Performance Counts March 2014: Declaring Victory

Posted on March 14th, 2014 by

The gallery has cleared.  The artifacts are on their way home.  Now we can assess the impact of Passages Through the Fire:  Jews and the Civil War.  How shall we measure the value of these last eighteen weeks?

Cutting a fine figure on the dance floor at our Farewell Cotillion.

Cutting a fine figure on the dance floor at our Farewell Cotillion.

One is always tempted to start with attendance.  More than 4700 visitors came to the exhibition.  This is a pace consistent with the museum’s strongest previous exhibition, despite the fact that nearly half the run of the exhibit took place in January and February (we suspect you will recall that the weather made outings more challenging in those months).  The category showing the biggest year-over-year increase was “walk-in” visitors, people coming just to see the exhibit numbered more than 1000 during the period.  Right behind, at 967, were visitors coming to our Sunday and evening programs.

Of course, attendance numbers aren’t the whole measure.  We received both formal and anecdotal feedback to the exhibit and associated education programs.  We had some very positive responses, ranging from one of the exhibit’s creators in New York praising our additions to the project, to reenactors appreciating our offering of an unusual chapter of Civil War history, to a young visitor whose mother told me he couldn’t stop talking about the 1861 tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue.

Students from John Ruarah explore our photography interactive station.

Students from John Ruarah explore our photography interactive station.

As a manager, I feel obliged to mention that the exhibit was delivered on time and on budget.  We have many people to thank for that but special kudos go to curator Karen Falk and researcher Todd Neeson who burned the midnight oil to prepare a quality product.  I also think its remarkable that we reached our fundraising goal in spite of a late start, raising over $108,000 in just six months.  Former Board president Barbara Katz and our development team (Clair Segal, Susan Press, Rachel Kassman and Deborah Cardin) deserve a lot of credit here.

A visit with Mr. Lincoln

A visit with Mr. Lincoln

And I would be remiss if I didn’t single out programs as a special area of achievement.  Newcomer Trillion Attwood presented 22 programs between October and February, 15 of these on the Civil War itself.  These demonstrated an enormous range of subjects – from photography to woman’s history, and wide variety of formats – living history, family days, author lectures and even dance!  The strength of these offerings showed how many dimensions of discourse we could find in one exhibit’s content.

Curator Karen Falk removes wall text in preparation for our next exhibit - Project Mah Jongg!

Curator Karen Falk removes wall text in preparation for our next exhibit – Project Mah Jongg!

So on the whole, I would say we won the battle… but the war to take JMM to the next level continues and with many fields of combat ahead (Mah Jongg tables, pickle barrels and puzzle mazes among them) we will continue the fight.  With your help, victory will be ours.

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After the Show: the Breakdown of an Exhibit

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by

The most exciting part about visiting a museum is getting to view various artifacts within the exhibits, especially if the museum is featuring a new one. I myself had only been on the outside, until this January when I was asked to help break the featured exhibit down here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Forest and Jobi prepare packaging.

Forest and Jobi prepare packaging.

The museum currently has an exhibit called “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War”. But as spring rolls around, so will new artifacts, and the process of packing up the show, in someways is as thrilling as seeing it as a visitor.

To start, there had to be photos taken of every artifact. These photos were then color coded based on their lenders. Lenders were a variation of individuals, museums, and historical societies.

The Color Code List

The Color Code List

Once each photo was matched to the lender, I then filed the loan form for each artifact with its picture. What sounds like slow work, was actually informing. I was able to read the descriptions and learn a little more about the artifacts and the Jewish involvement in the Civil War as well.

Following this, Jobi and I determined how the artifacts would be returned to their lenders. We organized and labeled  boxes, for packaging, to be sure that everything was returned to it’s original owner. There was a lot of measuring and labeling to do, but I was able to check out artifacts that were not put into the exhibit. This was a really cool advantage.

Measuring boxes

Measuring boxes

The last step of course, is to take the actual artifacts down, pack them up, and send them back! This of course will not happen until the exhibit is officially over. So before the final step is taken, be sure to stop by the museum and check out “Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War”, which ends February 27th at 5 pm.


A blog post by Collections Intern Forest Fleisher. To read more posts by interns, click HERE. If you are interested in interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, you can find open internship opportunities HERE.

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Museum Matters: February 2014

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by

If you thought we were going to let Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War slip away quietly, rest assured, that is not at all how we do things at the JMM. Be sure to check out the exciting programs we have planned over the next few weeks and you are sure to be impressed by the wide array of farewell activities we have planned!

Closing February 27th!

Closing February 27th!

We are marking the President’s Day weekend with a special opportunity to meet our 16th president. On February 16th Abraham Lincoln will be visiting the Museum and you will have the chance to rub shoulders with him while enjoying some fun activities for the whole family.  At 1pm Honest Abe and I will take to the stage, where I will be interviewing him, which is an exciting and terrifying prospect! I have many questions inspired by the exhibit, as well as some questions about the myths that surround Lincoln. I would also love to ask some of the questions that you have for the president. Please send me your questions (, and I will do what I can to pass them along to the president.

The following weekend is sadly the final weekend of Passages Through the  Fire but we plan to end on a high note with not one, but two fabulous events!  On Saturday night, February 22nd, beginning at 7:30pm, dance with us at our Civil War themed Farewell Cotillion. Entertainment will be provided by Choreographic Antique (of Goucher College) and Brad Kolodner and Friends. Enjoy an evening of dance and music all washed down with a glass of Civil War era punch! Costumes are not necessary, but this is your chance to release your inner Scarlett or Rhett.

The next day Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will visit to deliver his talk, Kaddish for Lincoln. Holzer is an expert on Lincoln and was recently a scrip consultant for the movie Lincoln. He will discuss how Lincoln came to be the first American gentile for whom the Jewish community said Kaddish and how he came to have the title of American Moses.

See below for more information about these programs and others.

~Trillion Attwood, Program Manager


Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit


February 2014

lincolns-city-logoJewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s city

Sunday, February 9, 2:00pm

Program free with Museum Admission

Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City is a temporary exhibit currently on view in the JMM lobby on loan from the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Laura Apelbaum, JHSGW’s Executive Director, will talk about some of the most fascinating characters who were living in the city at the same time as Lincoln.

Laura Cohen Apelbaum is a native of the Washington area and has been executive director of the Jewish Historical Society since 1994. She has a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown University, a law degree from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in American History from Duke University.


3b50609rLate Night on Lloyd Street: The Dating Game

Wednesday, February 12, 6:00pm


Join us for this “romantic” Late Night on Lloyd Street as we play our very own version of the Dating Game! Test your knowledge of Jewish Baltimore History and our collections, and a very special bonus round about the language of fans, inspired by our upcoming Cotillion. You will also have a chance to decorate your own fan or manly handkerchief, the ultimate in 19th century style!

As with all Late Night on Lloyd Streets there will be plenty of snacks and drinks. This event is generously supported by the Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund.


JMM_February_PC-1Family Day: Lincoln Comes to Baltimore 
Sunday, February 16, 11:00am to 3:00pm
Abraham Lincoln living history performance at 1:00pm
Program Free with Museum Admission

What better way to celebrate President’s Day weekend then by joining us for an Abraham Lincoln themed day filled with family fun activities.  Actor Jim Getty will bring Lincoln to life in this unique living history performance. JMM Program Manager, Trillion Attwood will interview the 16thPresident about his recollections of the role that Jews played in the Civil War. 

This program is part of “Absolutely Febulous” Baltimore’s first combination Hotel Week, Restaurant Week, and Museum week taking place February 14-23. As part of the promotion, we are pleased to offer “Buy One, Get One Free” tickets to our special February 16 Family Day. For more information, check out


March book coverReading Your Way Through the Civil War, Part Two: “March” by Geraldine Brooks

An Imagined Civil War:  Civil War Fiction Book discussion of March by Geraldine Brooks
Discussion leader: Anne Sarah Rubin
Thursday, February 20, 6:00pm
Free Admission

This Maryland Humanities Council Book Talk takes place at Enoch Pratt Library, Light Street Branch
Anne Sarah Rubin leads our second book program as she discusses the Pulitzer Prize winning March by Geraldine Brooks. The conversation will consider the relationship between March and Little Women, some of the biographical connections to Louisa May Alcott, and the way in which the novel reflects an alternative Civil War experience.

Anne Sarah Rubin is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Digital History and Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  She received her AB from Princeton University and her MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. Dr. Rubin is currently President of the Society of Civil War Historians. Register for this talk today, so you can have a good read ready for the cold winter months. Copies of the book are available and can be borrowed at no cost from the Museum. Register now with Trillion Attwood or 410-732-6400 ext.215.
This is a Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War partner program! Making Sense of the American Civil War, a reading and discussion series, is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Additional support has been provided by the Maryland Humanities Council.


PC frontPassages Through the Fire Farewell Cotillion

Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm

Tickets $15 – $20 

Join us for an evening of dancing and fun as we send our exhibit Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War off in true Civil War-era style. Chorégraphie Antique, the dance history ensemble from Goucher College will be on hand to demonstrate and teach us the most popular dances of the time period.

While costumes are not required, there will be prizes for the most impressive outfits of the evening. This is your chance to channel your inner Scarletts & Rhetts! So pull out those hoop skirts, polish up your genteel manners and enjoy an evening you won’t soon forget.

Punch and provisions included, as well as alcoholic beverages for those guests 21 and over. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased over the phone and online at


abe-lincoln(1)Sadie B. Feldman Family Lecture: Kaddish for Lincoln

Sunday, February 23, 1:00pm

Speaker: Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Program Free with Museum Admission

By tradition, Abraham Lincoln was the first American gentile for whom Jews said Kaddish–the Hebrew prayer for the dead. The story may approach the realm of legend, but reverence for Lincoln among many Jews of his time was real, and the mass national mourning after his assassination reached not only the church but the synagogue. In this discussion of Jewish attitudes toward Lincoln–and Lincoln’s evolving attitude toward Jews, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer explores the 16th president’s legal decisions and personal attitudes on Jews and Jewish issues during the Civil War, and assesses whether the Great Emancipator deserved the name many contemporaries gave to him in the 19th Century: American Moses.

Harold Holzer is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, official successor organization of the U. S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which he co-chaired for nine years, appointed by President Bill Clinton.  Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of 46 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era, most recently Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America (2012), the official young-adult companion book for the Steven Spielberg film, for which he served as script consultant. In his full-time professional career, Holzer serves as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he has spent the last 21 years.

More Programs

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  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.

BIYA Boot Camp

Certified Personal Trainer David BenMoshe will whip you into shape every Sunday morning from 10:45-11:30am at B’nai Israel in the cold months and at the Patterson Park Pagoda in the warm months. $18/month or $5/session

Go to for more info.


Current exhibits

Exhibits currently on display at the JMM include Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks! and Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War on display through February, 27, 2014.

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. We are delighted to announce the debut of a new themed “1861 Tour” of the Lloyd Street Synagogue that focuses on Baltimore’s Jewish community during the Civil War. This tour is offered Sunday-Thursday at 3:00pm (in place of the regular tour).

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street. Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchase online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

Gift Shop

Civil War booksThe JMM gift shop is the place to find all kinds of wonderful merchandise, from books on a wide variety of topics related to Jewish history and culture to one-of-a-kind jewelry created by Jewish artists to beautiful and unique Jewish ritual objects. Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. For more information about our gift shop, contact Esther Weiner, gift shop manager at (410) 732-6400 x211 /


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