Museum Matters: February 2014

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by

If you thought we were going to let Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War slip away quietly, rest assured, that is not at all how we do things at the JMM. Be sure to check out the exciting programs we have planned over the next few weeks and you are sure to be impressed by the wide array of farewell activities we have planned!

Closing February 27th!

Closing February 27th!

We are marking the President’s Day weekend with a special opportunity to meet our 16th president. On February 16th Abraham Lincoln will be visiting the Museum and you will have the chance to rub shoulders with him while enjoying some fun activities for the whole family.  At 1pm Honest Abe and I will take to the stage, where I will be interviewing him, which is an exciting and terrifying prospect! I have many questions inspired by the exhibit, as well as some questions about the myths that surround Lincoln. I would also love to ask some of the questions that you have for the president. Please send me your questions (, and I will do what I can to pass them along to the president.

The following weekend is sadly the final weekend of Passages Through the  Fire but we plan to end on a high note with not one, but two fabulous events!  On Saturday night, February 22nd, beginning at 7:30pm, dance with us at our Civil War themed Farewell Cotillion. Entertainment will be provided by Choreographic Antique (of Goucher College) and Brad Kolodner and Friends. Enjoy an evening of dance and music all washed down with a glass of Civil War era punch! Costumes are not necessary, but this is your chance to release your inner Scarlett or Rhett.

The next day Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will visit to deliver his talk, Kaddish for Lincoln. Holzer is an expert on Lincoln and was recently a scrip consultant for the movie Lincoln. He will discuss how Lincoln came to be the first American gentile for whom the Jewish community said Kaddish and how he came to have the title of American Moses.

See below for more information about these programs and others.

~Trillion Attwood, Program Manager


Upcoming Programs

Please note that unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the Jewish Museum of Maryland (15 Lloyd Street, Baltimore, MD 21202). For more information and to RSVP for specific programs, contact Trillion Attwood: (410) 732-6400 x215 / For more information on JMM events please visit


February 2014

lincolns-city-logoJewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s city

Sunday, February 9, 2:00pm

Program free with Museum Admission

Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City is a temporary exhibit currently on view in the JMM lobby on loan from the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Laura Apelbaum, JHSGW’s Executive Director, will talk about some of the most fascinating characters who were living in the city at the same time as Lincoln.

Laura Cohen Apelbaum is a native of the Washington area and has been executive director of the Jewish Historical Society since 1994. She has a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown University, a law degree from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in American History from Duke University.


3b50609rLate Night on Lloyd Street: The Dating Game

Wednesday, February 12, 6:00pm


Join us for this “romantic” Late Night on Lloyd Street as we play our very own version of the Dating Game! Test your knowledge of Jewish Baltimore History and our collections, and a very special bonus round about the language of fans, inspired by our upcoming Cotillion. You will also have a chance to decorate your own fan or manly handkerchief, the ultimate in 19th century style!

As with all Late Night on Lloyd Streets there will be plenty of snacks and drinks. This event is generously supported by the Grandchildren of Harvey M. and Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund.


JMM_February_PC-1Family Day: Lincoln Comes to Baltimore 
Sunday, February 16, 11:00am to 3:00pm
Abraham Lincoln living history performance at 1:00pm
Program Free with Museum Admission

What better way to celebrate President’s Day weekend then by joining us for an Abraham Lincoln themed day filled with family fun activities.  Actor Jim Getty will bring Lincoln to life in this unique living history performance. JMM Program Manager, Trillion Attwood will interview the 16thPresident about his recollections of the role that Jews played in the Civil War. 

This program is part of “Absolutely Febulous” Baltimore’s first combination Hotel Week, Restaurant Week, and Museum week taking place February 14-23. As part of the promotion, we are pleased to offer “Buy One, Get One Free” tickets to our special February 16 Family Day. For more information, check out


March book coverReading Your Way Through the Civil War, Part Two: “March” by Geraldine Brooks

An Imagined Civil War:  Civil War Fiction Book discussion of March by Geraldine Brooks
Discussion leader: Anne Sarah Rubin
Thursday, February 20, 6:00pm
Free Admission

This Maryland Humanities Council Book Talk takes place at Enoch Pratt Library, Light Street Branch
Anne Sarah Rubin leads our second book program as she discusses the Pulitzer Prize winning March by Geraldine Brooks. The conversation will consider the relationship between March and Little Women, some of the biographical connections to Louisa May Alcott, and the way in which the novel reflects an alternative Civil War experience.

Anne Sarah Rubin is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Digital History and Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  She received her AB from Princeton University and her MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. Dr. Rubin is currently President of the Society of Civil War Historians. Register for this talk today, so you can have a good read ready for the cold winter months. Copies of the book are available and can be borrowed at no cost from the Museum. Register now with Trillion Attwood or 410-732-6400 ext.215.
This is a Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War partner program! Making Sense of the American Civil War, a reading and discussion series, is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Additional support has been provided by the Maryland Humanities Council.


PC frontPassages Through the Fire Farewell Cotillion

Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm

Tickets $15 – $20 

Join us for an evening of dancing and fun as we send our exhibit Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War off in true Civil War-era style. Chorégraphie Antique, the dance history ensemble from Goucher College will be on hand to demonstrate and teach us the most popular dances of the time period.

While costumes are not required, there will be prizes for the most impressive outfits of the evening. This is your chance to channel your inner Scarletts & Rhetts! So pull out those hoop skirts, polish up your genteel manners and enjoy an evening you won’t soon forget.

Punch and provisions included, as well as alcoholic beverages for those guests 21 and over. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased over the phone and online at


abe-lincoln(1)Sadie B. Feldman Family Lecture: Kaddish for Lincoln

Sunday, February 23, 1:00pm

Speaker: Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Program Free with Museum Admission

By tradition, Abraham Lincoln was the first American gentile for whom Jews said Kaddish–the Hebrew prayer for the dead. The story may approach the realm of legend, but reverence for Lincoln among many Jews of his time was real, and the mass national mourning after his assassination reached not only the church but the synagogue. In this discussion of Jewish attitudes toward Lincoln–and Lincoln’s evolving attitude toward Jews, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer explores the 16th president’s legal decisions and personal attitudes on Jews and Jewish issues during the Civil War, and assesses whether the Great Emancipator deserved the name many contemporaries gave to him in the 19th Century: American Moses.

Harold Holzer is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, official successor organization of the U. S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which he co-chaired for nine years, appointed by President Bill Clinton.  Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of 46 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era, most recently Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America (2012), the official young-adult companion book for the Steven Spielberg film, for which he served as script consultant. In his full-time professional career, Holzer serves as Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he has spent the last 21 years.

More Programs

The JMM is pleased to share our campus with B’nai Israel Congregation. For additional information about B’nai Israel events and services for Shabbat, please visit  For more of this month’s events from BIYA, please visit or check out BIYA on facebook.

BIYA Boot Camp

Certified Personal Trainer David BenMoshe will whip you into shape every Sunday morning from 10:45-11:30am at B’nai Israel in the cold months and at the Patterson Park Pagoda in the warm months. $18/month or $5/session

Go to for more info.


Current exhibits

Exhibits currently on display at the JMM include Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore, The Synagogue Speaks! and Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War on display through February, 27, 2014.

Hours and Tour Times

The JMM is open Sunday-Thursday, 10am – 5pm. We offer tours of our historic synagogues each day at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00. We are delighted to announce the debut of a new themed “1861 Tour” of the Lloyd Street Synagogue that focuses on Baltimore’s Jewish community during the Civil War. This tour is offered Sunday-Thursday at 3:00pm (in place of the regular tour).

Get Involved

The JMM is looking for volunteers to help staff our front desk, work in the gift shop, and lead tours as docents. No prior knowledge or training is required. All that is needed is an interest in learning about the JMM, our historic sites, exhibits, and programs and a desire to share this knowledge with the public. All volunteers are provided with thorough training. If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen at 410.732.6400 x217 or


Revamped and revitalized, membership at the JMM is now better than ever – with new categories, benefits, and discounts to enrich every visit to the Museum for you and your friends and families.

All members receive our monthly e-newsletter, along with a 10% discount at the Museum store, free general admission to the Museum, free admission to all regular programs, attendance at exclusive member opening events and discounted weekday parking at the City-owned garage at 1001 E. Fayette Street. Your membership provides much needed funding for the many programs that we offer and we hope we can count on you for your continued support. Memberships can be purchase online! For more information about our membership program, please contact Sue Foard at (410) 732-6400 x220 or

Gift Shop

Civil War booksThe JMM gift shop is the place to find all kinds of wonderful merchandise, from books on a wide variety of topics related to Jewish history and culture to one-of-a-kind jewelry created by Jewish artists to beautiful and unique Jewish ritual objects. Members receive a 10% discount on all purchases. For more information about our gift shop, contact Esther Weiner, gift shop manager at (410) 732-6400 x211 /


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

“Whose Side Are You On?: Baltimore’s Immigrants and Civil War.”

Posted on January 31st, 2014 by

On Sunday afternoon of January 26th, the JMM was humming with chatter, school groups and chilly visitors taking shelter from the icy Baltimore air.  At 1 pm the commotion came to a pause when speaker Nick Fessenden, a retired history professor, took the stage in the orientation lobby of the JMM.  Fessenden presented an intriguing talk titled, “Whose Side Are You On?: Baltimore’s Immigrants and Civil War.” The audience grew quiet and listened attentively as Mr. Fessenden set the scene, drawing them back to the Baltimore of the 1850′s and 1860′s.


Many audience members were surprised to learn that in the year 1860 more than 35% of Baltimore was composed of German, Irish and Jewish Immigrants and their children.  The city of Baltimore was split into sections – divided by race, religion, and social ranking.  Fessenden made no attempt to sugar coat many of the violent issues surrounding Baltimore and its politics during the Civil War era.  Polls were abused and controlled by the native born working class Marylanders.  Poll workers were targets of excruciating acts of violence.

Fessenden aimed to describe the difference between each minority group during this high-tension time.  The German immigrants were the largest immigrant population in Baltimore at a whopping 25%.  They were businessmen and farmers, and were spread across the entire social spectrum. About 7% of the German immigrant population was made up of Jews living in the city.


Fessenden laid out the Jewish perspective during this turbulent time. In Southern Maryland, Jewish slave-holders were incredibly rare.  However, because the Jewish people felt insecure in a new, unknown country, they typically adopted the opinions of their neighbors. Jews in the south mostly empathized with the confederacy. On the other hand, Jews residing in Union areas took an anti-slavery stance. 

Fessenden’s talk concluded with a flurry of interesting and insightful questions from the audience.  The listeners questioned the violence in Baltimore, the voting system in Maryland, and various other questions surrounding Jewish life and culture in Baltimore during the Civil War.


A blog post by Education Intern Molly Gamble. To read more posts by interns, click HERE. If you are interested in interning at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, you can find open internship opportunities HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

The Electrified Pickle: A Community Tech and Craft Fair

Posted on January 27th, 2014 by

This summer the JMM will host a unique visitor experience designed to appeal to budding engineers, artists, scientists, DIY-ers and anyone curious to learn about technological innovation and its connections to Jewish life. Our Feldman Gallery will be transformed into a participatory lab-style environment where visitors can discover the mystery behind scientific principles such as magnetism, electricity, solar power, and more through fun and engaging interactive activities. The gallery will serve as a community festival space where people can come to experiment, create, and learn from one another.

Photo Credit Flikr, Creative Commons, sDuchamp

Photo Credit Flikr, Creative Commons, sDuchamp

As part of our planning for this event, this week several members of staff joined collections manager Jobi Zink for a tour of our collections to see what we might be able to display in the gallery relating to the theme of technology and innovation. To my surprise, there was a plethora of artifacts for consideration to showcase the kinds of things that while are considered obsolete today, were formerly at the forefront of technological innovation. Consider for example the sewing machine that revolutionized clothing manufacturing and is also an item associated with Jewish immigrants many of whom found employment in Baltimore’s clothing factories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Here is a sewing machine that was displayed in Hello Gorgeous! Staff often jokes that at the JMM we rarely have an exhibit that does not include a sewing machine or trunk.

Here is a sewing machine that was displayed in Hello Gorgeous! Staff often jokes that at the JMM we rarely have an exhibit that does not include a sewing machine or trunk.

While today’s electric sewing machine looks different from the foot powered ones in our collections, the basic concept has not really changed all that much. That is certainly not true of other objects in our collection such as the typewriter or phonograph.

This typewriter has Hebrew characters.

This typewriter has Hebrew characters.

We look forward to playing games with some of our younger guests to the exhibit to see if they can figure out what these ancient objects were once used for!

During our tour of the collections, we came upon my all time favorite object.

Deborah's favorite object.

Deborah’s favorite object.

Can you guess what this is? No, this is not a medieval torture instrument or a relic from Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. This was a hair styling implement used in Sonya’s Beauty Salon in the 1930s so that women could transform their straight hair into the more fashionable permanent wave style. Funny how hair style trends come and go and new gadgets are constantly being invented so women can keep up with the latest. (Perhaps I should hold onto my 13 year old daughter’s collection of flat irons used to flatten every trace of curl in her hair for a future exhibit!)

And lest you think we only collect women’s beauty implements, here is another hair styling implement used to clip men’s hair in Kramer’s Barber Shop on Bond Street.

And lest you think we only collect women’s beauty implements, here is another hair styling implement used to clip men’s hair in Kramer’s Barber Shop on Bond Street.

In displaying objects such as these, we plan on illustrating the impact of invention on everyday Jewish life and help visitors make connections between the tools that changed the lives of our parents and grandparents and the high-tech gadgets that fill our lives today. We hope you will join us this summer – the Electrified Pickle runs from July 13-August 10.

A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah, click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

« Previous PageNext Page »