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Falling Back to Move Forward

Posted on October 4th, 2019 by

Museum Matters: October 2019

It may have escaped your attention, but October is the last month of daylight savings time. On November 3 we will push the clocks back and thereby gain an hour. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that changes in the space-time continuum are all relative, but it helps (You can learn more about Jewish perspectives on time in our Jews in Space exhibit coming next May).

I am actually focused on temporal matters today, not because of what happens on November 3 but rather the JMM change of hours that begins November 4. Starting that Monday, we will be open as usual from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday… but on Mondays we will be open to the public from 11 to 5. Our purpose in instituting the one hour delayed opening is not to save daylight (and certainly not to sleep in!), but instead, to give staff and volunteers one hour each week when every member of our team is available for meetings and training. So, we don’t look at this as losing an hour, but as gaining a stronger and even more professional team. As I said, “loss” and “gain” are all relative.

And speaking of relatives, you’ll find several of mine in the exhibit Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling (opening October 27, 2019). If you are a member in good standing, your invited to our member/VIP opening on October 26. If you’ve let your membership lapse, there is still time to renew to be eligible to attend. But tempus fugit, so don’t delay your renewal.


Images: G.E. electric wall clock from Rogers Avenue Synagogue, JMM 1993.52.77; New Year’s postcard, c. 1904, JMM 1990.18.5b; Clock with Hebrew letters, c. 1875-1895, JMM 1997.33.1.

Upcoming programs
All programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland unless otherwise noted. Please contact our Programs Manager at / 443-873-5177 with any questions or for more information.


Free Fall Baltimore
Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Clare Lise Kelly
Get Tickets!

Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 7:00pm
Reserve Your Seats Now 

Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Zachary Paul Levine
Get Tickets


Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 1:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Z.S. Pollack
Get Tickets

2019 Festival of Jewish Literature
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 7:00pm
Speaker: Dr. Pam Nadell
FREE – Reserve Your Seats Now

>>View the full JMM calendar of events here.<<

Thursday, November 7, 2019
More info & registration here.

Also of Interest
The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit or check out their facebook page.

Esther’s Place

Surprises in the sukkah! Why not spruce up your holiday decorating with some beautiful pieces from Esther’s Place? Hamsas, blessings, decorative prints and so much more – come in and we’ll help you find your perfect piece!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

New Monday Hours!

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by

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

I came back from the AAM conference this year energized and excited about the impact museums can have on the people who visit them. Significantly, all that time with museum professionals meant I was thinking as much about the people who enter museums from the back door every day as those who pass the welcome sign every once in a while. I genuinely believe museum staff change the world every day, and the conference made me want to think more deeply about how we could apply that power to change to our own organization.

The JMM staff is a family. Like all families, we sometimes argue and rub each other the wrong way, but we also work together to do amazing things, and we have each other’s backs. From the day I joined the team, I’ve been gratified by the degree to which everyone’s voice is welcome at the table. Conversations about growth, change, and process happen with everyone present, and even if everyone’s ideas can’t be implemented, they are all heard.

Waterbury Clock Company signboard used by B’nai Israel Congregation. JMM 1993.113.2.

But there has always been an exception. Staff meetings welcome the whole staff, but someone needs to be at the front desk to welcome and assist visitors. There seemed to be no way around it. Staff meetings were for all staff except the one or two who are needed to staff the visitor experience of the front desk and the shop.

In thinking about this obstacle to having all staff at the staff meeting, I had a radical idea. Since we always need someone at the front when we are open to visitors, what if we weren’t open to visitors for one hour a week when we’re all at work? What if we were to adjust our hours and close one hour early or open one hour later one day a week every week? It felt like a simple and yet radical idea.

Pocket watch of Max Heppner’s grandfather, which he passed down to Max, his namesake, c. 1850. JMM 1998.138.1.

When I brought it to Marvin, I expected him to explain to me why we couldn’t do it. To my surprise, he responded we should figure out the hour in the week that would have the smallest effect on our visitors. He didn’t need me to convince him that the benefits of getting the whole staff together outweigh the risk of being closed one fewer hour a week.

Through analysis of visitor and group data, the management team decided Monday morning would provide our hour, and we will launch the new schedule after the Jewish holidays this year. And so, starting on November 4, 2019, JMM will open to the public at 11 AM on Mondays, to allow our staff to gather together, every week, as a complete staff.

Photo of sundial designed by Malcolm Lowenstein, used as model by Reuben Kramer to create a memorial in Cylburn Garden for Malcolm. JMM 1993.73.5.

In preparation for that date, different members of the staff have been working on figuring out all of the places we need to update our hours. Managers and others have started thinking about what trainings and group thinking we can schedule for that time. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what this family can accomplish with the privilege of weekly distraction-free time together. If Monday morning at 10 AM is your favorite time to visit JMM, you have my sincere apology for the inconvenience. I hope you’ll trust me when I say I expect your inconvenience will be well worth the payout. My colleagues are all amazing individually. Together, we are unstoppable.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland