JMM Insights: Not Just for Anniversary Years

Posted on February 19th, 2016 by

Last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz we presented a program with Shiri Sandler on the exhibit developed by the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York titled A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. Shiri shared the story of town in which Jews had resided for centuries that has come to be known as a symbol of the Holocaust. While we wanted to create a special program for the anniversary year, JMM’s commitment to Holocaust education and fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of that history on our community and wider world is ongoing.

Fron the Kulturebund

Fron the Kulturebund

For the past ten years we have partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) in leading a highly successful collaborative Holocaust professional development opportunity. Our annual Summer Teachers Institute is a workshop teaching best practices in Holocaust education. Presenters are invited from around the country to share their knowledge and resources with our local educators. This year STI is planned for Monday, August 1st thru Wednesday, August 3rd and will focus on the art of the Holocaust. While the program is geared for educators, it is open to anyone interested in participating. For more information please contact Deborah Cardin at dcardin@jewishmuseummd.org.

Book Cover

Book Cover

This February we decided to offer three programs highlighting personal dimensions of the Holocaust story.  Last week Susan Sullam shared the story of her father Joel Fisher ,who following the war worked as a Monuments Man locating goods plundered by the Nazis. This Sunday at 1:00pm we have our rescheduled lecture with Gail Prensky titled Playing For Life: Art Under Tyranny, exploring the story of a group of Jewish musicians and artists who survived Nazi Germany. Then next week, in conjunction with Chizuk Amuno, we welcome Jennifer Teege, author of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past for her presentation Discovering A Nazi Legacy: One Family’s Story. You can RSVP for Jennifer’s presentation here.

with Stephanie Satie

with Stephanie Satie

We are also in the process of planning one further program in remembrance of the Holocaust for later this year, again in partnership with BJC plus Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. We are very pleased to welcome Stephanie Satie back to Baltimore to perform her one woman show Silent Witness. This performance marks our 10th Annual Herbert H. and Irma B. Risch Memorial Program on Immigration taking place on Sunday, April 10th at Baltimore Hebrew Synagogue. The performance draws upon conversations and interviews with child survivors of the Holocaust and paints an uplifting portrait of human resilience.

Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum Bar Mitzvah from A Town Known as Auschwitz.

Jakob Enoch Rosenbaum Bar Mitzvah from A Town Known as Auschwitz.

And we have begun planning for next February when we will bring together three exhibits connected to the remembrance of this tragic period in our history. First, the project that Shiri Sandler spoke about last year, second, from Yad Vashem Auschwitz Album: The Story of Transport. This exhibit contains the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which comes for a collection of photos taken in 1944 by either Ernst Hoffman or Bernhard Walter, two SS men stationed at the camp. Third, a project combining art and family history. Artist Lori Shocket will join us this summer to help facilitate a series of workshops where Holocaust survivors and their families are invited to develop collages reflecting their individual experiences .The pieces will be combined to create a powerful installation, showing that even in the midst of great physical destruction, the human spirit has the ability to transcend.

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Insights: Fun (with a serious purpose)

Posted on January 22nd, 2016 by

I would be the first to admit that we’ve had a great deal of fun with our recent projects – “Paul Simon: Words and Music”, “Cinema Judaica”, “The A-mazing Mendes Cohen” but in this JMM Insights I want to remind us of why this type of fun matters.  You can call this my version of a “State of the History Museum Address”.

I begin with an observation: Today we sit within an ocean of information, never have so many Americans had easy access to eyewitness accounts of history; visual databases of historic artifacts; timelines, graphs and charts of every description.  Yet it is hard to argue that we have a deeper understanding of our past.  Politicians and pundits invoke an imaginary past with impunity – pretending, for example, that Japanese internment was a solution to a real problem in WWII or that slavery wasn’t the primary cause of the Civil War.  Nonsense is repeated with the same authority as fact and we lose our grip on reality.

So why don’t more of us take advantage of available resources to make ourselves better informed?

  1. We lack motivation and inspiration – this is where the “fun” part matters; we need to build good habits for exploring history the same way you would develop good habits for physical exercise or reading books – you need for lower barriers of engagement and increase rewards of participation. History museums are particularly good at this.
  2. We don’t see ourselves as history “makers” – we offer labs for science courses because we know that true understanding of scientific processes is more durable and deep when people make discoveries for themselves; history is not commonly taught this way in school – often relying exclusively on secondary sources written decades or centuries after the events. History museums allow visitors to “uncover” information from original sources.
  3. As a society we don’t value history. To many of us in the museum field today this is the most troubling cause of our collective version of Alzheimer’s. Most of us have heard of STEM, some of us have heard of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) but for at least a generation the history community has been pretty quiet about promoting its brand.  Public history has been starved of resources both within the formal education system (social studies as it turns out was “the child left behind”) and in public support for history museums, historic sites and historic parks, all of which lost government funding in the 2008 recession – and to put it politely, “have not participated in the recovery.”

A group of us have decided the time has come to change the public dialogue.  At the AASLH meeting in 2013 there was the formal launch of a national History Relevance Campaign, spearheaded by Baltimore’s own John Durel.  For more information on the Campaign check out their website: http://www.historyrelevance.com/

The core of the Campaign is the Value of History statement – a common expression of the public history community.  Both the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Greater Baltimore History Alliance endorsed the statement this fall.  If you feel as we do, I urge you to download a copy of the statement for yourself – share it with friends and family and let people know why history isn’t just a “nice-to-have”, it’s an essential.

Closer to home Preservation Maryland is organizing a Preservation and History Advocacy Day in Annapolis on February 9.  This year Preservation Maryland has included new funding for history museums in its advocacy agenda in addition to its ongoing strong support of the Maryland Heritage Area Authority.  In a subsequent newsletter we will share details on how you can let our legislators know that history matters to you.

MarvinA blog post by JMM Executive Director Marvin Pinkert. To read more posts from Marvin click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




JMM Insights: Greetings Graham!

Posted on December 18th, 2015 by

Regular readers of this newsletter may recall that our former visitor services manager Abby Krolik wrote a quarterly “Dear Abby” column to answer questions about JMM operations that we just knew were on your mind.  Our current manager, Graham Humphrey, is reviving this tradition and so we bring you “Greetings Graham.”
 
Greetings Graham,
I was planning on coming to see the Paul Simon exhibit – because I have a thing about Paul Simon.  Problem is that I’m coming from a galaxy far-far-away and don’t want to discover that all the tickets have gone over to the dark side.  Is there a way to buy tickets in advance?  May the force be with you.

Leia

Yes, there is! We have started an online ticketing program for the Paul Simon exhibit. You are not required to buy tickets in advance, but we have set up a system for the convenience of our visitors. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, you can visit this link (http://jewishmuseummd.org/paul-simon-words-and-music-get-your-tickets/) and choose which day and time you would like to visit. After you pay securely on our website, please either print out your confirmation or have it readily available on your phone when you visit the Museum. Don’t worry if you cannot come during the timeslot you picked; you can use the ticket anytime you please.

Greetings Graham,

I just got back home from a great trip to the chocolate factory and saw on TV your Director, Marvin Pinkert, talk about the Paul Simon exhibit.  How can I arrange for my friends to come visit?

Yours,
Mike Teavee

We would love to have you and your friends visit our Paul Simon exhibit! Please either call me at 410-732-6400 ext. 235 or send an email to ghumphrey@jewishmuseummd.org. In your message, please include what dates/times works for your group, how many people you expect to attend and any special needs you may have. Don’t postpone calling or writing as dates are filling up quickly. Also remember that the exhibit closes on January 18th!

Greetings Graham,

I came to the Museum a few Sundays ago at 2pm, but found out the program began at 1pm. I thought you always have programs at the same time on Sundays?

Frustrated Anne

NO! We sometimes change program times to take into consideration big city wide events, such as Ravens games. It is thus very important you read the event information carefully to ensure you don’t miss a fabulous program.

Greetings Graham,

My grandchildren are visiting and love to create music by banging their hands on my table and stomping their feet to create some beats. I don’t think my table can survive another week. Oy vey! Do you have any suggestions of a program that they could attend at the Museum?

Sincerely,
My antique table can’t handle it

Yes! Christmas Day is Mitzvah Day at the Jewish Museum and we will be having a host of programs including a children’s activity in the morning where your grandchildren can make musical gifts for other children spending the holidays in the Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital. For our adult visitors, our Executive Director, Marvin Pinkert, will be talking about the influence of people of Jewish heritage on the American Folk Revival at 1 pm. Please clink on this link (http://jewishmuseummd.org/single/mitzvah-day/) for more information. Remember too that the Museum will be open from 10 am-3 pm on Christmas Day and on New Years Eve.

Greetings Graham,

I overheard that you will be doing a chicken soup exhibit. I have won multiple awards for my Matzah ball soup. Would you like my recipe?

Yours,
Edna

Starting on March 13th, we will be opening our next original exhibit, “Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America.” (http://jewishmuseummd.org/single/beyond-chicken-soup-jews-and-medicine-in-america/). While the exhibit will be focused more on the interplay between culture, religion and the practice of medicine, we will be doing a cook off sometime next year where you can share your Matzah ball soup recipe with the community. Please watch out for more details.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




« Previous PageNext Page »