $4 dollar a person catering price.)

I can’t wait to see what else I will discover as the archivist at the Jewish Museum of Maryland!

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Greetings Graham: Just Married edition

Posted on July 21st, 2017 by

Greetings Graham,

I’m in Baltimore for the summer and I need things to do! I grew up here but I haven’t been back since I was a kid and I want to make the best of the time I have. What do you recommend I see?

~Busy Bee

We are so glad you are coming back to Baltimore this summer! We just opened Just Married: Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland  which explores how Jewish Marylanders have navigated the multitude of options to create a meaningful ceremony, from what they wear to who officiates to whether and what they use for a chuppah.

Yemenite bride, 1958. via.

Yemenite bride, 1958. via.

We have several Sunday programs coming up such as Sephardic Weddings: Traditions of Yesterday and Today on August 20th or The Myth of the “Authentic Jewish Wedding” on August 27th.

September 17th!

September 17th!

If you are still around on September 17th, I would recommend coming to the JMM where you can hear true personal stories about the wonder and wackiness of weddings from people. Please note that Stoop Stories is a premium program and everyone, including members (at a special discount rate), will need to purchase tickets.


 

Greetings Graham,

My best friend is getting married soon and I am trying to find a wedding gift. Do you have any suggestions?

~Lazy Susan

You have come to the right place! Devan Southerland, our shop Assistant, would be more than happy to help find the perfect wedding gift. We have intricately crafted silver candlesticks, traditional and fun mezuzahs, playful tzadakah boxes, beautifully designed Spode china wedding cups, framed prints for the home and even teacups which form a heart shape. We also have plenty of picture frames to choose from to capture the memories of your friend’s special day. I am confident you will not leave Esther’s Place emptyhanded!

Marrying Maryland

Marrying Maryland

After your friend’s wedding, feel free to share pictures on our Marrying Maryland Tumblr page. Just go to https://marryingmaryland.tumblr.com/ and click “Submit a post” to get started.


 

Greetings Graham,

I am a social studies teacher and would like to show my students some of the different cultures of the world. I know the Middle East has rich Jewish history, but I don’t where to go to find out more about it. Can you recommend anything?

~Re-energized teacher

Dear Re-energized teacher,

The JMM’s upcoming exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving the Iraqi Jewish Archive is a wonderful place for you to start your journey! The exhibit features recovered Iraqi Jewish artifacts such as a Torah case, the Babylonian Talmud, and documents and photographs from everyday life at the turn of the century in Iraq. Be sure to come by the JMM to take in all the exciting elements of the Iraqi Jewish Archives, starting October 15 and ending January 15. You will not want to miss this.

If you would like to plan a field trip, please get in touch with our Visitor Services Coordinator, Graham Humphrey  at ghumphrey@jewishmuseummd.org, and he would be more than happy to arrange your visit. In addition to our current temporary exhibit, we have a full range of educational programs including synagogue tours, archival explorations and living history performances. We hope to see you at the JMM soon!

Opening October 2017.

Opening October 2017.


 

Greetings Graham,

I deeply enjoyed the Remembering Auschwitz exhibit this past spring and was looking for any additional opportunities relating to the Holocaust.

JMM Member

Dear JMM Member,

Thank you for your continued support! We rely on members like to support our exhibits, programming and general operating expenses. We are glad you were able to see the Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust and Humanity exhibit.

Starting on August 14th, we will be offering our annual Summer Teacher’s Institute. The theme this year is “Teaching the Holocaust in the 21st Century.” It promises to be an exciting three days of learning, discussion and even includes a field trip to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington ,D.C.  Don’t worry if you are not a teacher. This program is open to everyone and the cost is only $25! If this looks of interest to you, please fill out and return the application.

2017 Summer Teachers Institute

2017 Summer Teachers Institute

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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