JMM Insights: June 2013

Posted on June 21st, 2013 by

This month we asked Senior Collections Manager and official Intern Wrangler Jobi Zink to give you an inside look at our internship program.


 Internship Insights

Now in its 8th year, the JMM Internship program is gaining a reputation for training the next generation of museum professionals. Since 2006, we’ve offered 113 internships in collections, exhibitions, education & programs, and development.

IMG_2572Our 10-week summer internship program attracts undergraduate and graduate students from across the country—Washington (State), Tennessee, Minnesota, and California are represented this summer, as well as Maryland—while our fall, spring and winter internships tend to draw from the local colleges and universities. Many students use the internship to confirm their passion for the museum field before pursuing a Master’s degree, while others use it as a springboard for teaching careers.

The JMM internship program includes a series of professional-development workshops and training. Object handling and digital photography are taught during orientation, while proposal writing, public speaking and resumes, cover letters & interview skills are scheduled later, after the interns have had a chance to become comfortable in their day-to-day activities in the museum.

IMG_2277Another distinguishing component of our internship program is the field trips to other museums and cultural organizations in the area. By exposing the interns to the vast variety of museums—historic houses, super-small theme-specific, enormous, art, history, or science museums—they see that working in a museum is wonderful, but no two museums are the same, and no museum is free of problems. The field trips often introduce departments that the JMM does not have like conservation or fabrication. Afterwards, staff and interns talk about what they learned, and describe their experiences in blog posts.

The JMM is grateful to Saralyn and Sheldon Glass and Saul L. Ewing, LLC for sponsoring the 2013 Saralyn and Sheldon Glass Education and Program interns and the Robert L. Weinberg Collections and Exhibitions interns. If you’d like to sponsor JMM interns, please contact Development Manager Rachel Kassman at or call 410-732-6402 x225.

Now, let us introduce this year’s summer intern class – you can also follow along with our intern exploits at our blog, using the “interns” tag!


Katharine Harper:

Katharine HarperI am currently a senior at UMBC where I am majoring in Art History and minoring in Psychology. I am really interested in museums/galleries and currently am planning on applying to Law School. As far as careers go, I would love to work in the legal side of the arts world.

Though I have only been an intern at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for about two and half weeks now, as my first internship, it has been an extremely enlightening experience. I have learned a lot about the operations that go behind the scenes of a museum, such as with the maintenance of the museum’s collections. So far, I have learned how to use the PastPerfect database, and I’ve learned about cataloguing and accessioning, and I’ve also learned how to perform condition reports and house objects. I think that this internship will greatly increase my knowledge of museums and will therefore aid my potential future career choice.IMG_2118

Yonah Reback:

Yonah RebackHi! My name is Yonah Reback and I am a rising Junior at Johns Hopkins University where I am pursuing my B.A./M.A. in History, with an eye toward law school down the line. I have come all the way from my hometown of Seattle, WA, to spend my summer interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland!

My internship at the JMM  focuses on researching an exciting new exhibition, slated to open in August 2014. Though not officially named, the exhibition will spotlight the life of Mendes I. Cohen, one of Baltimore’s most fascinating Jewish characters. Part ‘Forrest Gump,’ part ‘Indiana Jones,’ Mendes Cohen defended Fort McHenry in the War of 1812, helped run his family’s successful banking business, and traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Most significantly, Mendes was the first American-Jew to experience the land of Israel in the 1830s. I look forward to bringing this wonderful project to life during my time at the JMM this summer and invite you to visit when our exhibition opens!IMG_2605

Erin Pruhs:

Erin PruhsI’m from a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology/Archaeology at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  In the fall, I will be starting my second year of the masters program at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. I am in the Masters of Science Anthropology degree program focusing on Midwest late prehistoric archaeology, specifically dealing with ceramic analysis.  I am also in the Certificate in Museum Studies program that is held at the Milwaukee Public Museum and instructed by museum staff. My career goals right after college would be to work as an archaeologist for a few years in the field and then working in collections at a natural history museum.

I am working on the archaeological collection from the Lloyd Street Synagogue excavation.  I have been going through the various bags of artifacts and photographing the objects and attaching the images to the records in Past Perfect.

IMG_2287Elaine Hall:

Elaine HallI was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland but lived in Catonsville for four years while attending the University of Maryland Baltimore County. At UMBC I completed a BS in Biological Science and a BA in Cultural Anthropology. This fall I will begin my Master of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park. I have a lot of interests in Public Health ranging from education to policy and from health access problems to sexual health- and I’m not quite sure what direction I will be taking yet.

I was drawn to the Jewish Museum of Maryland this summer because of the Jewish Health and Healing project. It has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, a good combination of my history in biology and anthropology and my future in public health. We are in the beginning stages of research and planning for this exhibit. It has been really fun to get to put to use the knowledge I have gained in school and to get a look into how much really goes into the planning of an exhibit.

IMG_2288Todd Nesson:

Todd Nesson

My name is Todd Nesson and I was born and raised in Owings Mills, MD. I am currently pursuing my MA in History at UMBC where my thesis work is focusing on Jewish organized crime in America.

As an intern at the JMM, I have been conducting research for the upcoming exhibit Passages through Fire: Jews and the Civil War, which is coming from the Yeshiva University Museum in October. The focus of my work has been on adding a Maryland twist to the story and demonstrating the war’s impact on Baltimore and Maryland Jewry along with their varied responses to the war and its attendant issues.


Intern Orientation 06.03.2013 324Trillion Attwood

Trillion Bremen

I am English and recently moved here, having married my American husband. I went to school back in England where I studied at the University of Liverpool getting a BA and MA in Egyptology and an MA in Museum studies at University of Leicester. I am looking to develop a career in museums, not necessarily with a focus on Egyptology, possibly in education or collections.

Within the museum sector one area that I am really interested in is the way in which museums can cater for older people. I had my first American experience in this area last week, when we visited the JCC for a session on gefilte fish. It was an excellent session, led by Ilene Dackman-Alon, almost every person present was able to contribute in some way with a story about gefilte fish. It seemed like everyone enjoyed the day, I know I had a fantastic time and learnt loads.

IMG_2226Marissa Walker

Marissa WalkerHi there! I’m Marissa Walker, an education and programs intern. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but moved to the greater Baltimore area to attend Goucher College. At Goucher, I was a dance performance and English writing double major. After graduating, I moved back to Cincinnati for a year and a half, where I attended the University of Cincinnati for a year in order to obtain an Adult ESL graduate level teaching certificate. I have always been interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the area of museums, and felt this internship would be an excellent way for me to narrow down which area sparks my interest. In addition to furthering my education, I am also ambitious in the performance world, hoping to continue my career as an aerial circus performer and dancer on a professional level.

It’s hard for me to choose one thing I have learned so far during my time at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, as I already feel I have gained so much knowledge across the board. Working on revamping and creating supplemental educational materials for the current and upcoming exhibits has been very educational for me as a developer. I have also loved beginning to work with all the social media we are using for outreach in an educational context. I find that aspect of museum programming and marketing to be fascinating.

IMG_2508Clare Robbins 

Clare RobbinsHi everyone! My name is Clare Robbins, and this summer I am interning with the Collections Department at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  I am from Murfreesoboro, Tennessee, and earned my bachelor’s in history from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  I am currently working on my master’s in public history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  After I graduate, I would like to work in a museum world and pursue a career in collections management.

So far this summer, I processed some of the objects from the 2012-2013 donations.  This proved to not only been a great learning experience but also quite enjoyable.  I loved learning the story behind various objects like a rope that a nursing student at Sinai Hospital used to keep her keys on when working in the psychiatric wing in the 1950s.  I even liked finding a place for all the objects in collection storage rooms as it was a great way to explore the rest of the objects in JMM’s collections.

IMG_2258Kathleen Morrison

Kathleen MorrisonMy name is Kathleen Morrison. I was born in Washington DC, moved to Frederick, MD when I was three, and was raised there. Last year, my parents and I moved to Baltimore to take advantage of the richer cultural life in the city. This May, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in Southern Maryland with a Bachelor of the Arts in History. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I love history and I know I want to have a career where I can work with it every day. Whether that means preservation, writing, or education, I don’t know. Hopefully my future holds a mix of all three.

So far, I’ve been cataloging papers donated last year. Many of them are very interesting and provide an insight to not only daily Jewish life in Maryland, but also daily life around the middle of the century. One of the most interesting papers I’ve come across is a sadly anti-Semitic, anti-African American housing deed, which stipulates that the sale to the new owners is only valid as long as they never rent,r sell, or house Jews or African-Americans on the property. How the original owner intended to enforce this is unknown, but it’s a reminder of how much things have changed for the better today.


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Performance Counts, June 2013

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by

The JMM Board Renews Itself

Last Sunday’s Annual Meeting of the Jewish Museum of Maryland marked the beginning of a new annual cycle for the Board.  Outgoing trustees were thanked and a new slate of officers elected.

It seems like such a natural course of events, that it is easy to forget just how exceptional the work of a non-profit Board like ours is.  The 27 current Board members (as well as 10 former Board presidents) volunteer their time, energy and financial resources to advance the cause of the Museum, without expectation of personal reward or advancement.  They do this because they care deeply about Baltimore’s Jewish past, but also because they are committed to strengthening our future.

_RWK2288The new leadership of the Board includes Dr. Ira Papel, President.  At the annual meeting Dr. Papel spoke to the core mission of the museum, “The Jewish Museum of Maryland is a unique institution serving the greater Maryland community. Not only is it a depository of archival information, but a resource to place our past and present cultures in a context to understand the role of the Jewish community in Maryland over hundreds of years.  It is always fascinating to look back and see how different generations coped with the challenges of their times. We are fortunate that so much information has been saved, and therefore made available to us through facilities like the JMM.”

_RWK2308Dr. Papel is joined in the slate of officers by Vice Presidents Jeff Dreifuss, Robert Keehn and Duke Zimmerman and by the new treasurer, JL Reischer and Secretary Sarah Manekin.  After two years of exceptional service as leader of the Board, Larry Caplan will continue to be part of the Executive Committee in the role of Immediate Past President.  Officers are elected each year, but the President is typically renewed for a second year and other officers may serve up to six consecutive years.

New members of the class of 2016 were Jennie Gates Beckman, Manager of Civic Engagement and Repair the World Programming at the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies;  Jay Goldscher, CEO of HBP/Whitmore, a leader in the printing and graphics industry; and Ira Malis, who just recently retired as Director of Institutional Sales at Stifel Nicolaus and Co.  Members were elected to three-year terms.  Arnold Fruman of National Lumber Co. also accepted a one-year Presidential appointment to extend his service.

_RWK2336In addition to the Annual Meeting and quarterly Board meetings, there are six Executive Committee meetings scheduled for the year ahead.  Much of the work of the Board is actually managed through the eight committees that recommend policies, seek resources and network the Museum with the community.  Major committees include Development, Programs, Finance, Collections, Facilities, Marketing and Audit.  There is a plan to split the Board Development Committee in the year ahead into a dedicated Nominating Committee and a Committee on Board Engagement.  In FY 2013 we had task forces working on Accreditation, Membership and the Futures Committee and we are likely to create new groups to meet the challenges of the year ahead.

For a small museum, Board commitment is key.  This year’s Board leadership campaign exceeded $91,000 – double the funds raised just three years ago.  Equally important, the Board has taken strides towards 100% participation in the campaign.  Board members are increasing their visibility as ambassadors for the Museum and bringing in new friends to multiply our strength.

2013 built a great foundation for the new year to come…the inaugural meeting of the new Board and officers is this July 15th.




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Insights from the Jewish Museum of Maryland, April 19, 2013

Posted on April 19th, 2013 by

In this month’s JMM Insight we wanted to take you into the world of government relations.  In the last few years direct support from government agencies to museums has fallen sharply at both the state and federal levels.  However, government policy – on issues ranging from education to tax law still have a profound effect on museum operations.  The American Association of Museums changed its name to American Alliance of Museums last year to reflect its important role as a collective voice for the industry on a national scale (JMM is an accredited member).  While we work closely with the Baltimore Jewish Council on government issues of local concern, we also participate in the Alliance’s national efforts to make the contributions of museums better known to Congress.  Each year we send a delegation to Museum Advocacy Day.  In this issue you’ll hear from Esther Weiner, store manager, board liaison and museum advocate extraordinaire.


February 25 and 26, 2013

estherWhen Deborah Cardin sent out an email to the staff asking for volunteers to attend a 2-day meeting in Washington, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums,  a meeting titled, “Museum Advocacy Day 2013”, I jumped at the opportunity.

 I was quite familiar with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a key federal agency, having worked with the grants that came to the JMM from IMLS, so I knew of the marvelous work that they accomplished with museums all over the country thru their grants.   I wanted to learn the inside of this organization, as well as AAM, and see how they accomplished the quite amazing things that they did through the grant awards that were given.  Another key federal agency is the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); the JMM has been the beneficiary of grants from this agency as well.

Capital in Washington for Advocacy Day

Robyn Hughes, our wonderful and amazing docent, had already volunteered for the second time, so I thought this would be great, the two of us to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  In her own words, Robyn said, “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the American Alliance of Museums as an Advocate on Museums Advocacy Day 2013 on Capitol Hill. It is my sincere hope that our lobbying efforts for the inclusion of museums in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will enable thousands of public school students from city schools across the nation to continue to benefit from museum outreach programs.”

There were approximately 270 representatives to this conference from all over the country.  Most of the representatives had been to this conference before, but there were also novices like myself.  The conference was a two-day affair. The first day the meeting was held at George Washington University, in their Marvin Center, with speakers all day long.  It was also a great opportunity to network with representatives of museums from all over the country and to learn how to advocate for our own museum, in two minutes or less!  We heard of the unique budgetary and political challenges that museums face in 2013 and the power of having the museum speak with one voice.

Robyn Hughes and Esther Weiner in Washington @ Sen. Ben Cardin's office

On the second day, all of us were inspired and primed with our own two-minute talk to the representatives and senator that the Alliance had arranged for each of us. I had prepared an Economic Impact Statement well as an Educational Impact Statement with facts about the JMM. Our preparation was to encourage the representatives and senators to vote for increased funding for IMLS, which we knew would be cut in the new budget.  We went in groups to the offices of Congressman John Delaney, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, and in the afternoon to the office of Senator Ben Cardin. We were always cordially received, and met with the Legislative Assistants in each case.

It was an extraordinary experience and I am so glad that I volunteered to represent the JMM and to travel around the House and Senate with Robyn Hughes.  Robyn was great, and having her mother with us was a treat.  Being “on the Hill” has its own particular fascination, and fascinated I was! Would I do this again?  You bet, so thank you Deborah, for giving me the opportunity to hopefully make a difference for the JMM.

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