Posted on January 15th, 2016 by Rachel
Though we’ll be saying goodbye to Paul Simon this month, we’re also saying hello to two new staff members!
Tucker joins the JMM this month as the new manager of
the JMM shop Esther’s Place. Tucker brings to the JMM extensive experience in museum retail establishments. In fact, Esther’s Place makes the fifth (!) museum store Tucker has managed, and his tenth retail establishment. A member of the Museum Store Association, Tucker has served as a consultant for other small Museum shops. Even more fortunate for us, all of that experience and expertise comes with a great sense of humor and a cheerful disposition!
Michael replaces our longtime custodian, Darrell Monteagudo, who recently retired. We are most grateful to Darrell for his many years of dedicated service to the JMM, for keeping our facilities clean and well organized and we wish him all the best with his future plans.
The Museum building and the historic synagogues have an able caretaker in our new custodian. Mike brings a decade and half of cleaning and maintenance experience to the Museum. He has experience both in keeping spaces hospital-clean (Kennedy Krieger Institute) as well as the demands of the hospitality industry (Suburban Club). His can-do, problem-solving attitude is already improving things at JMM: in his two weeks with us so far, he’s found new and better ways to organize and schedule our maintenance needs.
Stop by the Museum soon and help us make Tucker and Mike feel welcome!
Posted on December 11th, 2015 by Rachel
Today’s Performance Counts looks ahead. JMM plans its exhibits (both rented and JMM originals) on a two to three year rolling schedule. So while you are enjoying Paul Simon: Words and Music this month we have already locked in our offerings well after 2016’s Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. With just one traveling exhibit gallery we try to represent a range of important topics in the Jewish experience – from popular culture to communal tragedies. I have asked Deborah to offer a preview of an important upcoming project.
In the spring of 2017 we are designing a project that is composed of multiple elements and multiple perspectives. Remembering Auschwitz is comprised of two exhibits, a commemorative art installation and a program series. Our object is to take an international story, well known in its outline, and to bring new focus to the details – by looking at the lives of individuals before, during and after the Holocaust. The project is expected to run from March 5-May 29, 2017, overlapping with the annual Yom HaShoah and 75 years after the camp at Auschwitz became the launching ground for Hitler’s “Final Solution”.
The Feldman gallery will feature two very different exhibits looking at two periods of time A Town Known As Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community comes from the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. It explores the history of the Polish and Jewish community that eventually became the site of the notorious camp. The town of Oświęcim—today in Poland—has been known by different names, in different languages, at different times. Though it has a long and varied history prior to World War II, Jews and non-Jews lived side by side in Oświęcim and called it home. This exhibit examines the rich history of Oświęcim, Poland—the town the Germans called Auschwitz—through photographs that trace the life of the town and its Jewish residents, from the 16th century through the post-war period.
A Town Known as Auschwitz – History
A second exhibit, The Auschwitz Album: The Story of a Transport from Yad Vashem interprets the only surviving visual evidence of the process of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Auschwitz Album includes photos that were taken in late May or early June 1944, either by Ernst Hoffman or Bernhard Walter, two SS men assigned to fingerprint and take ID photos of the inmates. The photos portray the arrival of Hungarian Jews from Carpatho-Ruthenia, many of whom came from the Berehov Ghetto, which itself was a collecting point for Jews from several other small towns. The beginning of summer 1944 marked the apex of the deportation of Hungarian Jewry. For this purpose, a special rail line was extended from the railway station outside Auschwitz to a ramp inside the camp. Many of the photos in the album were taken on this ramp. Upon arriving in the camp, the Jews underwent a selection process, carried out by SS doctors and wardens. Those considered fit for work were sent into the camp, where they were registered, deloused, and assigned to barracks. The others were sent to the gas chambers.
From The Auschwitz Album
These two exhibits will be displayed side by side and will provide visitors with the opportunity to consider the full history of the town and camp. We are planning on supplementing the exhibit with an art installation, Memory Reconstruction: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt, that will serve as a tribute to Maryland’s community of Holocaust survivors and their families. The JMM will work with California-based artist, Lori Shocket, to facilitate an interactive workshop for survivors and their families. During the workshops, participants bring family photographs and documents as well as stories to share with one another. Each survivor’s story is told through a collage printed on birch wood that integrates photos of personal artifacts along with stories. Collages will then be assembled into an art installation in the JMM lobby. Check out the website humanelementproject.com to learn more about this project and to see samples of the installation from The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Selections from Memory Reconstruction
The exhibitions also present us with an abundance of programming opportunities for both school and general audiences. For many years, the JMM has partnered with the Baltimore Jewish Council to facilitate Holocaust-related educational programs for students and teachers and we plan on developing many new educational resources that will help us expand these efforts. We anticipate holding many related public programs including survivor talks, lectures, films and authors talks.
Planning for the exhibitions and programs involves many members of our team. Although these are “rental” exhibits, we still need to develop a design for space, plan for the preparation of the gallery and the handling of artifacts, and work with the project artist on connecting to Baltimore resources. And of course, the most critical part of our planning is raising the funds to support all the activities above and more. Yad Vashem has generously donated the rental of its exhibit thanks to a referral from JMM Board member, Dr. Sheldon Bearman. Still we estimate that the total cost of mounting the exhibits and supporting the programs will be about $50,000. We are working with the Board Development committee to identify community members with a strong interest in supporting this important project.
We know that many of you reading this newsletter appreciate JMM’s commitment to serving as a premiere Holocaust educational venue. If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities for this project (or any of our upcoming exhibits), please contact me at (410) 732-6400 x236 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on November 13th, 2015 by Rachel
In this month’s Performance Counts, we’ve asked Tracie Guy-Decker, Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance to give you the inside scoop on JMM museum membership.
In 1982, I became a member of the Wonder Woman fan club. The benefits of membership were few, and I delighted in them: a membership card, bearing my name and the beloved red, white and gold WW that was synonymous with the Amazonian super hero; signed photos from Lynda Carter; bragging rights.
I was six years old. Bragging rights were enough.
Who wouldn’t wear this pin with pride?
Members of the JMM certainly have bragging rights. JMM is the leading museum of regional Jewish history, the site of the oldest synagogue in Maryland, the third oldest in the country. We are innovative programmers, award-winning exhibit designers and an increasingly popular destination. Most importantly, we contribute to the well-being of our community through educational activities that complement the classroom and inspire inquiring minds.
Perhaps being a part of all of this should be enough to convince people to join the JMM. But there is more!
Membership to the Jewish Museum of Maryland comes with some pretty nifty privileges and benefits over and above the feel-good, bragging-rights results.
What’s more, we have multiple membership levels: not only does each level increase those feel-good vibes, but it also brings additional tangible benefits.
*Members get free entry to as many of our great programs as they choose (and there are a lot to choose from!). We had a dozen new members sign up for the opening weekend of Paul Simon – just to take part in the exclusive members only concert.
Just take a look, at what we’ve got coming up! I’m particularly excited about Holy Ground: Woody Guthrie’s Yiddish Connection, a talk by Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and the SONiA disappear fear concert in January. And mark your calendars, there is another members’ exclusive event coming up on the evening of March 12 for Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, details to follow in upcoming newsletters.
*Our premium members (Lombard Street Club and above) receive discounts on the most famous corned beef in the city at Attman’s Deli across the Street.
*Premium members also receive reciprocal discounts or admission at local history museums and Jewish museums around the country. Check out the full list of participating museums here.
*Members at the Living History Circle Level and above receive a Museum-selected publication each year. This year you’ll enjoy the beautiful catalogue, produced by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul Simon: Words + Music. It contains facsimiles of key artifacts in the exhibit, and complements the story of the iconic singer-songwriter. (As a side note, if you read my blog post about the Paul Simon exhibit you won’t be surprised that I’m giving this catalogue as a gift to both myself and my sister this Hanukkah.)
Take a look at all of our membership levels and their perks here.
If you’ve been thinking about joining, or about upgrading your membership, now’s the time. If there’s someone in your life who isn’t yet a JMM member and ought to be, consider a gift membership for the holidays. There are some bragging rights that are too good to keep to yourself!