Greetings Graham – The “Beyond Chicken Soup” Edition

Posted on March 18th, 2016 by

Today’s JMM Insights features our quarterly highlights of fictional messages to visitor services manager, Graham Humphrey.  Any resemblance to real people is pure coincidence.  Hey, it’s almost Purim.

We do have one real announcement to share however.  We have rescheduled our Annual Meeting.  The new date for the Annual Meeting is Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  Our featured speaker will be Dr. Jay Perman, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.

 

Greetings Graham,

I visited the Museum last month, but was so disappointed to find out that the Paul Simon exhibit about my buddy had closed. What is the next exhibit you’ll have and how long will it run?

Yours Artfully

 

“Artfully”,

Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America opened on March 13 and will remain at the Museum until January 16th, 2017. Inside, you’ll find interactive activities, multimedia effects and more than 400 artifacts, documents and images. You will get to journey through the worlds of health in the mid-20th century, from med school to the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy –and even a trip to the gym.  You can also experience hands-on encounters with medicine and ethics, explore stories at the juncture of science and culture and examine the links between traditions and contemporary practices. Please visit our website, http://chickensoupexhibit.org/, to learn more. You’ll have the option of buying tickets in advance by visiting https://jmm.tixato.com/buy. However, advance tickets are not required and you can still buy them when you arrive at the Museum.

Can't wait to see you!

Can’t wait to see you!

Greetings Graham,

OK, what is this I hear about books from overseas being imported into an exhibit about American medicine!  First it was undocumented foreigners, now its foreign documents. Kindly explain yourself.

Fanny Farmisht

Dear Ms. Farmisht,

It is true that our exhibit on Jews and Medicine in America has rare manuscripts from the National Library of Israel, but there is a perfectly logical explanation.  They are part of a collection originally gathered by Dr. Harry Friedenwald right here in Baltimore.  Dr. Friedenwald was inspired by his father (both eye doctors) to explore the question of the connection between medicine and Jewish experience.  His documents included Latin translations of Maimonedes and a medical diploma from an Italian renaissance university.  Dr. Friedenwald gave his collection of hundreds of documents to the National Library of Israel in 1947.  The NLI has sent JMM a few of these originals which we will display in a recreation of Dr. Friedenwald’s study

Some of the fabulous books the National Library of Israel has lent us.

Some of the fabulous books the National Library of Israel has lent us.

Greetings Graham,

I bought a Graceland CD and Paul Simon mug during the Paul Simon exhibit. What merchandise will you have in stock for the Medicine exhibit?

JMM Shopaholic

 

JMM Shopaholic,

We had a great time shopping for this exhibit and we believe you will have a blast too browsing through our shop! We will sell medically themed trays, water bottles, coasters, storage tins, plates and greeting cards. We also have scientific flask style dishware, chemistry lab notebooks, posters and the newly published Beyond Chicken Soup exhibition catalogue. You can still purchase Paul Simon merchandise at a great discount such as journals, magnets, vinyl design clocks, folk music themed CDs. We even a few mugs left if you wished to purchase another for a friend! You may also notice one other addition to the shop as it has been renamed “Esther’s Place,” after our long time shop manager, Esther Weiner, who retired last year.

All this and more could be yours! Remember, JMM members get a 10% discount in the shop.

All this and more could be yours! Remember, JMM members get a 10% discount in the shop.

Greetings Graham,

I see all this information your Beyond Chicken Soup exhibit. I have an award winning matzah ball soup recipe. Would you like my recipe?

Mrs.  Manischewitz

 

Mrs. Manischewitz,

Thank you for offering your matzah ball soup recipe, however the exhibit is more about the intersection of Jewish culture and medicine than about actual chicken soup. Yet, we will have a cook off in the fall…stay tuned for details. In the meantime, here are a few other programs coming up. This weekend, we’ll have a lecture by Dr. Edward Halperin on the Rise and Fall of the American Jewish Hospital. On April 6th, health professionals have the opportunity to network and learn more about the exhibit and then on April 17th, there will be a talk about the American Jews and the early Birth Control Movement.

Keep an eye on the calendar because this is another fun program coming up!

Keep an eye on the calendar because this is another fun program coming up!

 

Greetings Graham,

We are traveling a lot but we expect to be in Maryland in April.  Our schedule is very busy these days –so we really would like to know more about your exhibit before we make a commitment to come and visit.  Where can we find out more?

Hillary and Bernie

 

Dear Hillary and Bernie,

While nothing beats seeing the exhibit with your own eyes, we do have some really great background information at our special website: www.chickensoupexhibit.org.  Try clicking on the “Explore” tab to learn more about each section of the exhibit (it’s also a great way to extend your experience after the visit).  When the exhibit travels, we’ll be posting its upcoming schedule here too.   Who knows, it might go to Washington, DC and maybe that will be a more convenient site for one of you.

The Homepage

The Homepage

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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