Posted on July 16th, 2014 by Rachel
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a room full of little kids jump off their seats to go inhale from a smoking beaker full of blue liquid—that may have, if my memory serves me well, been described as “carbon dioxide burps.”
Kids and adults alike had a grand time at our opening for The Electrified Pickle! Although the smoking beaker of blue liquid didn’t happen until the end of the event, with the spectacular Extreme Jean show, the whole day was full of new experiences for our visitors.
More than just a pencil…graphite is a great conductor!
From 11am to 3pm, we had three stations set up for experimental demonstrations that showcased the myriad ways to harness electricity through common household items. Our wonderful volunteers from the world of engineering made pencils into sliding light dimmer switches, potatoes into batteries, and, yes, pickles into glowing sources of light (and smell)!
Look at that pickle glow! Many thanks to “In A Pickle” for donating these de-LIGHT-ful dills!
In addition to the demonstrations, we had hands-on stations where visitors could “get stuck in” conductive and insulating play dough and origami flowers and frogs that lit up with the help of LEDs and batteries.
Testing the difference between insulating and conductive play dough.
Creating light up flower boxes!
Some of the funding that helped us put together the activities for the day came from a grant awarded to us by GirlsRise Net—an organization dedicated to encouraging girls to become interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. There was no way we were passing up the opportunity to combine a day dedicated the power of electricity with Girl Power! Fortunate for us, the Baltimore metropolitan area has a wide network of female scientists and engineers, which we tapped into for volunteers to help explain the science behind the demonstrations. While we didn’t want to exclude boys from the day’s activities, we did want to strike an emphasis on the presence of women in science and engineering fields.
Potatoes as….batteries? Yup!
Inside the exhibit itself, visitors of all ages delighted in trying out scientific interactives that we had borrowed from one of our partners, the National Electronics Museum.
Checking out the interactives on loan from the National Electronics Museum.
They’re fun (and fascinating) for everyone!
At 5pm, we transitioned from our daytime activities to our evening Electrified Pickle Community Kick-off Party, generously supported by a MECU Neighborhood grant! We started the evening with the scientific stylings of Extreme Jean. She demonstrated some wacky aspects of science, such as manipulating air streams to enable her to fill out a 5 foot plastic bag with just one breath. And what science show would be complete without having some fun with dry ice?
Fun with dry ice!
It’s a scientific playground with Extreme Jean!
After the show, representatives from another one of our partners, Mosaic Makers, got us started on our community art project. With a little help from our friends and visitors, we will be making a mosaic that will be used to decorate our newest building at 5 Lloyd St. The mosaic will be out for visitors to add to for the next 5 weeks, as we continue with The Electrified Pickle.
Hard at work on our neighborhood mosaic!
Come check out the exhibit and more exciting workshops and demonstrations this Sunday, with Print This! For more information about the day and about the following three Sundays, check out the “Events” section of our website!
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. For more posts by Abby, click HERE.
Posted on April 16th, 2014 by Rachel
Part of my role at the museum is to handle the reservations of one of our travelling exhibits, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945 – 1968. The exhibit has been in storage for several months but is currently on display until April 14th at Beth Israel Synagogue.
In addition to displaying Jews on the Move, we also had an evening lecture there last week about some of the themes it highlights. The lecture, titled Jews on the move: A Conversation, was led by Dean Krimmel, a museum consultant who was a member of the team that developed the exhibit. The talk gathered a great audience and created a huge amount of conversation.
Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel
Dean started the lecture by asking a few questions, and he asked those who answered “yes” to stand. We were asked:
- Were you part of the suburban exodus?
- Were you born here in Baltimore?
- Have you lived here for your adult life?
- Are you a newcomer?
Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!
Unsurprisingly, the first two questions had a huge response, with most of the room standing. The final question, received a much smaller response, but it was interesting to see what people considered a newcomer to be. I knew I certainly would fit within this category, having only been here for a year. What surprised me was that people who had lived here their entire adult life still considered themselves newcomers! However, I quickly learned that, unless you went to high school in Baltimore, some will consider you a lifelong newcomer. This also led to another interesting point: this city is unique in that, when asked “what school did you attend?” you are not being asked about college but rather about high school.
The high point of the evening was hearing all of the conversations that were inspired by the program, both during the lecture and after, around the exhibit. People discussed their memories of moving to the suburbs, the reasons for doing so and some of the restrictions that they faced. Many people had similar experiences with regards to their suburban exodus, especially relating to their experiences with real estate agents.
We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.
There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.
We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.
Overall, everyone had a lovely evening. The chatting continued for an hour after the lecture finished. Everyone shared memories and even remembered some things thought long forgotten.
Blog post by Program Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion, click here.
Posted on March 19th, 2014 by Rachel
On March 13, I attended a program at the University of Maryland’s Health Sciences Library in conjunction with a traveling exhibition that the Library is hosting, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race. This exhibit, created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, has been traveling throughout the country for several years. The exhibition explores the rise of eugenics in Nazi Germany and how the quest to create a master race resulted in a public campaign to rid society of “undesirables” including those with mental and physical disabilities as well as individuals who were considered members of inferior races, such as Jews.
The exhibition’s curator, Susan Bachrach, gave a lecture to a crowd of medical students, University of Maryland administrators and professors, and community members. Dr. Bachrach’s riveting talk included background on the history of the eugenics movement, both in Weimar Germany as well as in other countries including the US. Many in the audience were unaware of the fact that forced sterilization was legal in several states in the US in the first half of the 20th century. While Maryland did not have such a law, in one notable 1927 Supreme Court case, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the majority opinion upholding Virginia’s law in the 1927 case against Carrie Buck. (For more on this case, check out www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/VA/VA.html.)
Although the exhibit is difficult to view from the point of view of its deeply disturbing content and imagery, the subject matter is incredibly important and relevant for contemporary audiences especially in light of current debates on medical ethics. Dr. Bachrach’s lecture included video testimony from Holocaust survivors including siblings who were sent to Auschwitz where they were subjected to the notorious Dr. Mengele’s experiments on twins. Following this emotional testimony, it was hard to look at a photograph of Dr. Mengele in which he looks like a “normal” doctor going about his business. We so often think of the perpetuators of the Holocaust as evil monsters and it is difficult to grapple with the fact that their appearance does not always conform to this characterization.
The USHMM has created a virtual exhibit on their website that features more information as well as images.
The JMM and BJC are co-sponsoring a teacher training workshop taking place at the University of Maryland’s Health Sciences Library on April 2. The program is open to educators of all backgrounds.
Deadly Medicine is on view through April 30.
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah, click here.