Posted on June 15th, 2012 by Rachel
Hi everyone! My name is Meryl Feinstein and I am the newest Exhibitions Intern here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. As a recent Art History graduate from Brandeis University, the majority of my previous experience in the museum field has been art-related. Most recently, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work at Brandeis’s hidden gem: The Rose Art Museum. The Rose harbors one of the best – if not the best – modern and contemporary art collections in New England. From Picasso and Chagall to de Kooning and Warhol, the Rose has it all! To some of you, the name may ring a bell if you’ve heard about the university’s recent movement to close the museum’s doors, the threat to sell its collection in light of severe economic trials, or the lawsuit that followed. Yet thanks to tremendous support and protest from faculty, staff, and students, I am thrilled to say that the Rose reopened its doors to the public this past fall to an audience of thousands and is in the process of organizing an exciting series of exhibitions for the coming year! I learned so much working in a small, close-knit institution and was able – for the first time – to engage with objects behind-the-scenes, witness an exhibition’s installation, and offer my own input throughout the process. I highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in the greater Boston area.
Photo: The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
My experience at the Rose – in addition to others – has in large part landed me here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. It was at the Rose that I really discovered my love of studying, handling, and researching objects. Though the content of this collection is very different than that of the Rose, I am delighted to become a part of the JMM team and continue my learning experience. I have already begun working on some fascinating research for a potential exhibition regarding the Jewish connection to the medical field in Maryland. The big questions we’re thinking about are quite simple: Why are Jews so consistently associated with medical professions? Is this association true or myth? Why are Jews so often drawn to the field? What unique intersections between Jews and medicine have occurred (and are occurring) in Maryland? We’re still in the very beginning stages of figuring out our focus, but we’ve uncovered some pretty incredible finds in our collection alone (including the contents of an entire doctor’s office from the early 20th century and a dentist’s engagement ring with a molar in lieu of a stone)!
Plasticine “engagement” ring with inset “molar,” made by Edmund Kahn, c. 1905.
If you have any questions, comments, and/or stories regarding Jews and medicine in Maryland – the topic includes physicians, pharmacists, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nurses as well as breakthrough medical inventions and research – please do let us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts!