Can’t Touch This: Voices from the Basement Part 1

Posted on August 17th, 2017 by

This summer we asked our summer interns to team up and create their very own podcast episodes. Over the course of ten weeks they needed to pitch a concept, draft a script, and record and edit their podcasts. We’re going to share those podcasts here with you on the blog over the course of the next few weeks! You can see all of their podcasts by clicking on the intern podcast tag.


 

Interns Joelle and Amy posing with one of the many historic dresses they worked with this summer.

Interns Joelle and Amy posing with one of the many historic dresses they worked with this summer.

The first podcast episodes in this special series were created by collections interns Joelle Paull and Amy Swartz to focus on the care and handling of museum collections. They had so much to talk about that they elected to create three episodes – the first is focused on textiles, a subject they got first hand experience with as they assisted with the installation of our Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland exhibit. Below are some images and resources related to their podcast Can’t Touch This, episode 1.

>>Listen to the Podcast<<


 

Wedding dress made of silk with beadwork on bodice and skirt, worn by Bessie Grossman when she married Louis Paymer, Jan. 3, 1911. Gift of Zelda Paymer Salkin and Lenore Paymer Snyder. JMM 1986.109.1

Wedding dress made of silk with beadwork on bodice and skirt, worn by Bessie Grossman when she married Louis Paymer, Jan. 3, 1911. Gift of Zelda Paymer Salkin and Lenore Paymer Snyder. JMM 1986.109.1

Many hours were spent carefully steaming out wrinkles.

Many hours were spent carefully steaming out wrinkles.


Resources on how to handle textiles:

How to Handle Antique Textiles and Costumes from the Smithsoniam Museum Conservation Institute

Curatorial Care of Textile Objects from the National Park Service

Care of Historic Clothing and Textiles from the University of Georgia

Caring for Your Treasures: Textiles from the American Institute for Conservation


 

Each of these mannequins has their own name and were used for displaying textiles in the Just Married! exhibit.

Each of these mannequins has their own name and were used for displaying textiles in the Just Married! exhibit.


Why you shouldn’t use blue tissue paper to store your wedding dress!


Continue to “Can’t Touch This” part 2!

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Hitting the Road

Posted on July 20th, 2017 by

Blog post by Collections Intern Joelle Paull. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Music, family or friends, scenic views are all part of the quintessential road trip experience. But every good road trip requires planning and packing. So what happens when JMM exhibits travel? This fall, the JMM’s recent exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, will be traveling to the Maltz Museum in Cleveland. The exhibit, which examines the role of Jews in Medicine and its impact on Jewish culture and practices, features everything from surgical instrument and doctor’s coats to pharmaceutical tools and medicine bottles (many of which are still full of remedies and oils.)

The past week the collections department has been preparing the exhibit for travel. What does this entail? First we find the objects that have been put back on their shelves after the exhibit closed in January. Then, condition report, condition report condition report! Each object gets photographed and condition reported so that we can ensure everything comes back the way it left. Lastly, everything gets packed safely into boxes and then the objects in the exhibit are ready to hit the road. Over the course of the week, I have gotten pretty familiar with the objects in the exhibit, some proving harder to inventory and pack than others. Not having seen the exhibit, it has been fun to have the chance to read the catalogue and explore the objects. Here are some of my favorite and some interesting things that have been packed so far!

What did doctors and pharmacists in the early 20th century use to treat a variety of ailments? Every bottle we pulled off the shelf helped answer that question. The bottles, dark blue or brown glass contain things like lactic acid or a variety of oils. There are also jars and tins full of seeds and powders, like the jar of fennel seeds. Fennel has been used to treat stomach issues and is often used as flavoring in medicines. The jar belonged to Dr. Adolph (Ed) Baer who owned and operated Fisher’s Pharmacy in Hagerstown, Md.

Jar of Fennel Seeds (K2014.003.106)

Jar of Fennel Seeds (K2014.003.106)

The exhibit gives us a glimpse of tools and medicine used over decades, but it also shows us what Doctors and Nurses have worn. One of my favorite items in Beyond Chicken Soup is the nurse’s uniform, completed with the bright blue wool cape. The cape was made by Stein Uniform Co. of Baltimore and is lined with gold wool.

Nurse’s Cape (JMM 2009.092.010)

Nurse’s Cape (JMM 2009.092.010)

Although it looks real, the ring featuring a large molar is made out of plastic. Dental student, Edmund Kahn, around 1904 to propose to his girlfriend, Gertrude Fried. He later gave her a real ring and the pair were married in 1907.

“Tooth” Engagement Ring (1991.035.024)

“Tooth” Engagement Ring (1991.035.024)

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Sacred Space, Past and Present

Posted on June 26th, 2017 by

Post by Collections Intern Joelle Paull.  To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

Old Synagogue, Krakow

Old Synagogue, Krakow

Studying medieval art, I have become really interested in how ritual space shapes a community and in turn is shaped by a communities need. While studying and traveling in Europe, I found myself exploring medieval synagogues and Jewish ghettos. Until that point my studies had been focused on Christian ritual spaces that became the center of towns across Europe. I was excited and pleasantly surprised to find myself in Jewish ritual spaces, often the center of centuries old Jewish neighborhoods. In some cases, like in the Jewish ghetto in Venice, the only distinguishing features of the synagogues are the rows of windows in the upper gallery.

These were unusual when compared to the narrow, cramped homes surrounding them. The same is true of the Old Synagogue in Krakow, one of the many centuries old synagogues on the perimeter of the city center, which was built in the 15th century, underwent many changes and was ultimately renovated and restored in the 20th century after WWII. Today, it is located in the corner of a square and is a simple multi-level brick building, with three large windows over the large entrance. From the outside there is little indication of the function of the building or the large rib vaulted interior.

Color snapshot of the Lloyd Street Synagogue facade, c. 1982.

Color snapshot of the Lloyd Street Synagogue facade, c. 1982.

Walking into the Lloyd Street Synagogue my first day of work, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the synagogue and the spaces I had studied. The Lloyd Street Synagogue is a perfect example of a ritual space that evolved over centuries to reflect the community around it. The synagogue was the center of the Jewish community in Baltimore and as such took on both a religious and civic importance. The archaeological discoveries at the current synagogue, showcased in the exhibit, The Synagogue Speaks, allow us to understand what the synagogue looked like from 1845 to today.

From this understanding we can begin to understand how it functioned on a day to day basis and the role it had in the lives of its patrons. The unassuming facade of the sacred building gives little to no indication that it is a synagogue. It was only in the 1900s, after the building was converted the building back into a synagogue that the exterior begins to show signs of its function – Hebrew lettering on the portico, the gallery level windows on the façade. The 20th century synagogue, until it was beginning in the 1960s, was elaborately decorated, with new furniture, chandeliers, and murals. The following restoration returned the synagogue to its original 1860s appearance. The ability to walk into a space and see the many layers of its history makes the Lloyd Street Synagogue unique. The oral and written histories and the many artifacts only add to our understanding of the space itself.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




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