Performance Counts November 2015: The Benefits of Membership

Posted on November 13th, 2015 by

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?

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.

Consider these:

*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.

Not to be missed!

*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.)

A fine looking catalog.

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!

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Performance Counts: Promotions, Marketing, Paul Simon, and the Museum

Posted on October 9th, 2015 by

In today’s Performance Counts we ask the question, “how do you get noticed”?  Well, if you’re a presidential candidate you probably just say something outrageous, but if you’re a small gem of a Museum in Jonestown it calls for a different strategy.  This month you might have seen our name attached to a familiar rock star’s face on a circulator bus or noticed a 30 foot inflatable guitar on the top of our building.  You might have seen an AP story that’s making the rounds (the Jewish Museum of Maryland covered in Idaho?) or looked at this morning and seen a top story from WBAL: “Baltimore museum hosts Paul Simon exhibit.”  You might have even seen something on the front page of yesterday’s Baltimore Sun about our involvement in working with Historic Jonestown.

You might think this is all just good fortune (and we’d be the first to be thankful for all our good luck).  But it’s easier to be lucky when we have a talented team putting our name forward.  Our success to date, and we strongly suspect there is more to come, is based on a combination of four forces – our in-house marketing team (mainly Tracie and Rachel), our colleagues at The Associated, our partners at Visit Baltimore, and our ambassadors on the JMM Board, especially our “ambassador-in-chief”, Board President Duke Zimmerman.  Thanks to this dynamite combo we have already taken more than 300 invitations to opening weekend events and we have already substantially raised our institution’s visibility.  I have asked Rachel to share some highlights of what’s already happened and what’s in store.

~Marvin Pinkert

How do you get noticed? As Marvin mentioned above: hard work, great partners, and yes: luck. As the marketing manager here at the Museum those three tenets are a bit of a mantra for me. It’s been very exciting behind the scenes for the last few months as we’ve tried to figure out the best way to capitalize on the broad appeal and “cool factor” that is Paul Simon: Words and Music. Happily, I think we’re already showing some real signs of success with organic coverage:

A cover story in the Baltimore Jewish Times – plus we especially enjoyed last week’s “MishMash” question on favorite Paul Simon songs!

A travel story in the New York Times online (Special thanks go out to Visit Baltimore for this one!)

A sneak peek tour with WBAL

Even an Associated Press story that has indeed been picked up as far away as Idaho and Florida (and in plenty of places around town – including the Washington Post)!

Marvin has also been interviewed on WJFF and will be appearing live on air with Tom Hall this Monday at 9:15am (so be sure to tune your radio to WYPR 88.1).

In addition to organic coverage we’ve lined up quite a bit of traditional advertising and promotion to further our reach including:

Television campaigns with WMAR/ABC2, Maryland Public Television, and Fox 45

Radio campaigns with WTMD, 100.7 The Bay, and WAMU

Print campaigns with Baltimore City Paper and the Baltimore Sun, the Jewish Times, Overture Magazine, Baltimore Magazine, and the Ravens Yearbook

And our partners at Visit Baltimore donated additional print coverage in AARP magazine and regional travel magazines in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and the Shenandoah Valley, as well as featuring the exhibit in recent editions of their e-newsletter “Baltimore Buzz,” and on their blog with a special entry from Marvin.

My personal favorite part of marketing has to be the social media piece – that is, the materials we create and post on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. The fast pace and often irreverent attitude embraced by the user groups that populate these platforms make them the perfect environment for playful, often experimental work promoting our programs and exhibits.

For Paul Simon: Words and Music, one particularly cool thing we created is a series of “lip synch videos” to various Paul Simon songs. These short clips star JMM staff members and some very energetic summer interns. You can view the videos we’ve posted already here and there will be more to come! You can also follow along with all our Paul Simon related-tweetings by following the hashtag #PaulSimonBaltimore – you can even use this tag to share your own photos and thoughts with us and we’ll re-tweet our favorites!

As Marvin mentioned above, we’ve also been delighted with the coverage from the Jonestown Brand Unveiling, held on October 1st here at the Museum. Reporters from the Baltimore Jewish Times, Baltimore Sun, the Daily Record, and the Baltimore Business Journal attended the event which featured the Mayor, Jonestown State Delegates Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman, and the President of Historic Jonestown Inc, Lindsay Thompson.  You can read their articles at the links below!

Jewish Times:

Baltimore Sun:

Daily Record:

Baltimore Business Journal:

So now that you’ve noticed us – why not share with your friends and family?  Forward our e-newsletters, send links to our blog posts, or just check-in on your phone when you come to visit! Every little bit helps when it comes to catching the public’s eye.

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Performance Counts September 2015: Adieu to Cinema Judaica

Posted on September 11th, 2015 by

Two museum workers unframing items from the exhibit.

De-installing Cinema Judaica

This week at the JMM we bid a fond farewell to Cinema Judaica. The exhibition of film posters and memorabilia, developed by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Museum, was on display from July 1-September 6. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of JMM collections manager, Joanna Church, with assistance from exhibit designer and fabricator, Mark Ward, the exhibition also featured a local tie in through the addition of the wonderful photographs by Amy Davis of local movie houses (many of which have long been shuttered) and documentation about local film screenings of movies on display.

Cinema Judaica proved to be a summer blockbuster, drawing unexpected crowds and press attention. In total, during the nine weeks the exhibit was on display we welcomed 9% more visitors in comparison to same period last year.  This was, in large part, thanks to the very successful events planned by JMM Programs Manager, Trillion Attwood.


Lecturer next to PowerPoint slide on Screen

Jewish Movies 101

Cinema Judaica was an excellent inspiration for the nine programs that took place during the exhibit’s run.  Many programs were lectures, with speakers from California, New York and Pennsylvania. Topics varied from an exploration of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, to a brief history of Jewish movies and even an exploration of what remains of Baltimore’s movie theaters.

The Great Dictator film poster next to lecturer.

Fighting Fascism with a Movie

We also presented JMM Features, a series of three free movies screenings inspired by the exhibit. Two of the movies were screened outside in the lot across from the JMM entrance and one was shown in the JMM lobby. The movies were a huge success attracting great crowds including lots of new faces. Unfortunately we lost count of how many bags of popcorn we served but we did see the largest audience for An American Tail.

Outdoor film screenings of The Great Dictator and Gentleman's Agreement

Outdoor film screenings of The Great Dictator and Gentleman’s Agreement

In total the programs attracted 612 attendees, it is interesting to note that almost all of the programs attracted an above average audience. However the most popular program was Amy Davis’ lecture Flickering Treasures, which explored Baltimore’s historic movie theatres. If you missed any of our programs we recorded the audio of three lectures which will soon be available on our website.



View down wall of various film posters, starting with large 10 Commandments

A variety of poster sizes on display

“Cinema Judaica” included 61 movies, which were represented by 66 different posters, lobby cards, pressbooks, trade advertisements, and the like.  The images ranged in size from an 8”x10” still photo of Claude Rains (in character as Haym Salomon from Sons of Liberty) to a “six sheet” poster for The Ten Commandments measuring almost 7’ square.

An Amy Davis photo in situ

An Amy Davis photo

To put a local spin on these posters, we researched the Baltimore-area movie theaters at which the films played.  Thus, we were able to namecheck over 50 theaters, with eight significant venues shown in photographs.  Many of the comments made by visitors focused on memories of their favorite movie houses in and around the city.

The #GoldenTevye voting box.

The #GoldenTevye voting box.

In the hope of engaging audiences even further, we asked visitors to vote for their favorite poster in the exhibition. During the course of the exhibit 164 votes were cast, with visitors choosing 35 of the included movies (sorry, The House I Live In and your unloved friends).  The winner by a landslide was The Ten Commandments, with 22 votes (just over 13% of the total); Exodus came in second with 10 votes, followed closely by The Diary of Anne Frank and The Great Dictator, which garnered 9 votes each.

A selection of posters

A selection of posters

In the course of researching and installing the exhibit, a number of entertaining facts came to light.  For example, as I typed the cast lists of all 61 films I noticed that several actors appeared twice in this exhibit, including Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, and Haya Harareet. However, two actors managed to sneak in as the accidental stars of the exhibit: Character actor Hugh Griffith appears in four of the films (and won an Oscar for his role in Ben-Hur), and supporting actor George Sanders (shown here in Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent) appeared in five.

George Sanders in Foreign Correspondent, he is holding a phone to his ear.

George Sanders in Foreign Correspondent

In the end, my favorite tidbit from “Cinema Judaica” is the fact that this was likely the most exclamatory exhibit we’ve ever had the honor of displaying.  …Sorry, I should say: the honor of displaying! Superlatives, adjectives, and !s abounded. This is only to be expected, of course, when your gallery includes “The thrill spectacle of the year!” (Foreign Correspondent), “The mightiest motion picture ever created!” (Solomon and Sheba), and “A story timeless, tumultuous, overpowering!” (Samson and Delilah).  Though only two movies had exclamation marks in the actual title (Operation Eichmann! and I Accuse!), most of the posters availed themselves of the chance to proclaim the movie’s stars, plot, or general wonderfulness with great excitement. The most excessive use was on Sodom and Gomorrah, which had 11… but lest you dismiss that as B movie excess, I’ll point out that the runner-up in the contest was the prestigious Judgement at Nuremberg, which scattered 10 exclamation marks across the poster.  Through the entire exhibit, I counted 117 exclamation marks total!


Don’t be too sad – we’ll have plenty more movie action this Fall with our Folk Film Festival, Tuesday evenings in November!


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