National History Day: Judging at the Baltimore City District Competition

Posted on March 8th, 2018 by

This post was written by JMM Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

373 history-loving students from 26 schools across Baltimore City worked steadily since September to research, revise, and design their projects for this year’s National History Day Competition. The National History Day Competition encourages students to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice and present it their research in one of five ways: a paper, an exhibit, a website, a performance or a documentary.

After months of hard work, students selected from their schools presented their projects for the theme “Conflict & Compromise in History” at the Baltimore City District Competition this past Saturday. I was happy to volunteer my time to be a judge for the day. I had the pleasure of judging middle school exhibits.

Volunteer judges receive our instructions, and coffee, before going to see the student’s projects. About 100 volunteers, over the past few months, donated their time to be judges for National History Day.

This year’s theme had students addressing conflict and compromise. There were numerous ways this theme could be interpreted. The lack of compromise could lead to a conflict. A conflict could be resolved by a compromise. A compromise could prevent a conflict from occurring. There could be all conflict and no compromise.

Student exhibits on display in Patterson High School’s cafeteria at Baltimore City’s National History Day Competition on March 3rd.

Student’s topics reflected how diverse this theme was. They moved beyond dates and names, and expressed opinions, interpreted, and analyzed events. They spoke about their inspirations for choice their topic and both the short-term and long-term impacts these topics had on communities. Some of the topics that I got to see included: Nutmeg for the Big Apple: How 17th Century Conflict and Compromise Shaped Modern New York City, Blackface: Is it Conflict?,  Galileo and Catholicism, Baltimore Riots, Women Changing the Newsroom, and We’re Not Tomboys, We’re Athletes.

Students used both primary and secondary sources to research their topics. Their displays contained quotes, photographs, maps, and graphics to interpret the theme.

At the Jewish Museum, we are also addressing this theme of conflict and compromise in our upcoming special exhibit Amending America: The Bill of Rights, on loan to us from the National Archives and Records Administration. This exhibit explores the origins of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and how Americans have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution throughout history. Seeking to amend the Constitution on topics such as expanding individual rights, voting rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ human and civil rights, are all issues that are directly connected to seeking compromise from a conflict.

Judging the students exhibits proved to be conflicting as they were all incredibly well done and very thoughtful. While it was difficult, winners for each category were selected. After the awards ceremony, I was left with an incredibly inspired by the passion for history that all of the students showed. Good luck to all of the students who are off to Maryland History Day on April 28th!

While the next National History Day Competition may be months away, please remember that the Jewish Museum of Maryland is an excellent resource for research on Jewish history and heritage. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out Amending America: The Bill of Rights on display from April 8th to May 28th.

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A Valentine’s Day Visit: KSDS Third Graders at the JMM

Posted on February 28th, 2018 by

This post was written by JMM Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse. To read more posts from Paige, click here!

On February 14th the Museum was alive with the sounds of students! Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class was immersed in the sights, sounds, and stories of Jewish immigrants who called the neighborhood around the Museum home.

It is always refreshing to experience the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit through the eyes and voices of students. An immigrant is “someone who moves from one country to another.” Immigrants might have brought different things with them when they moved, like “pots and pans,” “family photographs,” or they might “wear all their clothes.”

Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class in the Voices of Lombard Street Exhibit.

After listening to the hustle and bustle of Lombard Street and counting the chickens in the coop, one students said that “Lombard Street was really busy!” Other students learned that “a pickle was a nickel” and that there were outhouses where “sometimes they used book pages for toilet paper.”

Following their journey through Lombard Street, students discovered the first Synagogue to be built in Maryland, the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

KSDS students standing in front of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Putting on their archaeologist hats, students worked together to discover real artifacts found during excavations done for the Museum. Using the same method that archaeologists used, the students learned about the history of the people who worshipped in the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

KSDS students working together to document where pieces of their mystery artifact were located.

It was a delight to have Krieger Schechter Day School’s third grade class visit the Museum! If you are interested in bringing your class to the Museum, please contact me, Paige Woodhouse at to learn more.

Make sure to ask about our educational programs for the special exhibit Amending America: The Bill of Rights, on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration, on display from April 8th to May 28th.

Not a student? After taking a peek in our guest book, here’s what other visitors have to say following their adventure through Voices of Lombard Street:

“Brought back memories. I learned to sew on [a] pedal machine, bought chickens and watched them be killed. My mother, a Christian from Galicia, lit candles for Sabbath. Love it. Well done. Will return.”

“Loved seeing and hearing the Lombard Street.”

“Fantastic exhibit – my children (aged 6 & 9) loved and played with all the child-friendly attractions. Thank you!”

“Thank you for such an interesting exhibit about immigrants to Baltimore. I especially loved all the quotes.”

“Very nice trip down memory lane.”

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Postcards for Paige

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by

Last fall Paige Woodhouse joined our team as Visitor Services Manager.  Following in the tradition of “Dear Abby” (Abby Krolik) and “Greetings Graham” (Graham Humphrey), this month Paige introduces the quarterly feature, “Postcards for Paige”, giving us a chance to answer commonly asked questions about how to make the most out of your visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland. (All the answers are real, the postcards are dubious… but these days, who knows?)


Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

Planning is my passion. I love to come to the Museum’s public programs so I plan my visit ahead of time. I buy my tickets online to print and bring with me. I always leave my house early to get a good seat for the lecture. However, with the wintery weather that we are having, another “bomb cyclone” could throw a wrench in my plan! What if I come to the museum for the planned program and it’s closed? How do I find out if the Museum is closed, opening late, or closing early because of the weather?


Phrenetic about Precipitation


Hi Phren,

Your organizational skills are outstanding! Alas, the weather sometimes interrupts our best-made plans. First, your safety is very important and we ask that you don’t take any risks in unsafe conditions to come to a program. With that said, sometimes we do have to close the Museum, open a little late, or close a wee bit early. During the week, for the first day of inclement weather we follow whatever the Baltimore City Schools are doing. After the first day, or on Sundays, we make the decision ourselves. You can find those updates on our website’s front page: and on our social media.

Keep warm out there,

~ Paige



Postcard Reads:

Dear Paige,

This winter cold is getting to me. I need something to liven things up! I need some music to get me moving, or a few films to get my family out of the house. Maybe even some performances to get my blood pumping. Can you help me?


Looking to Liven Things Up


Hey Looking,

Seems as if cabin fever might be getting to you. Lucky for you, we have just the program to spice up your winter! Escape from your house this February and March and experience JMM Live. From music to film to dramatic living history performances, the Museum will be celebrating the impact Jewish Americans have had on the performing arts. Check out the great line-up of events here. I bet you will be able to find something to liven up your long winter!

~ Paige


Postcard Reads:

Hi Paige:

I wanted to let you know how much my group enjoyed the exhibit Discovery & Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. Everyone thought our docent was wonderful. She gave them a lot of the history to the exhibit and left them really excited to have been here. Thank you for making this a great day. We want to come back soon! What exhibits will be on next? Who do we contact? How much does it cost?


Happy Campers


Dear Happy,

I am tickled pink to hear that your group had such a positive experience at the Museum! All the credit must go to our wonderful volunteer docents.

I would love to help you arrange for your group to come back. The Museum has an exciting schedule of exhibits coming this spring. From March 8th to 25th, the My Family Story Exhibition will be on display. This exhibit shows student’s projects that illustrate their personal exploration into their family history and connections to the Jewish Community. From April 8th to May 28th, the Museum will be the host of Amending America: The Bill of Rights, a travelling exhibit from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Can’t wait that long? We’ve added another exhibit to our schedule! A panel show from Yad Vashem in Israel, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, will be on display beginning February 4th. Don’t forget that you can also go on a tour of our two historic synagogues during your visit.

To schedule your group, please send me an email at or call me at 410-873-5167, with the name of your group, contact information, number of people attending, and any special requirements. I will send you an intake form to complete, followed by a confirmation form with your scheduled itinerary and fee due on the date of your visit. How much does it cost to bring a group? For groups of 10 or more that reserve in advance, the cost is $5 per person.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

~ Paige


Postcard Reads:

Yo Paige,

I read in last week’s Sun that nearly all museums in this area are losing attendance.  How bad are things at JMM?

Where will I practice climbing stairs if all the museums go away?

~Sylvester S.


Mr. S.,

To quote Mark Twain, she said SLYly, “the rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated”.  2017 was a great year for JMM.  I just finished calculating the numbers and in 2017 our on-site attendance was up 26% overall from 2016 and our program attendance was up a whopping 48% year-over-year.  Every one of our exhibits, Remembering Auschwitz, Just Married! and Discovery and Recovery out-performed the same time frame in the prior year.  And JMM was not alone, several other small museums, not interviewed for the article, like our neighbors at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House also had good years.

So my advice is don’t stay in the sun too long, exercise your mind as well as your feet by coming in off the steps and experiencing what’s keeping millions of Americans coming to museums.

~ Paige

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