A Trip to Annapolis and Internship Reflection

Posted on July 8th, 2011 by

A blog post by summer intern Morgan Byrn.

This Fourth of July week has been an action packed week. Monday, Mary (a fellow intern) and I hit the big city of Annapolis. We took at trolley tour of the city to learn about its history. We also stayed for the parade and the big fireworks show at the harbor. It was a great day! I really enjoyed looking out at the streets trying to imagine what it must have been like to be in the city in 1785 after the war has ended. It made me also think of how I like to stand outside of the JMM and try to picture the bustling of Lombard Street. The people selling chickens and veggies and the children running around getting food or playing games, what a sight it must have been. Thinking of the quotes in the Voices of Lombard Street, you can really picture the street in the early twentieth century.  I really have enjoyed taking groups through the exhibit. Seeing kids faces as they look at the outhouse and discover what it was, is priceless.

Leading and helping with school groups has also been one of my favorite things to do at the museum. Tuesday, we had the Super campers come to visit. They are a great group of kids. I helped with the Synagogue Speaks activities. The kids seem to really enjoy the activities. It was very interesting to hear what the kids were going to paint for their favorite thing painting. This corresponds to the murals that were once on the ceiling of the Lloyd Street Synagogue of the Holy Land. A lot of kids will draw their favorite place to eat or their favorite sports team; it is the ones that paint something close to them that is truly touching. One child painted him and his brother playing football outside. There was something so sweet in this simple painting, to him that was the most special place in the world. I think this is why I like working with children so much. They have a different outlook on life and the world. There is this thirst for knowledge and the understanding of the world that I think adults loose as they age. I know that many adults never lose that appetite for learning, but there is something different about children and their quest for knowledge. I used to babysit and during story time, my little buddy would ask ten questions per page about everything regardless of the story being read.  At first it was kind of annoying to have to stop and answer the questions. But then I realized that to him these were questions that were important and interesting to him. I learned to look forward to his questions. The same way I look forward to the questions that the school groups ask us at the museum. To a child knowing why the bathroom was outside or why they had to keep fish the tub are relevant and important to them. Their questions are something I look forward to when they come.

This internship as really shown me that working with children in a museum is something that I want to do. Yes, they are loud and sometimes crazy, but children are the people I relate to the most. Some may say it’s because I can talk to a fence post, but I think to think that it is because I understand their motivations for asking questions. Learning is something that I hope I never get to old to do. I also ask a lot of questions, just ask my mentor. There is nothing better than seeing something and then going to look up the history on it. I love the feeling of finding out something new.

Well that is enough seriousness for one blog! I would like to end on the fun things I learned this week. First, I learned the homes in Annapolis are controlled by the historical council in all aspects but outside paint. Therefore, people take liberties with the paint colors of their homes, as our tour guide put it, “they are either being really creative or getting their revenge.” I also learned that fireworks and parades are more fun when surrounded by people wearing the most red, white, and blue that they possibly can. Lastly, I learned that arts and crafts as a grad student maybe be more fun now than it was when I was a kid. I hope everyone came out and checked out Brews and Schmooze and got their picture taken with the JMM collage that the West Wing interns worked hard on!


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I throw my Latkes in the air sometimes…..

Posted on June 29th, 2011 by

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to eat. So, I was pretty excited to come to the JMM and learn that there was going to be a food exhibit opening in September. The museum is collecting food stories as part of the exhibit. That got me to thinking about food and my experiences with food here in Baltimore.

When I moved to Baltimore for the summer, I was excited to try the new food around me. Everyone whom I told I was going to Baltimore for the summer said, “you have to get a crab cake.” Challenge accepted! The second day I was here, I went to eat with my mom and I had my very first Baltimore Crab Cake. It was quite good! Now that I had that covered, I was ready to take on the rest of Baltimore’s food choices. Working at the JMM there are several delis near by. Ryan and I decided to check out Attman’s during our second week. What an experience. The line, the long counter, the staff yelling your order, it was great. I also started to talk to the lady behind me and she told me about Attman’s and her childhood. She remembers the people outside Attman’s selling chickens and slaughtering them for you. She also told me that I should get the hot dog and the corn beef. She said, “You eat the hog dog first, so your stomach is prepared for the corn beef sandwich. But its bad for you, so only get it once a week!” Truer word of wisdom I have never heard. I did not get the hot dog, but I did get the corn beef Ruben. It was delicious!

The Attman's Experience

Working at the JMM I spend a great deal of time working on food related projects. One of these is the JMM Brews and Schmooze First Thursday programs. We had been talking about the December program, which will feature the amazing Esther cooking her famous Latkes. That day we listened to Candlelight by the Maccabeats in the West Wing several times. After work, I went to Giant to get some groceries. I passed by some latkes mix. Well I had to try it, I still had “throw my Latkes in the air sometimes.” stuck in my head. I went home and made the mix. They turned out pretty good. The next day I told the West Wing and a few others at lunch that I had made latkes last night out of a box. They looked at me as if I had just made the biggest faux pas in the world.  It was funny. I was told that was no way to eat latkes and that I had to make them from scratch. The things you learn during an internship: one is never touch anything with white gloves and the other is never make latkes out of a box.

Old Bay is something that I was not that familiar with. I live in a landlocked state so we don’t have the need to put Old Bay on everything. Upon hearing that I had never had Old Bay, Ryan about died. I was informed that in order to have the true Baltimore experience I was going to have to get some Old Bay. This got me to thinking about the empty space that we had in the August Brews and Schmooze calendar. It was then that Oy Bay was created! This was going to be a program that showcased that favorite spice that Baltimoreans put on everything. I never thought I would work this hard on researching a spice. But it has been interesting. The story of Old Bays creation to why people put seasoning on crabs was something that was very cool to learn about. I am excited to put on this program!

Trying another Baltimore classic: The Snowball

To end with I wanted to say a little bit about food and my family. Food and family are a big concept in the Chosen Food exhibit. After reading some of the stories from the exhibit about food, memories it made me think about my own memories. I have just acquired some new food memories in Baltimore, which I am looking forward to telling my family about, but I wondered about all the memories with my family and friends.  Being a southerner food is a big part of my life. We eat a lot. Growing up holidays was always a time for gathering around my grandmother’s table and sitting down to eat. Its funny how something that is so repetitive like eating at a family members house every holiday can bring back some of the best memories, some that you have to think about to really remember the details. My favorite food memory is the time my Beagle, Digger, ate the blackberry cobbler. I was about ten and I came in from watching the Fourth of July fireworks outside to see Digger with his head in the blackberry cobbler (it was in the middle of the dinning room table, I might add). The memory of that goofy dog and the laughing adults will always be with me. No one was mad at the loss of a good dessert, but rather enjoyed the picture of Digger covered in cobbler. You will always remember where you were the day something big happens. But I believe that it will be the conversations, hugs, and good ole Chess Pie that I will remember the most. Food is something that transcends borders and nationalities.

A blog post by summer intern Morgan Byrn.

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