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 www.weather.com 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: http://jewishtimes.com/41013/a-neighborhood-revitalized/news/

Baltimore Sun: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-jonestown-branding-20151007-story.html

Daily Record: http://thedailyrecord.com/2015/10/05/jonestown-seeks-to-boost-recognition/

Baltimore Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/blog/real-estate/2015/10/jonestown-leaders-want-development-plan-that-will.html

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.

Programs

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.

~Trillion

Collections

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!

~Joanna

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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Performance Counts August 2015: Intern Round Up

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by

From Rachel Kassman, Development & Marketing Manager and Official Intern Wrangler:

This was my first year as the official “Intern Wrangler,” and Jobi Zink left me some very dainty yet incredibly challenging shoes to fill. Luckily this summer’s amazing interns helped keep things running smoothly and made the job much easier for me than I expected! This year’s interns hailed from a variety of schools – George Washington University, Cooperstown Graduate Program, University of Maryland, Towson University, Dickinson College, and Johns Hopkins University, representing both undergraduate and graduate student programs.

Interns at the National Federation for the Blind.

Interns at the National Federation for the Blind.

While each intern had their own individual projects and assignments, it was all hands on deck for de-installing The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit and installing Cinema Judaica. You couldn’t ask for a more enthusiastic crew. The interns were also of invaluable assistance for Cinema Judaica’s grand opening on July 2nd. But I think my favorite group project was the creation of our Paul Simon lip-synch videos – I won’t go into too much detail but trust me, when you see them you’ll understand all the laughter that’s been happening in the office this summer. All of these projects were a great opportunity for staff and interns to work together and get to know each other better.

Every year we try and make sure our summer internships are well-rounded, fully-immersive experiences that benefit our interns as much as they benefit us through a variety of field trips, workshops, and other professional opportunities. This year was no exception.

We were so pleased to be hosted by our neighbors at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American history for their birthday open house. We also had special tours of the National Federation for the Blind, where the interns learned about accessibility; and the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where the interns were able to go “behind the scenes” and check out the BMI’s collections storage area (trust me, it’s more fascinating than you think!). The interns also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the Summer Teachers Institute.

Posing in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture special exhibit.

Posing in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture special exhibit.

Exhibit interns Sophia and Elizabeth also had the opportunity to visit the National Library of Medicine in the course of their internship while researching potential exhibit object loans. Collections intern Kaleigh visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia to pick up an item, visited the Maryland Historical Society to return loan items used in our Amazing Mendes Cohen exhibit, and made multiple trips into the community to pick up Museum collection donations.

Museum staff members were kind enough to volunteer their time to provide a series of professional workshops for the interns as well. Curator Karen Falk introduced them to exhibition planning and evaluation while Collections Manager Joanna Church gave them a hands-on course in object handling. Deputy Director Deborah Cardin covered the ins-and-outs of grant proposal writing while Assistant Director Tracie Guy-Decker took them through the whirlwind of project management. Programs Manager Trillion Attwood and I led the annual “Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviewing” workshop – though we were very impressed already with the professionalism of this year’s intern cohort! Executive Director Marvin Pinkert hosted all of the interns for a brown bag focus group on marketing the Museum – particularly its upcoming exhibition projects.

Collections Intern Kaleigh inventories a doctor's bag.

Collections Intern Kaleigh inventories a doctor’s bag.

Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns: Eden Cho & Falicia Eddy 

Our education interns always have their work cut out for them – every summer the Museum participates in SuperKids, a “summer cultural enrichment program designed to help elementary grade students in Baltimore City Public Schools maintain and/or improve their academic skills.” Once a week the Museum hosted campers for a half-day experience at the Museum, including an in-depth tour and scavenger hunt in our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit and a “Create Your Own Neighborhood”hands-on activity. In addition to working with these campers, education interns lead tours of our two historic synagogues, assisted at the front desk, helped plan and execute our three day Summer Teachers Institute and much more.

Each intern also had her own special projects – Eden created a treasure hunt of things to look for in our current Cinema Judaica exhibit, analyzed teacher evaluations of school tours for grant writing purposes, researched the history of St. John the Baptist Lithuanian Church for the development of a new synagogue tour, and designed a curriculum for our upcoming exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music. Falicia adapted the Ida Rehr’s immigrant trunk lessons to immigrant experiences today, created a small lobby exhibit as a companion the 2015 Summer Teachers Institute, conducted research on businesses in Pikesville and assisted with a lesson plan on protest and injustice in Baltimore’s history that connects Jews and African Americans.

Education Interns Eden and Falicia direct a SuperKids activity.

Education Interns Eden and Falicia direct a SuperKids activity.

Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Exhibitions Interns: Sophia Brocenos & Elizabeth Livesey

The summer 2015 exhibition interns Elizabeth Livesey and Sophia Brocenos worked on our upcoming Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America exhibit. This exhibit opens in March and I think it’s going to knock your socks off – in no small part because of the efforts fo Elizabeth and Sophia!

Elizabeth’s research focused on scientific research conducted in Jewish hospitals in the 20th century and different medical milestones during the “Golden Age of Medicine.” She then translated this research into exhibit panels and object and image labels. Elizabeth also looked into ancestry and DNA survey programs, and the lives and careers of Drs. Salk and Sabin. She also conducted and transcribed an oral history for the exhibit.

Sophia’s internship focused on identifying, executing, and processing loans of digital images from institutional collections. This involved contacting an employee at said institution and working out the paperwork to receive the digital image and the rights to use it in the exhibit as well as cataloging them in the JMM collections system and creating a physical file. She also assisted Curator Karen Falk with maintaining consistent data over various exhibit files.

Exhibitions Intern Sophia hard at work at her desk.

Exhibitions Intern Sophia hard at work.

Saul L. Ewing, LCC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections Intern: Kaleigh Ratliff

This summer’s collections intern Kaleigh was an amazing asset. The Museum manages a large and ever-growing collection of objects, photographs and archival material that is cared for by a single staff member. Having a full time summer intern means getting caught up with the day-to-day work of collections that often gets delayed due to more immediate concerns. Kaleigh worked on this year’s collections inventory, working her way through roughly 1,600 small objects. She also updated and reconciled object loans (both those we loaned out to other institutions and those we borrowed), housed artifacts in their proper places, processed new accessions into the collections, assisted on artifact pick-ups of new donations, and prepared materials for researchers. 

Jewish Museum of Maryland Marketing Interns: Rachel Sweren & Carmen Venable

I may be a little biased (I am the marketing manager after all) but these two interns put the fun back into summer for me. With their combined efforts the Museum created 13 separate lip-synch videos (which I can’t wait to share with you – don’t worry, they’ll be coming soon!), assisted with the Museum Shop annual inventory, and researched and created content for use on all the JMM’s social media platforms.

Carmen also created an exhibit installation in miniature video with collections intern Kaleigh (you can view it HERE), wrote instructions on how to create future videos, whipped our Tumblr into shape, sent out promotional materials about JMM’s summer programs and researched multiple marketing strategies and ideas.

Interns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Interns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

YouthWorks Summer Jobs: Zericka Jones and Darius Smith 

This year the Museum also participated in the Baltimore City’s YouthWorks summer jobs program, which matches up Baltimore City students, ages 14 – 21 to five-week work experiences with private sector, nonprofit, and city and state government employers. We were thrilled with both our YouthWorks employees. Zericka worked with Marvin Pinkert as an administrative assistant, helping to organize his office, prepare meeting and project materials, and assisting wherever needed throughout the Museum. Darius worked with Joanna Church in the collections, assisting with an inventory of the photograph collection and digitizing genealogy and family history records.

Collections boxes with pink post-it notes on them.

Darius inventoried all the boxes with pink tags!

If you haven’t already been following along already, I strongly urge you to head over to our blog and check out some of the truly excellent posts these interns have created throughout their summer here at the JMM – THIS LINK http://jewishmuseummd.org/tag/interns/ will take you directly there!

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