Posted on November 21st, 2013 by Rachel
During the expansion of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in 1996 there were many forgotten artifacts and objects that were found in the grounds beneath the land surrounding the museum and synagogues. My fellow Urban Archeology intern, Molly, and I have been examining these forgotten objects, cataloging, cleaning and photographing them. Most of the materials we handle are different fragments of bottles, glass, ceramics and metal, as well as some unidentified objects.
We have been able to identify the genre of most of the objects, and through research we have been able to pin point dates, regions and companies that certain artifacts originated from. However, amongst the hundreds of objects there have been a handful that we have had to make educated guesses as to what they are, and others are completely miscellaneous and unidentifiable.
Here are some pictures of individual objects that we believe to have identified, and others which we are still uncertain of. Take a look and see if you can guess what they are, what you think they could be or what it may have been used for! If you have any input, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
object E (view 1)
object E (view 2)
Did you try and guess what they are? Here are our findings and educated guesses:
Object A: We believe it is the sole of or part of a shoe.
Object B: Purse/small bag clasps.
Object C: We believe it to be part of a lid of an ornamental ceramic jar.
Object D: We think it is the arm of a small porcelain doll.
Object E: We have absolutely no idea what the material or object is or what it was used for.
Object F: It is clearly made of wood, but we have no idea what this would have been used for.
A blog post by Collections Intern Carlyn Thomas. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on September 17th, 2013 by Rachel
Opening October 13th!
Everyone at the JMM is very excited for our upcoming exhibit, Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the American Civil War. Karen and Jobi are preparing the gallery while Rachel and Trillion are putting together the advertising and logistics for our various programs, and Ilene is creating new curricula and activities for the schoolchildren to do, and Esther is buying all the Civil War tchotkes you could ever want to buy. Meanwhile, Marvin has been developing a brand new tour of a very familiar space: the Lloyd Street Synagogue circa 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War.
Docent training begins.
The new tour will enable our visitors—especially our return visitors—to see the Lloyd Street Synagogue through new eyes. The extension of the synagogue in 1860 isn’t only significant because it covered up the original mikveh, but, more importantly, it demonstrates just how quickly the city of Baltimore—and by extension, its Jewish population—was growing. However, that same growth of the Jewish community created new problems that came to a head during the Civil War, as our visitors will learn on this tour. Visitors will also gain an intimate understanding of how Jews justified taking either the Confederate or the Union side of the conflict by hearing excerpts from contemporary writings by two prominent Baltimore rabbis (Rabbis Illoway and Einhorn, of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Oheb Shalom, respectively).
Marvin holds up one of our cast of characters!
It won’t be easy for us and our volunteer docents to learn a whole new tour in just a few weeks, but we’re all eager for the challenge! Last week, we invited our docents to see the new tour, and we received some excellent constructive feedback in return. Marvin led us through the synagogue, giving us tips on how to guage the knowledge and interest of our groups by using a Civil War-era kepi as a shibboleth, and showing us how different parts of the synagogue illustrate the various issues that were important to the Jewish community here during the Civil War.
Marvin with the docents.
We will be premiering the 1861 Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue when we open the new exhibit on October 12th for the Members Preview and on October 13th for the Public Opening. At the openings, the tour will be offered twice, and after that it will offered once a day in the place of the regular 3pm tour (all other daily tours will be the regular overview tour of the two synagogues).
We encourage you to come and “experience the Lloyd Street Synagogue you never knew!”
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts by Abby, click here.
Posted on July 31st, 2013 by Rachel
A blog post by Archaeology Intern Erin Pruhs. Erin works under the supervision of Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts by Erin and the other interns, click here.
Most people when they think of archaeology may think of Indiana Jones. Although those movies may have made some people more interested in the idea of archaeology, it does not actually show anything close to what archaeologist do. I’m not saying that archaeologists are not trying to fight off grave/site robbers, because that part is pretty true, but I’m more referring to the lack of proper procedures and practices seen.
Image from an excavation at Lloyd Street Synagogue.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland has a surprisingly large collection of archaeological materials from various excavations around the building because of renovations; objects date back to about 100 years ago. Whenever something is built, an archaeological team has to step in and make sure that there is not anything of extreme importance in the ground that they may be building on. The actual procedure is quite timely and may consist of: walking the grounds, filing paperwork, waiting to get approval, digging small test areas, expanding into larger areas, filling out paperwork for everything done, bagging and tagging objects and processing and storing everything in the lab or museum. From there, what the public sees or hears about is a very small portion of what was actually found, and museums tend to only put out the “pretty” objects for display.
There is some good news. The idea of public archaeology is becoming more and more common. Public archaeology is trying to make an effort in making the public more aware of the different projects that happen and hopefully to gain some interest. I have been an archaeologist for a few years now and have gone on various digs and participated in a variety of public archaeological opportunities. What is the hope for the future? For me, it is just to make people have a better understanding of what actually happens in the field of archaeology. Sure, old things in museums are cool, but the question is: how did they get there?