Posted on February 6th, 2012 by

By Rachel Cylus, Program Manager

It has been exactly one month and one day since I started my job as the Program Manager here at the JMM, and just over five weeks since I returned to America after 1.5 years living in Germany.  Pretty high up on my list of priorities was, of course, spending time with my grandmother, Helen Goldberg, who turned 90 on January 17th (the same day as Betty White!!).

Being just as eager to manage programs at home as I am at work, my mom and I set to work planning a surprise party to celebrate our very own Golden Girl.  And since no party, or program for that matter, would be complete without an activity of some sort, we decided to recreate an autograph book that my grandmother had as a child, and invite all of the guests to write messages in it.  Not wanting to spring this extra assignment on anyone last minute, we called our guests ahead of time to let them think about some fun memories and stories that they might want to write in grandma’s 90th birthday autograph book.

One of the women’s stories fit so perfectly with a project that we are working on at the Museum, that I had to share it with all of you.  But first, a bit of background:

One of the projects that I will be helping with here at the JMM is a traveling exhibition that we are developing called: The Next Big Thing: Jewish Life on the Suburban Frontier.  The exhibit will be about the Jewish community’s move to Northwest Baltimore County in the 1950s and 60s, and as with all JMM exhibitions, we of course want any family photos you have that relate!

When I sat down with Laura Tomes and Dean Krimmel, who are heading up this project and partnering with the JMM to teach a class at Johns Hopkins on the same subject, the first thing Dean did was ask me my own family’s history.  In discussing Grandma Helen’s epic 90 year long journey from Eastern Avenue to Pikesville (at least it sounds epic when she tells it!), I mentioned that she had sold real estate starting in the 60s.  Dean’s eyes lit up, and a few days later he sent me an email.  He looked up my grandmother’s name on theBaltimoreSun online through the Enoch Pratt Library and found her real estate listings.  “Time to get out the tape recorder!” he told me.

Real estate listing from Helen Goldberg and Loretta Roomer The Sun, June 18, 1972.

What he did not know was that just a few lines above my grandmother’s listing was another familiar name.  It was the name of a life long friend of my grandmother, and of course, a guest at her upcoming surprise party.  When we called to tell Loretta about the autograph book, she knew just what she wanted to write about.  They have been friends since childhood – Loretta turns ninety this summer, but it was their years working together in real estate that cemented a lifelong friendship.

Grandma Helen (Left) blows out the candles to her birthday cake sitting next to her lifelong friend and real estate colleague, Loretta Rooner.

The class at Hopkins began yesterday, and I am fortunate enough to get to take it in conjunction with helping develop the exhibition.  I look forward to sharing with all of you as I learn more about the suburbanization of Baltimore’s Jewish community and draw more connections between my family’s history and the JMM.

Getting down to business with the Hopkins class.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Welcome Winterns 2012!

Posted on January 6th, 2012 by

Welcome Winterns (and New Staff!)

This week we welcomed a wealth of new faces to the Museum! (How do you like that alliteration, huh?) That’s right, it’s WINTERN SEASON! Winterns are those lucky interns who participate in our shorter-than-summer but no less intense winter internship program. And, as a bonus, we also have a brand new staff member who got to tag along with our winterns for a full blown orientation.

Jobi explicates the phone, back door, and package policies.

Orientation saw our newbies getting the full run down on museum procedures, training in handling collections items, a workshop on museum photography (with accompanying photo scavenger hunt), and, of course, a top-to-bottom tour of the museum. Now that they’ve “met the museum,” we thought we’d let you meet them!


Hi! My name is Ginevra Shay. I’m a junior at the University of Vermont studying Studio Art and Art History. I’m currently taking a leave of absence to live and work in Baltimoreas an artist. I’m setting up a community darkroom at the Current Gallery on North Howard St.and co-curating a photography exhibition there to open March 2nd. I’ve always wanted to work in a museum’s photo special collection so my internship at the JMM is really a dream come true!

Meeting one of our fabulous museum volunteers

Hi! My name is Kierra Foley and I’m currently a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Near Eastern Studies with a minor in Jewish Studies. I hope to pursue a PhD in Egyptology with a focus on Dynasty XVIII and the development of monotheism. I love painting, rock climbing, and have a very serious penchant for all things purple.

P.S. I’m the winter term Collections intern, a fact by which I’m very excited! (Don’t blame Kierra for the picture, she was so focused on Jobi’s workshop she didn’t even know it was being taken!)

Touring the education department, affectionately known as The West Wing.

Hi, my name is Mia White and I’m the winter program and education intern. I just moved back toBaltimoreand am very excited to be getting involved in the JMM, as well as the Baltimore Community. Can’t wait to meet everyone at our upcoming programs!


Practicing proper object handling.

And our new staff member:

Hi, my name is Rachel Cylus, and I am excited to begin work as the Program Manager of the JMM. I am a native of Owings Mills, Maryland, and after spending the last four years working at Jewish historic sites in Boston and Germany, I am happy to be back in Maryland learning about and working with Maryland Jewish history.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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