Copyright Basics: A Workshop

Posted on April 24th, 2013 by

JobiA blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Friday morning, fresh from her hellacious 6 hour train trip to New York, Karen and I headed into DC for a day-long workshop about copyright basics. Trust me, if you work in a museum and you want to mount an exhibition (or post something on your blog!) you’ll want to know the basics of copyright. And what better place to learn about copyright than the Library of Congress

Karen Falk and Tessa Sobol of the Textile Museum outside the Library of Congress.

Karen Falk and Tessa Sobol of the Textile Museum outside the Library of Congress.

Before getting down to the nuts and bolts of copyright, we divided into two groups and took a tour of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Our tour guide, John, was very knowledgeable and highly entertaining. Karen was particularly impressed with the mosaic of Minerva: her feet seem to point directly toward you no matter where you stand to see her. (I was also obsessing with feet as my new shoes were giving me blisters.)

I highly recommend a free public tour of the Library of Congress

I highly recommend a free public tour of the Library of Congress

John Saint Amour was also our first presenter for the workshop. He gave us an overview of the copyright office and the basics of copyright. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to:

* Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords

* Prepare derivative works based upon the works

* Distribute copies of the work to the public nu sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease or lending.

* Perform the work publically, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audio-visual works.

* Display the works publically

* Perform the work publically

Workshop participants from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York introduce themselves.

Workshop participants from Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York introduce themselves.

One of the most important facts that we learned (or were reminded of), was that just because the museum owns a painting, manuscript or photograph doesn’t mean that the museum owns copyright to the item. Further, the donor who signed the Deed of Gift might not own copyright to the item, even if it has been in the family’s possession for many years, as copyright is generally retained by the creator. This gave us something to mull over while we enjoyed our lunch in the LOC cafeteria.

Copyright protection is addressed in the Constitution of the United States.

Elizabeth Alberding, RC-MAAM Chair and Registrar at the Kelly Collection, took a quick run down to the Graphic Art Galleries to see the exhibition of Gibson Girl drawings by Charles Dana Gibson, as drawings from the Kelly Collection where she is registrar were on display.

This gorgeous exhibition will be on view through August 17, 2013.

This gorgeous exhibition will be on view through August 17, 2013.

The drawings in the exhibition reminded me of Harrison Fisher’s “Baltimore Girl” advertising poster for Hutzler’s department store in the JMM collection. 1989.207.004

The drawings in the exhibition reminded me of Harrison Fisher’s “Baltimore Girl” advertising poster for Hutzler’s department store in the JMM collection. 1989.207.004

Our first afternoon session, “Is Your Coffee table Copyrighted,” with Larisa Pastuchiv was pretty lively as we discussed visual arts and copyrights. If the artistic quality of your coffee table can be separated from its functionality and exist as an independent work of art, then the artistic component can be copyrighted!  Mike Burke talked about the Digitization and Preservation projects at the LOC. Working backwards in time from 1977 the LOC is digitizing the 40 million copyright records on file.  Following current archival standards, they are making three copies of each hi-res scan and storing backups in several offsite facilities. We rounded out the afternoon with a talk about Fair Use and Public Domain with Chris Weston. Under current copyright law, copyright protection is valid for the life of the author/artist plus 70 years and anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. Of course the examples Chris cited indicate that “fair use” is subject to interpretation.

table 1 The carving and inlay are copyrightable, but the tables themselves are not.

table 2

This day-long workshop was presented by MAAM –the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums– as part of their Cornerstones Program. At $40 for members/$60 for non-members Cornerstones are a great bang for your buck! Check out the next Cornerstones Program – Understanding the Financials!

MAY 7 at the Liberty Science Center
9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

• Reading Financial Statements
• Developing Budgets
• Understanding the 990 Forms
• Case Study: Relocating the Shuttle Enterprise, from a Financial View


A one-day program focused on valuable financial knowledge for museum executives presented by experienced colleagues and industry professionals.

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Jewish Communal Service Association 2012 Annual Program

Posted on June 9th, 2012 by

By Development Coordinator Amy Smith

On Tuesday, Marvin Pinkert,Susan Press, and I attended the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America’s 2012 Annual Program at the Park Heights JCC.  I was excited that JCSA chose to hold their program in Baltimore this year.  The day provided a great opportunity for engaging professional development and to network with other Jewish communal professionals.  And it was right around the corner!

Hundreds of Baltimore Jewish communal professionals enjoy some breakfast and network before the program begins.

The program opened with a keynote speech by Dr. Charles Edelsberg of the Jim Joseph Foundation.  Rabbi Larry Ziffer gave the D’var Torah.  For the first breakout session, I attended Elissa Maier’s workshop on Managing Up.  In it, we used a tool called the Pace Palette to understand different communication styles in order to work more effectively with others.  http:///

The Pace Palette – are you a red, yellow, green or blue?

Over a delicious Mediterranean lunch, there was a lively discussion panel on the topic of change.  In the afternoon, I attended the workshop How to Communicate with Presence led by Sarah Gershman.  Focusing on presence, message, and voice, Sarah gave useful advice about how to hone your public speaking skills in order to better reach your audience.

Here I am with Amy and Megan, two colleagues from Jewish Volunteer Connection.

The day was a positive experience in terms of professional development and one that I look forward to repeating next year.  In the end, I was reminded of why I am a Jewish communal professional in the first place – it is rewarding to be part of such a vibrant and passionate Baltimore community.

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The JMM at AAM!

Posted on June 3rd, 2011 by

The AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Final Program and my AAM Badge.

This year I had the privilege of having the Jewish Museum of Maryland send me to the American Association of Museums Annual Meeting (http:/// From May 22 to May 25 I spent time in Houston where I reunited with colleagues, networked with museum professionals throughout the country, learned about forward thinking projects and ideas in the field, and explored the city of Houston (as best as I could without a car). I consider the trip a big success. I was so impressed by each of the sessions I attended that I came back to the museum enthused and excited to make new connections, update old programs, and start new projects that address the needs of our community. So much took place that I cannot write about everything from my trip, but I will re-cap some of the highlights for you.

Obelisk outside of the Rothko Chapel

After a crazy weekend visiting with family and friends in Washington DC I took a 6:00 AM flight to Houston so that I could enjoy most of the day there. I was lucky enough to meet up with one of my closest friends who works at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (http:/// in Southern California. I tagged along with several other young museum professionals based out of Southern California and visited Houston’s Museum district where we managed to cram a lot of site seeing into one day. First we stopped at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (http:///, where my favorite exhibit was by Carlos Cruz-Diez and titled “Color in Space and Time.” My academic strength lies in cultural history and I’m often intimidated by art, but I could not help being transfixed by Diez’s creative use of optics and colors. There were several immersive rooms that when you entered you were able to actually experience the art all around you.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Color Aditivo PacÍfico A, 2010 Image Credit:

My other favorite activities from that day were visiting the Rothko Chapel (http:/// and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel (http:///  Coincidentally I had heard about the Rothko Chapel a few months ago on NPR and was pleasantly surprised to be reminded that it was in Houston. If you want to listen to that article you can listen to it here (http:/// The two chapels were very different from each other, but each offers people an opportunity to pause and reflect while surrounded by beautiful art.

Bright and early Monday morning I officially kicked off the conference by attending a Council of American Jewish Museums (http:/// ) breakfast at AAM. It was really great to meet with Executive Director, Joanne Kauvar, and other Jewish Museum professionals that I have heard so much about. One of the issues we talked about during breakfast was how to connect the older and younger generations of Jewish museum professionals so that they can learn from each other.

The first session I went to on Monday morning was called “Museums as Good Neighbors: Two Approaches to Participating in Placemaking” and was led by staff members from Project Row Houses in Houston and the Queens Museum of Art. I attended this session because one of the JMM’s goals is to be a good neighbor to the community directly around us. Also, recently our Education and Program Coordinator, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, and I have been working with Commodore Rodgers Middle School on a weekly basis to create an art project inspired by Loring Cornish’s work and the history of the our neighborhood. I wanted to find out other creative ways that institutions were successfully working with their community.

Project Row Houses (PRH) (http:/// was one of the most interesting and inspiring organizations that I learned about at AAM.  It is “a neighborhood-based non-profit art and cultural organization in Houston’s Northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American Communities” (PRH Website, “About,” http:/// From what I learned at this session PRH has several focuses and initiatives, all of equal value. They include public art, arts education, and community building. One of their programs is a Young Mother’s Program where young mothers aged 18-26 live in the PRW homes for 1-2 years while learning about art and working with artists and residence. They mothers are taught to be artistic because artists are creative and innovative, skills that are important and applicable to daily life for all people.

T-Rex at the Museum Expo

Another great session I attended was called “Teach with O’Keefe: 1 Traveling Exhibit, 3 Museums, and 4 Schools; A National Collaboration to Promote Arts Integration.” The Georgia O’Keefe Museum, the Phillips Collection, and the Whitney Museum of American Art all collaborated with each other and local public schools to bring a traveling exhibit about Georgia O’Keefe beyond the walls of the museum. The project was a great success and it serves as a great model for collaboration between museums. This project inspired me to think about how different Jewish museums can collaborate on large-scale projects.

Good Company Texas Bar-B-Q

Finally my blog post cannot be complete without talking about all of the amazing food I ate while there. I’m pretty sure I rolled home about 10 pounds heavier. My first meal was Tex-Mex and I felt like I was right back at home in California while eating an enormous burrito. However, for the rest of the trip I focused on Texas BBQ. One of my most memorable meals was at a BBQ place called “Good Company Texas Bar-B-Q.” We had to take a taxi to get there, but it was worth it for the delicious brisket, coleslaw, and pecan pie. Apparently several other people from the AAM meeting agreed because we ran into a lot of AAMers there.

It feels good to be back in Baltimore, but I could not be happier about my experience at AAM this year in Houston. In addition to networking with other museum professionals, I learned about amazing projects taking place throughout the country, and came back inspired to apply some of these ideas and models at the JMM.


A giant armadillo in Texas!


A blog post by Community Outreach Coordinator Rachael Binning.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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