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Guest Post: Preservation in My Community – The Lloyd Street Synagogue

Posted on May 9th, 2019 by

Today we are pleased to share this essay, written by Lauren Mitchell, a senior at River Hill High School in Clarksville, MD. Every year the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House holds an essay contest for Maryland high school seniors – this year’s theme was about preservation in the community – and why preservation matters to the writer. Lauren chose to write about our very own Lloyd Street Synagogue and was kind enough to give us permission to share her essay here. Lauren will be attending the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University in the fall. And thank you to the Flag House board member who brought Lauren’s essay to our attention!


The Lloyd Street Synagogue sports a historically-accurate, bright pink exterior. This photo was taken after the completion of an extensive preservation project. Photo by Will Kirk.

Growing up in Maryland taught me the importance of appreciating the history of diversity and culture through the recognition and exploration of all religions and backgrounds. The historic preservation of Lloyd Street Synagogue in Baltimore, Maryland is the ideal representation of how accepting a community can be after being properly educated. These efforts have not only impacted my values and ideals, but they allow me to feel accepted in society as a Jewish youth.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue obtains the intricate story of the Jewish people and their journey towards freedom. The preservation of this Synagogue not only depicts the importance of history but also works to inhibit anti-semitism and all religious discrimination through education. The Lloyd Street Synagogue was the first to be built in Maryland, exemplifying efforts to increase religious acceptance globally. The state of Maryland is acknowledging our history through the preservation of this historic landmark, enforcing that a history of religious discrimination does not repeat itself. Through the preservation of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, I learned how amazing my community is and how driven we all are to create a better future for the next generation.

Due to the vast acceptance of all religions, backgrounds, and cultures in my community, I am not scared to be myself or embrace my religious values. Acknowledging the absent fear of discrimination, I thrived on the executive board of my Jewish youth group and served four six-month board positions. I am grateful to have the freedom to enjoy my religious community and explore countless others, and I plan to continue exploring this community in college through Hillel and other faith-based activities.

This freedom and sense of acceptance have impacted me greatly, and it absolutely catalyzed my beliefs in historic preservation. Before my exploration into the Lloyd Street Synagogue, I already knew that historic preservation was important but I did not truly understand why. After personally seeing the effect of historic preservation, I discovered how extremely necessary this tactic is to enforce a positive community of educated and accepting citizens.

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A Valentine’s Day Visit: KSDS Third Graders at the JMM

Posted on February 28th, 2018 by

This post was written by JMM Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

On February 14th the Museum was alive with the sounds of students! Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class was immersed in the sights, sounds, and stories of Jewish immigrants who called the neighborhood around the Museum home.

It is always refreshing to experience the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit through the eyes and voices of students. An immigrant is “someone who moves from one country to another.” Immigrants might have brought different things with them when they moved, like “pots and pans,” “family photographs,” or they might “wear all their clothes.”

Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class in the Voices of Lombard Street Exhibit.

After listening to the hustle and bustle of Lombard Street and counting the chickens in the coop, one students said that “Lombard Street was really busy!” Other students learned that “a pickle was a nickel” and that there were outhouses where “sometimes they used book pages for toilet paper.”

Following their journey through Lombard Street, students discovered the first Synagogue to be built in Maryland, the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

KSDS students standing in front of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Putting on their archaeologist hats, students worked together to discover real artifacts found during excavations done for the Museum. Using the same method that archaeologists used, the students learned about the history of the people who worshipped in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

KSDS students working together to document where pieces of their mystery artifact were located.

It was a delight to have Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class visit the Museum! If you are interested in bringing your class to the Museum, please contact me, Paige Woodhouse at pwoodhouse@jewishmuseummd.org to learn more.

Make sure to ask about our educational programs for the special exhibit Amending America: The Bill of Rights, on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration, on display from April 8th to May 28th.

Not a student? After taking a peek in our guest book, here’s what other visitors have to say following their adventure through Voices of Lombard Street:

“Brought back memories. I learned to sew on [a] pedal machine, bought chickens and watched them be killed. My mother, a Christian from Galicia, lit candles for Sabbath. Love it. Well done. Will return.”

“Loved seeing and hearing the Lombard Street.”

“Fantastic exhibit – my children (aged 6 & 9) loved and played with all the child-friendly attractions. Thank you!”

“Thank you for such an interesting exhibit about immigrants to Baltimore. I especially loved all the quotes.”

“Very nice trip down memory lane.”

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SEE AMERICA: The Lloyd Street Synagogue

Posted on June 16th, 2017 by

A blog post by Associate Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE.

Marvin sometimes describes the Lloyd Street Synagogue as the Museum’s single most important “artifact.” It is the reason the Museum exists, since saving the building was the impetus for the founding of the Jewish Historical Society, the precursor to JMM. It is the reason we have a Lloyd Street address. It is one of the oldest physical anchors of the Jewish community in Maryland.

The Lloyd Street Synagogue before its exterior facelift to its present, historically accurate shade of pink!

The Lloyd Street Synagogue before its exterior facelift to its present, historically accurate shade of pink!

About a year ago now, my colleagues and I decided that we wanted our members, visitors and friends to better appreciate our architectural gem. We appointed a champion for the synagogue, a staff member advocate tasked with encouraging the rest of us to think about ways to incorporate the building into our day-to-day operations and conversations.

In the fall, we decided to give the old girl a little bit of a makeover, investing in new carpeting for the aisle, deep cleaning for the pew cushions, and a fresh coat of paint on the bima.

In February, with all of this as a backdrop, I had a lightbulb moment. I was in New York City, walking the floor of the Jacob Javitz convention center for the annual wholesale gift show, when I came to the booth of a vendor who specializes in creating merchandise for Museum Stores. Among their offerings that day, they had reproductions of the National Park Service’s iconic travel posters of the 1930s and 40s. I smiled as I flipped through the images, thinking of my own poster of Glacier National Park, purchased on a visit to Montana in the 1990s.

The inspiration that hangs as a part of my ofice decor.

The inspiration!

And then the lightbulb: what if I developed a poster of the Lloyd Street Synagogue in the style of those old silkscreens?

The wheels were turning overtime. I envisioned the pinks and blues of the graphic image, and some accompanying language that would express the importance of the building as a symbol of religious freedom in Maryland and in America.

Back in Baltimore, Joanna helped me scour the collections for the right photographs to use as models, and then I reached out to the vendor I’d met to get their help developing the art.

They would be happy to help me develop the artwork, for a small fee.

I hesitated. Who would own the intellectual property rights? How much would it cost? Was it worth it?

I picked up the phone. I called Esha Jannsens-Sannon, Creative Director at the Associated. She does (or oversees) the graphic design on all of the marketing work that comes out of the JMM. I explained my idea to her and asked if it was something she thought she could do and whether she’d want to.

Boy did she.

Later that day I got a call from Esha, “Darn you,” she said, “I’m so excited about this project, I can’t work on anything else!”

The first version of our design.

The first version of our design.

For the next several weeks and into months, she and I iterated this idea through version after version. My JMM colleagues watched the growing pile of versions with amusement at my wild ideas.

At some point I had a second lightbulb, and realized that the headline should mimic some of the Park Service’s posters, and invite the viewer to “See America,” after all, part of the point that I wanted to make about the LSS is its historical significance.

I wrote a brief explanation of how the synagogue serves as a symbol, working and re-working it with my colleagues’ input:

The Baltimore Jewish community built its first synagogue in 1845. Made possible by the 1826 Maryland Jew Bill, the building stands as a reminder that the thread of religious freedom is woven into the fabric of the city, the state, and the United States.

Esha patiently pulled the whole thing together through each of my new ideas and tweaks, at one point adjusting color and text placement as I stood behind her at the computer.

As Esha and I discussed how large I should have the poster printed, Esha said “you know what I would love to see? Let’s do a silkscreen.” I was instantly sold. The posters we’d modeled were silkscreens. It’s an old and a beautiful printing process, and so appropriate for our image, and so we started seeking a partner to print it.

A happy staff with our beautiful new banner!

A happy staff with our beautiful new banner!

Once we had a final draft that we were both happy with, my colleagues were no longer tolerating my wild ideas. They were excited about what we’d created. Really excited. As a team, we decided that the image was a powerful one, and one we wanted to promote. We had a banner made based upon the imager for use at the JCC block party and other community events. We used the image on the cover of our program for the Annual Meeting, and we’ll be using it on the cover of our forthcoming Annual Report.

The Limited Edition Silk Screen Poster

The Limited Edition Silk Screen Poster

Ready to be the first on your block to own this meaningful and beautiful poster? After a slightly disappointing false start, the 18” x 24” silkscreen posters will be available at Esther’s Place the week of June 19!

 

 

 

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