The Ten Best Things about Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling

Posted on October 18th, 2019 by

JMM Insights: October 2019 comes traight from the top – JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert shares his highlights behind our newest exhibit, Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling, which opens on Sunday, October 27, 2019! Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights? You can catch up here!


I started working on our Scrap Yard exhibit more than four years ago. It opens to the public in just 10 days, so I think my excitement is understandable. But in case you’re still looking for a reason to get pumped, I thought I would share a few features that might perk your interest.

1. This is the first national traveling exhibit on the American scrap industry, an industry that came of age on the shoulders of immigrant junk peddlers of the early 20th century, grew into technologically sophisticated scrap businesses by the middle of the century and entered into global recycling in the decades preceding the millennium. It’s the story of the transformation of the families who transformed waste into useful raw material.

2. Based on an informal survey, if you are Jewish, I’ll bet you either had a relative in the scrap business or knew people who dealt with scrap. In 1930, Forbes magazine estimated that 90% of scrap dealers in America were Jewish.

3. If you or someone in your family is into BIG stuff, this exhibit is for you. We’ve got scale. Drone footage of a contemporary scrap metal yard, vintage film of ship breaking after WWI, and you can even view infrared footage of cars being swallowed whole by a shredder.

4. Speaking of scale, have you ever wondered if you’re worth your weight in gold? How about copper? This is just one more of the interactive elements that test your metal. You can also feel what it was like for peddlers to carry around a 30 lb. bag of metal or see how much strength it takes to compress a small bale of water bottles.

5. Relive a few of the most memorable moments of scrap in the movies and on TV. Remember Sanford and Son? What about the iconic car crushing scene from Goldfinger? There is also a listening station for scrap themed songs. Who knew?

6. If you like your history from primary sources, you can listen in on the true adventures of real scrap dealers at our oral history kiosks (at least they told us the adventures are true!); or explore photos in our aptly named scrapbook: or maybe encounter a profiled dealer like Morris Schapiro or Louis B. Mayer or my dad… more about that in my family biography program on January 10.

7. And that’s just one of a dozen programs lined up to accompany the exhibit. Starting with a “making of” Scrap Yard presentation by curator Zachary Levine, our plans not only include lectures by scrap historians (yes, there are experts in the history of scrap) but also family days and environmental action opportunities and on Mitzvah Day, the Disney film wall-E.

8. There are, as you might expect, some wonderful artifacts in the exhibit too: a dirt bike, disassembled into its component materials, a classic International Business Machines punch clock circa 1920 (when Watson was the name of the company’s president, not its chess program), and a board game about the virtues of scrap drives in WWII called “Get into the Scrap.”

9. Our education team was inspired to create a game of our own to use the dynamics of the scrap business to teach market economics to visiting school groups especially at the middle school and high school levels. For more information about this program and our science activities for elementary schools contact Ilene Dackman-Alon at idackmanalon@jewishmuseummd.org.

10. Last, but not least, I hope you’ll be excited to see one of the largest credit panels in JMM history – ok, I know this doesn’t sound as cool as the first nine, but trust me, there is a very special feeling to a project put together by a whole community – both those whose lives revolved around the industry and those who were interested in exploring a novel experience. I thank them all.


Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling is made possible, in part, through the support of our generous donors: Institute for Museum and Library Services; National Endowment For The Humanities; Boston Metals Co. in Memory of Morris Schapiro; The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; David Berg Foundation; Baltimore Scrap: David, Larry, Ken, and Joe Simon; Liebherr; The Gershowitz Family and Gershow Recycling; Integrated Shredder Technology.

Additional support provided by: Diamond State Recycling Corporation; Arnold and Joyce Fruman; The Sandy Shapiro Charitable Fund; Sue and Jerry Kline; Deborah Zager, in loving memory of my father, Sammy Kahan, founder of Ansam Metals Corporation; Ray Aizen, Maryland Core, Inc.; Pinkert Family Foundation; Melvin A. Lipsitz Family Foundation; J. Solotken & Company; Ellen Kahan Zager and Jack Zager Philanthropic Fund; Robin Wiener and Roger Nehrer; Davis Industries; Howard Fields, in memory of my Pinkert grandad and uncles; ScrapWare Corporation; Atlantic Recycling Group; Dan Pinkert and Freddi Greenberg; Brian Shine, Manitoba Corporation; Kripke Enterprises; Neal Shapiro; Dale and Betsey Pinkert.


 

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JMM Insights: The Upstanders Initiative

Posted on September 20th, 2019 by

For more than three decades JMM’s exhibits have been providing curious visitors with meaningful experiences that inspire discussion, thought and further study.  Recently, as part of JMM’s evolution we’ve been exploring ways to take the next step – to turn memory into action. This exploration has led to a new partnership with The Associated’s Jewish Volunteer Connection. In this month’s edition of JMM Insights, Visitor Services Coordinator Talia Makowsky shares the first tangible benefits of that partnership. We hope it will inspire you to join in!


JMM loves volunteers. Of course, this includes the volunteers who work directly at our site, but our love of volunteers goes beyond just the individuals supporting us. With stories of amazing and hardworking people informing our mission at the Museum, we know how much of a difference a single individual can make. We also know how transforming volunteerism can be, when people work together towards a common goal. That’s why we’re sharing in Jewish Volunteer Connection’s (JVC) motto, in Living with Purpose, and partnering with them to create the Upstanders Initiative.

An upstander is the opposite of a bystander. An upstander sees a problem and works to solve it. We’re connecting the stories of our exhibits with JVC’s network of volunteer opportunities, to encourage our Museum community to become upstanders. Plus, when you participate in the Upstanders Program, you can be eligible for raffle drawings and even a free trip to the Museum!

In anticipation of our new exhibit, Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling and to celebrate JVC’s Season of Service, our focus is on the innovative ways that people have worked to recycle used materials, the immigrant stories that make up the scrap industry, and how people have worked to create more green spaces for community members to share.

One opportunity we’re carrying over from our past exhibits is sorting clothes for Sharp-Dressed Man. Sharp-Dressed Man works to empower men by providing them with recycled suits they can wear as they participate in job development. As we learned with our Fashion Statement exhibit, the way we dress can express a lot about us, our personalities, our favorite sports teams, our religion. This, of course, extends to the first impression in a job interview. As a well-worn saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and Sharp-Dressed Man is doing just that in Baltimore and LA, for many low-income men.

Because Sharp-Dressed Man achieves their mission through recycling used clothing, we decided to feature it with our Scrap Yard exhibit. Not only is Sharp-Dressed Man helping people to reenter the workforce, but they’re also working to repurpose used materials to improve lives. It’s an excellent fit, and we’re pleased JVC brought this opportunity to our Museum visitors. To find out how to help, visit this link.

When thinking about coordinating a volunteer opportunity with Stitching History from the Holocaust, all of us were taken with Hedy Strnad’s story, as she tried and failed to escape the Holocaust. In order to pay tribute to her memory, we chose to feature ¡Adelante Latina!, which works with high school Latina girls as they overcome barriers toward their college careers. By providing these ambitious young women with a meal for the evening, you can help them focus on working towards their goals and their future.

Wanting to reflect the hardworking, immigrant stories found in Scrap Yard, we will continue to offer this opportunity. We invite you to honor those immigrant stories, which are so closely tied with Jewish experiences in the US, by helping to provide meals to these hardworking students. More information can be found here.

In addition to these continuing opportunities, we also have a few new ways to help that relate to our Scrap Yard exhibit.

The 6th Branch works with neighborhood leaders to transform vacant lots into community green centers. Their mission fits in well with our Scrap Yard exhibit, as they repurpose old lots into new spaces for people to enjoy the outdoors. By leveraging the leadership skills of military veterans, the 6th Branch is transforming Baltimore neighborhoods and bringing communities together.

Their story of empowerment and vision is an exciting addition to the opportunities we have already shared. To find out how to volunteer with the 6th Branch, which has hours four days a week, visit this link.

We are also pleased to feature Leveling the Playing Field, which gives underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of youth sports participation. Through donations of used and excess sports equipment, Leveling the Playing Field helps sports programs become more accessible to more children. By saving on equipment costs, these programs can lower registration fees, expand their programs, and develop new ones.

Leveling the Playing Field needs volunteers to help sort donated items, practicing the same skills that scrap workers do as they try to figure out what what kind of value discarded items have as raw material. Learn these skills yourself by volunteering with them here.

Finally, to continue to theme of repurposing used materials, we want to feature Chana’s Clothing Sheds. CHANA offers a Jewish community response to the needs of people who experience abuse and other forms of interpersonal trauma. One of the ways they provide support is through clothing donations. The four sheds, located at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Temple Oheb Shalom, the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC, and the Weinberg Park Heights JCC, collect gently used clothing, shoes, linens, and stuffed animals.

Simply drop off items for donation in a tied plastic bag to any of these locations.

Join JMM and JVC in becoming Upstanders and help us support our Baltimore and Maryland communities. Every time you participate in an Upstanders Initiative program, you’re eligible for an entry in JVC’s monthly raffle. Once you volunteer in person with the Upstanders Initiative, you’ll also receive free admission to the Museum. We want to celebrate your hard work, and we hope that you join us in standing up for others and living with purpose!


Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights?
You can catch up here!


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Highlights from the 2019 Summer Teachers Institute

Posted on August 16th, 2019 by

For this month’s edition of JMM Insights, Director of Learning and Visitor Experience Ilene Dackman-Alon shares highlights of this year’s Summer Teachers Institute. This annual educator training has become a core part of the JMM calendar.  It has never been more important to enable teachers to effectively share Holocaust history in their classrooms and our program has never been stronger!

~Marvin

Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights? You can catch up here!


Attendees of the 2019 Summer Teachers Institute: Women and the Holocaust

Last week, August 5-7, the 2019 Summer Teachers Institute (STI) brought together a community of learners to explore best practices in teaching Holocaust education.   The community of learners included over 45 teachers from public, Jewish and private along with a few JMM Board members, staff, volunteers and interns for the 3-day professional development opportunity. This year’s SOLD-OUT program, Women and the Holocaust, provided participants with new ideas as well as new program and education resources to help make Holocaust Education more meaningful for students. The following are program highlights!


Day 1

Our first day convened at the Jewish Museum of Maryland with a brief tour of the exhibits, Stitching History From the Holocaust and Fashion Statement.  Following the gallery tour, Linda Medvin, Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education presented on the theme of Women and the Holocaust.  The group examined the many different roles that women play during their everyday lives – their “Universe of Obligation,” and how this sense of obligation pushed women to make sacrifices and accept challenges during the war.  One of the highlights of the session was watching the short film Pigeon provided by Facing History and Ourselves, followed by a discussion of obligation. Linda provided resources and materials to help illustrate ways in which women were perpetrators, resistors, rescuers and victims during the Holocaust.

After lunch, JMM Board member, Nancy Kutler shared her mother’s (Hannah Rath) personal story of survival growing up in Germany.  Nancy shared with the group that her mother was sent to a ghetto in Riga, Latvia, then to various camps — and ultimately to Stutthof.  Following the war, Hannah met her future husband, George Rath, a survivor of the Buchenwald Concentration camp, and the two headed for a new life in the United States and married in 1947.   Nancy shared with the group that her mother spent a lot of time in schools sharing her personal story of survival.  Nancy found letters from school children after her mother’s death, and this was the catalyst that inspired Nancy to continue to share her mother’s incredible story.

Attendees also had the opportunity to attend different sessions in the afternoon.

JMM educator, Marisa Shultz, presented a lesson on using historic newspapers in the classroom in connection to the USHMM’s exhibit, Americans & The Holocaust.  We debuted the Anne Frank oculus tours of the secret annex in Amsterdam provided by the Anne Frank Center USA; and our teachers had the opportunity to go on tours of the historic synagogues and meet with Jessica Fink, librarian at the CJE Lending library.


Day 2

Day Two found us in Washington, DC at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to viewing the permanent exhibits, we were able to tour a new exhibit, Americans and the Holocaust before the regular opening hours of the Museum. The exhibit examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped American attitudes and responses to the threats of Nazism and Hitler’s regime during the 1930’s and 1940’s, revealing how much information was available to Americans at the time. We were fortunate to travel to DC with Howard and Esther Kaidenow, both survivors of the Holocaust who shared with the group their experiences of survival during the war.  Esther came to the United States and was placed in a Displaced Persons Camp is Oswego, New York which is highlighted in the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit.

After lunch, we travelled to Beth Shalon Synagogue in Columbia where we had the privilege to meet Edith Cord, who shared her experiences growing up in Vienna, Italy and France in her attempt to go into hiding and escape the terror of the Nazi regime. Mrs. Cord’s story is one of strength, and determination as she told her story of survival and the lessons, she learned the hard way.  Mrs. Cord spoke about how she rose above the difficult circumstances that transcend hatred, how she was able to find meaning in life and how it is important to protect our freedoms.  She shares her experiences and the lessons learned the hard way: how to rise above difficult experiences.


Day 3

Day Three took place at the American Visionary Museum in connection to the exhibit, Esther and the Dream of One Loving Human Family on display through 2024.  The exhibit highlights the beautiful tapestries that Esther Krinitz created illustrating her childhood years growing up in Poland during World War II. Esther’s daughter, Bernice Steinhardt opened the morning highlighting the work of Art and Remembrance, a non-profit organization that uses art and personal narrative to recognize individual courage and resilience, and to foster understanding and compassion for those who experience injustice.   Bernice shared the 30-minute documentary, Through the Eye of the Needle that examines the life of Esther Krinitz and how she survived the Holocaust as a teenager and how she came to tell her life story in a series of 36 fabric collages and embroidered panels.

Following the film participants split between the opportunity to go on a tour with Bernice and view the collages or go to a session that highlighted the resources and lesson plans that were prepared by Claire Tesh and lmnoeducation, LLC.  In connection to the exhibit.   All participants loved viewing the collages and felt that lesson plans were wonderful resources for the classroom.

During lunch, Rebecca Hoffberger welcomed our attendees and spoke about the fabric installations and her vision for the next five years as the works are displayed at AVAM.  Our afternoon session consisted of a Story Cloth Workshop where attendees tried their hand at storytelling by creating their own fabric collages.  Following the workshop, our teachers had the opportunity to share their personal stories and fabric creations with one another.


We make sure to collect evaluations from participants after each day of the Summer Teachers Institute. We were delighted by the responses and feedback we received, here are just a few:

>“Since this is my first time here @ STI, I’ve loved everything.  Thank You!!!”

>“I enjoyed the timeline activity that showed that things didn’t just happen overnight.  I think this will be great to share with our students.”

>WOW!!!  Edith is a phenomenal speaker as well as a sharp, power and inspirational person.  She should be a TED talk!”

>“I am so happy to learn that this exhibit will be here for years.  I intend to bring my daughters before it leaves.  I connected to so much today, especially the level of love for humanity.”

>Everything about Esther’s story was phenomenal.  I really enjoyed the museum’s director’s discussion as well.”

I also received this lovely email from a participant:

“I just wanted to thank you and your staff for your efforts and for the outstanding program that you developed for this past Summer Teachers Institute.  The Institute offered a large variety of engaging and informative options for examining the topic of Women and the Holocaust.  The speakers were well-prepared and passionate about their subjects.  The activities were enriching and hopefully some will be applicable to the classroom.   The timing of this program during the Nine Days preceding Tisha B’av made it even more meaningful as this is the time of year, we focus on tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.”

Because our Summer Teachers Institute meets the qualifications of both the Maryland State Department of Education as well as Baltimore City Public Schools for high quality professional development (to qualify, we need to submit an application for review), we can offer participants professional development credit. To be eligible for the credit, teachers must turn in a written reflection (for MSDE credit) as well as an implementation plan (i.e. lesson plan, for Baltimore City). These reflections and teaching plans provide another measure for assessing programmatic impact for teachers and which resources they plan on using. It was gratifying to learn from this year’s submissions that teachers plan on integrating content from each session as well and many of the websites, books and lesson plans they received. Evaluation and reflections also provide important feedback as we plan for next year’s program.

We are grateful to our program partners: Baltimore Jewish Council, American Visionary Art Museum and MSDE for their help in planning this year’s program. We are also grateful to our program funders, Judy and Jerry Macks and Family and the Joan and Joseph Klein, Jr., Foundation for enabling us to reach out to such a such a diverse group of educators and provide them with valuable training and classroom resources.


 

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