Membership Matters

Posted on April 12th, 2019 by

In this month’s edition of Performance Counts, Tracey Dorfmann, director of development, delves into why our members are so important – and how we say thank you. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click here. To read more posts by Tracey, click HERE.

Why is membership so important?

Despite reports and some national indicators in the 2000s that showed museum membership can trend downwards, at JMM we have found our membership numbers are consistent and strong year-to-year.  Membership can be a meaningful way to stay connected to our rich learning environment, to feel a sense of belonging to our community and to historic Baltimore. We have a total of 960 loyal sustaining memberships (which represents an even larger number of individuals) who are committed to our mission. Membership matters!

What does it mean to be a JMM member?

Memberships come with great benefits and opportunities: including free regular admission for a whole year, free admission to regular public programs, invitations to special events and programs, a discount at Esther’s Place (the JMM shop), and reciprocal admission to select Jewish and local history museums. But more importantly, being a JMM member means that you understand and support what we do here – not just collecting and preserving the stories of Jewish Maryland, but sharing them with the community in Baltimore, Maryland, and beyond. Being a JMM member means you make our work possible, from presenting stellar exhibits to engaging public programs to meaningful school field trip experiences, and so much more.

What are some specific initiatives for members?

JMM values our members, which is why over the past several months we implemented some membership growth and retention initiatives. Around Hanukkah, we sent our Members a special invitation to visit the Museum and pick up a unique and exclusive gift created just for them. 78 members did just that! And while they were here, they visited our galleries, historic synagogues, and enjoyed special programs and events.

We also reached out to members of our Museum family whose memberships had lapsed over the past three to five years. We invited them back, wanting to share everything that’s been going on at the Museum (including our blockbuster Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini exhibit). Nearly 40 memberships were reestablished as a result. These returning members recognized the value of our thought-provoking exhibits, exploration of culture, and the social connection that a JMM membership brings.

We also talked in our November edition of JMM Insights about some of the benefits of membership – including new levels. If you missed that, you can read it on our blog here.

How do members support JMM?

Membership dues are unrestricted dollars, meaning that they support the annual operating costs of our museum. Much of the Museum’s other funding, like gifts and grants are directed to specific projects. Members make a tangible and positive impact at sustaining our day-to-day operations. Operating costs include everything from keeping the lights on to ensuring the grounds and building remain open and pristine, enabling visitors to enjoy our programs and learn with us five days a week. We also reach out to our members occasionally about special projects and initiatives they might like to support, like our current appeal to help purchase an auditory listening assistive system, which will help make our tours and programs more accessible to everyone in our family and community.

Thank you!
We value our members and will continue to share meaningful and evocative stories about the Jewish experience in Maryland and beyond. We are grateful for our membership family, which is why we are always looking to celebrate, whether through members-only events like last night’s Connected Threads reception or small thank-you’s like our gift initiative this past winter. We look forward to continuing to grow our JMM family.

Not yet a member – or know someone who you think should join the family? Share this link and help grow the family today!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

JMM Insights: Membership Looks Good On You!

Posted on November 16th, 2018 by

This month’s edition of JMM Insights is from Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker. Read more posts from Tracie by clicking HERE. Missed any previous editions of JMM Insights? You can catch up here!

I think a lot about what it means to belong. Not only is it the subject of a future permanent exhibit, I believe the need to belong (or the rejection of it) drives a great deal of human behavior. At JMM, we tell you stories of Jewish Maryland. Our tales will make you question, make you laugh, make you think and feel deeply—no matter who you are—because it is stories that make us human.

Nearly all of our stories have something to do with belonging, whether it’s the recent immigrant who desperately wanted to belong in America, the Holocaust survivor who knows the dire consequences of being told they don’t belong, or the rags-to-riches scrap dealing family who succeeding in belonging through determination and grit.

When it comes to the Jewish Museum of Maryland, we believe everyone belongs. Luckily for us, there are some who choose to make their belonging official by purchasing a membership.

There are perks to making it official! All members receive free admission to the Museum every day including to nearly all of our fascinating and engaging programming (between 50 and 60 a year!). Members are also entitled to a 10% discount at Esther’s Place: the JMM Store and invitations to exclusive, members-only events.

And don’t forget the free parking, weekdays at the Parking Authority of Baltimore City, Fayette Street Garage (Baltimore and N. East Streets).

Perhaps the most important benefit of membership is knowing you’re helping to discover, preserve and tell the stories of Jewish Maryland—stories that belong to all of us—today and into the future.Membership is an important way our family and our fans support us. Not only do your membership dues provide essential resources (about 5% of our revenue), we are often judged by public and private funders by how many members we have, and how many visitors we see each year. That means that every time you visit and bring a friend, you are helping us achieve our mission.

For individuals and families who choose to make it official at the Premium Level of our membership program (Lombard Street Club, Living History Circle, Lloyd Street League, and the 1845 Society), there are some extra perks, including reciprocal admission at select Jewish museums nationally and history museums locally.

Members in the Living History Circle, Lombard Street League and 1845 Society all receive a museum-selected publication each year. Past selections include the Holocaust Memory Reconstruction Project that accompanied Remembering Auschwitz, the catalog for Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, and Paul Simon: Words + Music. (If you are a member of one of those groups, watch your mailbox for this year’s selection sometime in the month of December.)

Because we believe everyone belongs, and because we’ve heard requests for it, we are delighted to announce that we have created a new Grandparents’ Package membership. This membership level will allow families to make it official for Grandparents, their adult children (up to 2), and their grandchildren (up to 4 minor grandchildren). This allows Bubbie and Zayde to include the little ones on their membership, even when they don’t live in the same household.

Speaking of households, members at the Family level may notice that we’ve renamed your membership. As a part of our effort to ensure that everyone feels as though they belong, we’ve renamed the membership to be as inclusive as possible. Don’t worry, only the name has changed. The benefits remain the great perks they’ve always been!

When it comes to perks of membership, our guest passes are among the most popular.

We have good news in that department, too. Effective immediately, for new and renewing Senior Members, the membership now comes with one free guest pass per paid member (i.e. one guest pass for a Senior Member and two for a Senior Couple). This is a new benefit at this level.

If you’ve read this far, and you are a member, I have a reward for you—watch your mailbox for a special Hanukkah gift from the Museum in early December. And thank you.

If you’ve read this far and you’re not yet a member, what are you waiting for? We can’t wait to welcome you officially.


Questions about membership? Contact Sue Foard, membership coordinator, at / 443-873-5162.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland