Museum School Partnerships!

Posted on November 10th, 2017 by

Performance Counts: November 2017

A blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

A museum educator facilitates Hanukkah activities with students at one of our partner schools.

One of the JMM’s education department signature achievements has been its successful museum-school partnership program launched twelve years ago. The JMM piloted the program and worked with four partner Baltimore City schools with great success. The hope of the initiative was to move beyond a one-time annual field trip and one-time classroom activity. The Museum would provide 4-8 programs over the course of the year, in an effort to work more holistically with the school community so that different grades would have access to a variety of our education programs that meet curricular standards.

In each partnership, the JMM’s education staff meets with school teachers and administrators during the first weeks of school to discuss upcoming JMM exhibitions and plan educational programming for the year. The education program is individualized for each school based on the needs of the school. Our education staff strives to create resources and education programs that support the State’s focus on the College and Career Ready Standards in Social Studies and Language Arts along with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) goals for student achievement. Independent evaluations, anecdotal and participant-observer reports, direct testing of knowledge, all support the value and productivity of these engagements between the Museum, the school, and the students.

Some of the educational programs that we provide to our partner schools include:

>Dramatic Living History Presentations on the subject of immigration history, American history, Jewish history and culture.

>Student Storytelling Program featuring facilitated storytelling on key themes.

>Resource and Discovery Kits with historical facsimiles and hands-on materials.

>Archival explorations using primary source materials from the JMM collections.

>JMM’s Voice of Lombard Street exhibition on East Baltimore history.

>Hanukkah Activities

>Preschool Immigrant’s Trunk

>Resource sheets relating to changing JMM exhibitions

>Age appropriate guided tours to our historic synagogues

>Joint Field Trip Opportunities with Partner Institutions

>Neighborhood walking tours

During the 2016-2017 academic school year, we provided educational opportunities to more than 1100 students and teachers in our five museum partner schools. These schools include Patterson Park Public Charter School, City Springs Elementary/Middle School, John Ruhrah Elementary /Middle School, Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School and Windsor Hills Elementary/Middle School.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, we are working with the same schools except for Windsor Hills. The principal of Windsor Hills has switched to a new school this year- – and he requested if the JMM could continue the partnership with his new school, Francis Scott Key Elementary/ Middle School. We have also had successful meetings with the Liberty Elementary School and the Baltimore International Academy and we hope to include them as partner schools for the next year.

City Springs students tour Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage

So far this year, the education department has served over 450 students and teachers in our partner schools. These education programs took place at the museum but also offsite in the classroom.  This year, Baltimore City Public schools is encouraging middle schoolers to participate in National History Day competitions throughout the city that take place in early 2018. In preparation for the projects, students have to research, analyze documents and primary sources, and use critical thinking skills to reflect their knowledge on the topic that is being researched. For many students, this is the first time they have ever done a research paper.

A popular program for our middle schools has been our Lives Lost: Lives Found: Baltimore’s German Jewish Refugees 1939-1945 archival exploration. Students interpret primary sources by studying immigration history of German Jewish refugees that represented a new wave of Jewish immigration in Baltimore during WWII. Students are encouraged to think about the universal conditions of refugees by making connections between US immigration policies in the 1930s and current events. The program was designed to give teachers more resources in Holocaust education.

We have developed new education programs this year that we are piloting with our partner schools.  The Baltimore Book, is a curriculum for 3rd grades designed to teach key civic education concepts and moments from Baltimore history in age appropriate terms and illustrations.  The hope of the book is to get students to begin thinking about Baltimore’s rich history; and that this new knowledge will empower students to take ownership of their city and begin to make it better for themselves, their families, and their community.  Over 150 third graders from John Ruhrah Elementary and Liberty Elementary visited the Lloyd Street Synagogue, Maryland’s first synagogue,  and the Star Spangled Banner Flag House to learn about the rich history of Baltimore and their community.

We recently received funding from the Wells Fargo Excellence Grant to pilot a new education initiative with 8th graders from Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School. Our proposed pilot project, Morrell Park: PROJECTED is a collaborative effort between the JMM and Morrell Park that is intended to provide students with opportunities to learn about sharing their family histories in meaningful ways. With the assistance of J. Scott Fuqua, an award winning young adult author, and Johns Hopkins University film students, our year-long project will teach participating 8th grade students how to interview family members and then develop and share their personal stories with a broader community.

Author J. Scott Fuqua speaks with Morrell Park students.

Students will take part in activities that will help them understand that everyone has a story that can be valued and appreciated. By interviewing family and community members, the students will gain insight into their personal family stories. Classroom study will be enriched as the students learn valuable techniques for conducting oral history interviews and film making. They will learn to tell their own stories and create short film clips using their smartphones. The hope is that at the conclusion of the project, students will gain a better sense of their place within their family and community and feel more rooted in their daily lives.

Two final films will be developed as a conclusion to the pilot program.   One film with showcase the short stories and interviews that the students edited on their smart phones.  A second film will be the actual documentation of working with the students throughout the year in the classroom and in the Morrell Park community.  The films will be screened as a way of celebrating the diversity, culture and roots of the Morrell Park community.  Join us for the premiere screening of MORRELL PARK: PROJECTED  that will  take place on Thursday evening, March 22nd at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Mark your calendars so that you reserve a seat to meet these 8th grade students and celebrate their family stories and the community of Morrell Park.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Performances Counts: We Missed You at Lunch

Posted on September 15th, 2017 by

Most of us reading this month’s newsletter were not at today’s “Get Discovered” volunteer recruitment lunch (but we’ve managed to discover you anyway!)

While it’s too late to send you a tuna sandwich, it’s not too late to think about how you (or your friends) can become engaged in one of the most exciting volunteer opportunities in Baltimore.

Leading a school group through Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust Humanity

Leading a school group through Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust Humanity

Since this is “Performance Counts”, let me share just a few stats.  Our volunteers last year included 7 front desk aides, 23 docents, 7 shop assistants, 13 library and archives aides, 28 special projects volunteers and 28 JMM Board members.  These 106 volunteers worked a total of 7557 hours.

>Front desk volunteers meet and greet visitors—including hundreds of teachers and chaperones on field trips to the JMM as they pass by on their way to Esther’s Place, the exhibit galleries and our historic synagogues.

>Docents conducted over 350 synagogue tours last year.

>Library and Archival volunteers scanned and uploaded more than 7,000 photos from the Baltimore Jewish Times, wrote folder lists for 24  boxes, just over 4,000 folders, in JMM’s institutional archives and processed two major new archival accessions, cataloguing them and creating finding aids.

>Other volunteers worked with Holocaust survivors or their families on 91 collages created for the Remembering Auschwitz exhibit.

>Still even more volunteers judged 93 projects for the My Family Story competition.

Even with these impressive stats, we still can do better and that’s why we held a lunch today to let new prospects learn more about the work we have available.

Welcome Wendy!

Welcome Wendy!

It was also a chance to introduce folks to our Volunteer Coordinator, Wendy Davis!  So since most of us weren’t there today, I’m going to let Wendy introduce herself:

I am excited and honored to be the new volunteer coordinator at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  My awareness of the Lloyd Street synagogue began way back in the 1960s.  As a teenager, I went with a group of fellow teens to see the synagogue at the beginning of the renovation process. And my father, Gordon Salganik, has been supportive of the Museum almost since its inception.  Now it is my turn to support the JMM.

For the past four years I have thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer docent at JMM. Before my retirement and volunteering at JMM, I was a speech language pathologist in Baltimore City Public Schools. Now, I have a long wish list of things I would like to accomplish as the volunteer coordinator beyond monthly scheduling of the volunteers.  Establishing a lending library for the volunteers, improving our knowledge of the museum’s neighbors, dealing with fellow volunteers’ concerns and addressing their wish lists, and increasing our volunteer corps are at the top of my list!  The best way all this can be accomplished is with the collaboration and support of the wonderful JMM staff and volunteers that are my privilege to call colleagues.

I invite you to drop by to welcome Wendy.  Better yet, make her day by asking her how you can become a colleague at JMM.  Get discovered.


Testing out educational activities for the upcoming Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit!

Testing out educational activities for the upcoming Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage exhibit!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Intern Round Up 2017

Posted on August 11th, 2017 by

Our wonderful 2017 Summer Interns

Our wonderful 2017 Summer Interns

I’m so pleased to announce another successful summer of interns! The Museum welcomed six new interns into our intense, ten-week internship program this year, and a seventh intern doing an extended internship through the summer and fall, spread across multiple Museum departments.


This year’s summer interns hailed from 3 different states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio). All 7 interns came to us from different colleges and universities and between them they represented 9 different majors (four interns are double majoring!). Over the course of their internships they participated in a combined 2,450 hours of work and learning.

22 Blog Posts: Between their 2 individual blog posts and the weekly series “Intern Thoughts: A Weekly Response,” interns produced A LOT of words this summer! You can check out all the entries in the weekly response series HERE,  and see all entries by (and about) our interns on the blog in the “intern” tag!

The interns also created 5 podcast episodes, exploring topics ranging from collections care to Jewish identity in millennials – we’ll be sharing those over the next few weeks, so keep an eye (and an ear!) out.

 Visiting the MICA art library

Visiting the MICA art library

Once again staff donated their time and expertise to offer 6 professional workshops throughout the summer!

>Object Handling with collections manager Joanna Church

>Introduction to Exhibitions with curator Karen Falk

>Program Planning with program manager Trillion Attwood

>Museum Management with executive director Marvin Pinkert

>Archival Exploration with education director Ilene Dackman-Alon

>Visitor Services with visitor services coordinator Graham Humphrey

We gave Esther’s Place a small face lift this summer in addition to our annual inventory and the interns’ assistance was invaluable, totaling 14+ hours of assistance, inventorying over 1,550 types of items!

Working hard in Esther's Place!

Working hard in Esther’s Place!

Interns were able to participate in 2 off-site fieldtrips over the course of the summer. On Flag Day they enjoyed a 3 part visit to the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House & Museum – first observing the annual flag day ceremonies, then touring the historic Flag House and finally attending the afternoon lecture by K. A. Wisniewski on the story behind the design of the American flag. Interns also enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of MICA’s art library with library director Heather Slania, with a special look at the library’s “artist books” collection.


Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns:
Erin Penn and Sara Phillipe

Sara and Erin worked on several exciting and interesting projects over the course of this internship. From the start they hit the ground running, as they helped to put the final touches on the opening events for Just Married! Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland. Also in conjunction with Just Married!, Sara and Erin created a scavenger hunt for the schools and camps which visited over the summer. They even got to lead the students through the exhibit.

They researched and planned upcoming programs for the next exhibit, Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, contacting artisans, caterers, and even planning fun craft projects. In connection with the new exhibit Sara and Erin helped to organize and create a companion curriculum for all types of students, young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish.

The display they created in the Lloyd Street Synagogue

The display they created in the Lloyd Street Synagogue

Sara and Erin also joined in with Museum Educator Alex Malischostak and Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon on their work for the Henrietta Szold bus tour, lending their voices to the audio recording. The pair of interns also helped with documenting damage at the Lloyd Street Synagogue, assisting in the planning and execution of a city-wide Intern Trivia Night, and organized the handouts and registrations for next week’s Summer Teachers Institute. Lastly, Sara and Erin researched and compiled a mini exhibit celebrating Talmudical Academy’s 100th year which will be displayed in the basement of Lloyd Street Synagogue (where the Academy began).

Education Interns by the Numbers:

>School and camp groups facilitated: 8

>Mailchimp campaigns designed and sent: 4

>Supply and equipment cabinets cleaned and reorganized: 3

>Trips to the Hamden Giant for giftcards: 2

>Calls to Carl Bernstein’s agent: 1 (still waiting for a response…)

Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections Interns:  
Joelle Paull and Amy Swartz

This summer Joelle and Amy tackled a variety of projects as a team. They began with updating accession files, so that all of the information on our physical files appeared in our digital records. They continued a large inventory of the collections — photographing and measuring objects, and updating existing records.
The imminent opening of Just Married: Wedding Stories from Jewish Maryland meant a break from condition reporting to help prepare the exhibit. Amy Swartz helped to steam all of the dresses for the exhibit and prepare them for display, including building pads and arms for mannequins to properly support and display the textiles.

Posing with one of the many wedding dresses for Just Married!

Posing with one of the many wedding dresses for Just Married!

After Just Married opened, they turned their attention to a past exhibit, which is getting ready to travel. Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America will open at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland, Ohio this fall. Amy and Joelle gathered the objects from the exhibit, photographed and condition reported them, and packed them so that they would be ready to ship when the time comes.

Collections by the Numbers:

>Beyond Chicken Soup artifacts condition reported and packed: 550

>Artifacts inventoried, photographed and condition reported: 317

>Boy Scout related-items processed in recent donation: 105

>Dresses prepared: 11

>Electrified golden lions collected: 2

>Collections Committee meetings attended: 1

Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Exhibition and Oral History Interns: Ryan Mercado, Tirza Ochrach-Konradi, and Jillie Drutz

Ryan’s projects were all in relation to the “Belonging(s): What Connects Us” exhibit which opens in 2019. A long list of topics were given to Ryan and the other interns on subjects pertaining to “belongings” and were tasked with researching the topics and finding out how they can be used in the exhibit. Ryan focused on three topics: researching a character profile on a man named Dr. Samuel Neistadt, a Jewish socialist who immigrated to Maryland in his childhood and thrived in the Jewish institutions here; researched material in relation to the Maryland Jew Bill, particularly about a pilgrimage to the bill’s chief advocate’s grave; and finally, began extensive research and planning on converts to Judaism that may be included in the exhibit. Ryan even used his time abroad in Canada to do side work visiting the Jewish Museum in Montreal and writing for the JMM about it in a blog post. Ryan also donated the first siddur he ever bought during his own conversion to Judaism to aid in the research.

Touring the library with Karen Falk

Touring the library with Karen Falk

Tirza worked as part of the Exhibitions team this summer. She was focused on an oral history collections project that the JMM is collaborating on with Beth Am congregation. The interviews are focused on the founding of Beth Am out of the Chizuk Amuno downtown congregation in 1974 and Beth Am’s growth through the years. Tirza spent the first few weeks doing a lot of background research on the interview topic and working with Karen Falk, JMM curator, and Aaron Levin, the project head at Beth Am, to develop a set of interview questions that fit both Beth Am and the JMM’s goals. She then got in contact with potential interviewees and began conducting interviews in early July. She has also been transcribing, making archive entries, and doing all of the other tasks that go into collecting and maintaining oral histories for the JMM’s collection.

(We’ll hear from Jillie later in the year as she gets closer to the end of her internship!)

Exhibitions and Oral History by the Numbers:

>Interviews transcribed: 10 (totaling 8 hours 22 minutes and 37 seconds of recorded audio)

>Hours spent transcribing: 33

>Interviews conducted: 7 (1 international)

>Research topics: 3

>Trips to Canada: 1

Enjoying a beautiful summer day together (and some delicious gelato)

Enjoying a beautiful summer day together (and some delicious gelato)

Many thanks to all our interns.  We hope they learned as much from us as we learned from them.
– Marvin


JMM in the News!

Our newest acquisition!

Our newest acquisition!

Suburban Orthodox Donates Golden Torah Lions to Jewish Museum in the Baltimore Jewish Times

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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