Performance Counts: Looking Ahead

Posted on December 11th, 2015 by

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.

~Marvin

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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 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

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 Reconstructed

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 / dcardin@jewishmuseummd.org.

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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.

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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 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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