Performance Counts: June 2014

Posted on June 20th, 2014 by

15 Years By the Numbers

For this week’s newsletter, I asked Jobi Zink to try to summarize her history with JMM.  In the spirit of this “Performance Counts”, Jobi has elected to tell her own story “by the numbers”.   On behalf of all our Board members, staff, interns and volunteers, we wish Jobi every success and to let her know that she will be #1 with us forever.


JobiAs many of you know, I am leaving the Jewish Museum of Maryland in July. I will be moving to Philadelphia to take the position of Registrar at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. I am sad to say goodbye to my friends and favorite objects, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my career.

Since making my announcement, I have heard from staff, board, volunteers, and colleagues outside of the JMM about the impact I’ve made on the museum. I thought I would reflect on what I consider to be some of my major accomplishments over my tenure.

Number of Accessions: The first batch recorded in the accession notebook in my handwriting is 1999.037; since then 3,037 new donations have been made to the museum. Of course, over the 60 quarterly meetings that I’ve attended[1], the Collections Committee hasn’t accepted every single batch—they’ve done a diligent job sticking to materials that truly meet the JMM mission.

Number of Objects in the Collection:  10,954. Ironically, 10,000 was the number of objects believed to be in the JMM collections when I started. I am not sure what this early estimate is based on, and whether it included photographs or archival documents. When I organized the first collections inventory in 2000 (really more of a collections count), we discovered that we really had closer to 5,000 3-D artifacts.

Inventories Conducted:   5. Since that initial collections count in 2000, I have overseen 4 additional collections inventories that have each included portions of the archival and photograph collections. I also spoke about our triennial inventory project and procedures for the panel  Inventory: Intimidating! Important! But NOT Impossible!  at the 2012 MAAM Annual Conference.

Number of Hats Worn:  I’ve never actually worn any of the hats in the JMM collection. On the other hand, I’ve worn a decided number of professional hats.  I’ve had four official job titles during my tenure at JMM: Curatorial Assistant; Registrar & Curatorial Assistant; Senior Collections Manager; Acting Building Manager. I’m personally a bit partial to the five unofficial job titles held at the JMM: Queen of Traveling Exhibitions (Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator); Intern Wrangler (Internship Coordinator); Emergency Management Coordinator; Building Manager; Entertainment Committee Co-Chair. These unofficial titles reflect both the fun and serious sides of the JMM and also truly prove that the JMM is a dynamic place where no two days are ever the same.

Kind of hard to believe that its pure coincidence that I wore pink on the day of the earthquake in August 2012… and it matched my hard-hat perfectly.

Kind of hard to believe that its pure coincidence that I wore pink on the day of the earthquake in August 2012… and it matched my hard-hat perfectly.

Number of Archivists: 6. Ginny, Abby, Robin, Erin, Jon & Jennifer.  6 Collections Assistants –David, Karen H., Deborah, Olivia, Renee,  Danyelle, and Chris—(though I suspect I have accidentally forgotten someone!) have also come and gone from that “back cubicle.” All of them have made my registration work and collections management that much easier to control! I thank you all!

Many people, one title

Many people, one title

Number of Skits for Outgoing Employees: 9 (Leah, Erin, Lauren, Melissa, Avi’s retirement plus his surprise 65th birthday party that he nearly missed; Simone x 2, Anita). While a registrar loves to live by the rules, sometimes we just need to be silly. As the Co-Chair of the Entertainment Committee, I probably put in 10 hours of seriously fun work for each production.  And let us be clear, some of these skits were full-blown productions.

Check out that set piece!

Check out that set piece!

Number Pencils Retired:  229. Registrar’s love their pencils! What started as an experiment in June 2006 to see if I could use one pencil from start to finish without losing it has become a slight obsession.[2] Number of pencils on my registration spreadsheet: 444. Most pencils retired in one month: 9[3]. Maximum length for retired pencils: 2” from point to the metal cuff. Number of admitted pencil enthusiasts inducted into the club: 2.

That's nearly 2 FULL jars of retired stubs!

That’s nearly 2 FULL jars of retired stubs!

Number of JT Photos 329 different photographs have been featured in the “Once Upon a Time” and “Snapshots” columns of the Jewish Times. And to date, 213 (64.7%) of these photos have been at least partially identified! This project is nearly as satisfying as retiring a pencil!

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time…

Number of Exhibitions. I’ve worked on 27 different full-gallery exhibitions—whether it was researching, curating, overseeing the installation, or coordinating the rentals.  And in a close second place, I’ve worked with 26 different lobby exhibits either at the JMM or at an offsite location. Some of these exhibits highlighted select objects from our collections in conjunction with a program while others involved considerable skills in constructing an allegedly simple structure and hanging numerous art pieces. I’ve also travelled our various exhibitions to 50 venues across the state and as far away as the Spertus Museum in Chicago. The most memorable installation by far was installing We Call This Place Home in St. Mary’s County and discovering that the U-Haul we rented not only didn’t have working breaks but had been reported as stolen![4]

Number of Objects in a Single Exhibition. 1124. I didn’t even have to look that stat up, I still remember installing them all in Tchotchkes! Treasures of the Family Museum.

Oh how young and innocent I appear.

Oh how young and innocent I appear.

Boyfriends.  143. Although I got married in 2003, I had 143 “dates” between 2007-2008. Most of these were actually meetings with World War II veterans or their family members to gather photographs in conjunction with Ours to Fight For and lasted approximately 15 minutes, though a few did involve a corned beef sandwich at Attman’s.

Mervin Fribush and Jacob Matz are two of my WWII veteran boyfriends.

Mervin Fribush and Jacob Matz are two of my WWII veteran boyfriends.

Interns.  Since starting the official internship program in 2006, we’ve offered 106 internships[5]  and I’ve personally supervised 28 collections management interns. That’s an awful lot of wrangling!  Not only have I helped train the next generation of museum professionals, but I’ve coordinated field trips, workshops, and activities to introduce the interns to the varied world of museums.



Just last week I received the highest compliment from a colleague in the field who said, “I know that when an intern has the Jewish Museum of Maryland on their resume that they will come in knowing how to handle objects, use the database, and be ready for whatever task comes their way.”

Magic Number. 15. Number of years I have been at the JMM. Also, an address I will always remember.


[1] I have definitely missed a few quarterly meetings over the years, (I can’t believe I missed the meeting when Gina H. announced that she was pregnant with twins!) but my attendance record is pretty good.

[2] For the truly pencil obsessed please check out

[3]March 2014. Apparently I found a bunch of previously used pencils and made it my mission to retire as many as possible. Prior to that, six was the most.

[4] I had planned on writing a blog post “Tips for Traveling Exhibitions: Do not rent a stolen truck!” but ran out of time. Feel free to ask Karen Falk or Darrell Monteagudo for the details.

[5] Some interns have done more than one internship at the JMM, working on different projects and even in different departments.


To read past issues of Performance Counts, click here.

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SOUL SEARCHING: Navigating the JMM Collections

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by

Part 3 of a 3 part series on using the JMM On-line Database

Let’s pretend that you’ve been convinced you to join the 21st century the social media craze. Now that you understand that #tbt stands for Throwback Thursday and means posting an old photo on your Facebook page so people write nostalgic messages, you want to find an image of your high school sweetheart. Since you’ve been following the “Once Upon a Time” feature on the JMM blog, you know that we have a ton of photographs from Jewish Maryland in the collection. You go directly to the JMM online database and enter a keyword such as “sweetheart” and see what you find…

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.

While it was a bit surprising that “sweetheart” actually yielded images, perhaps “dance” would’ve been a better choice, since you distinctly remember smiling for the camera at the spring formal.

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

If your sweetheart is from Maryland, you can try entering his or her name in the search box. If you don’t know if she would be catalogued as “Daisy Mae” or “Daisy Duke” “Daisy” will pull up all records with her maiden or married name… and possibly some pictures of pretty flowers. The People record should also indicate alternate names and associated records!

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Finally, you find the perfect #TBT! You can right click and save image as on your desktop, then attach it to your Facebook page. While the photo should have a light watermark on it, please make sure you tag the Jewish Museum of Maryland in your caption and include the accession number (that long string of numbers starting with a 4-digit year). That what we know when someone has benefited from all our hard work (which always makes us smile!) and folks know where you found the photo—after all, they may be looking some #tbt pictures of their own.

#TBT in action

#TBT in action

Just a note of caution: If you “share” an image from the JMM Facebook or twitter, the accession number will be embedded into it. Be prepared to explain to your friends that although the photo is from 1903 and Jewish Museum accession number is 1994.111.3 (meaning that it was brought in to the museum collection in 1994)! You will impress everyone with your knowledge of the JMM and our numbering system!

JobiA blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts from Jobi, click here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

The Key to Searching: Keyword Searching

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by

JessicaFor the 2nd installment of our 3-part blog series on searching our database, we turn to Jessica Meulendyk, Museum Software Specialist/PastPerfect-Online Coordinator for some expert advice.

Keyword Searches are standard on every PastPerfect-Online site, and for most organizations, the Keyword Search page is the main starting point.  While keyword searching is appealing to most online visitors, knowing more about how it works can help visitors find their results easily.


What data is searched when you do a Keyword Search?
A keyword search will search all fields that are selected for online and are mapped to an advanced search category.  The museum sets which fields are restricted and which are searchable.


JMM specific: The JMM allows researchers to search through the descriptions, notes, condition, collection names, object names, people, subjects and search term fields. Information related to the donors, values, and other potentially sensitive data are not accessible on-line.


Are searches case sensitive?
Searches are not case sensitive.  Searching for “Smith” or “smith” will produce the same results.


Can I search for a specific string of text?
Yes.  By using quotes around the phrase (like “Memorial Day Parade”), the search results will only include records with that particular phrase in one of its fields.


Is it possible to search for “X or Y”?
Yes, you can use the operator “OR” (like football OR baseball) to widen your search.  A search using “OR” will produce records that include either keyword.


Does the keyword search allow wildcards?
Yes, you can use an asterisk (*) at the end of a keyword as a wildcard.  For example, searching for shoe* will produce results including the terms shoe, shoes, shoehorn, shoelace, shoestring, etc.


Can I narrow my search for objects only?

Yes, you can narrow your search for objects only, or objects and photos, or only records that have images attached. To the right of the search box is a small menu. Click on the radial dial to indicate if you want to search all of the records, or just those that have images attached. You can further refine your search by clicking the box next to the specific content you wish to search.


Where can I find these tips when I am searching online?

Users can click the “Help” button on the Keyword Search page.


Can I use a date as a search term?

You can use a date as a search term, but you might end up with a “false negative” if the cataloger didn’t add this information.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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