Performance Counts: JMM on Social Media

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by

There has been a lot of discussion in the news in the last few months about the way that new social media channels are changing our economy and politics.  It seemed like a great time to talk about how JMM is using these channels to build community around the Museum, it’s artifacts and history.  In this month’s Performance Counts Rachel Kassman, wearing her “marketing manager” hat, shares recent highlights platform by platform.  Rachel does an amazing job of making us visible with very limited resources.

~Marvin

Facebook was the first social media platform the Museum dipped its toe in – we’ve had our page since February 20, 2008 (at least, that’s when we uploaded our first profile picture)! Over the past almost 8 years we’ve gained 2,270 “follows” and 2,384 page “likes.” Those follows are particularly important, as Facebook’s various algorithms use them to decide who is going to see our posts on their timeline.  In many ways Facebook is the most encompassing of our social media platforms; it serves as a photo-sharing site, an events calendar (with built in invitation capabilities), and as a forum to share articles and ideas.

In the past year we’ve also started to dabble in Facebook advertising. If you have a Facebook page of your own, you may have seen some of our “boosted” events as we work to increase awareness of the Museum and the many exciting public programs we host.

The Confusingly Popular Post

The Confusingly Popular Post

Ever heard the phrase “going viral?” It refers to something online exploding beyond any expectation (and often for no discernible reason). We had a little taste of this ourselves over Thanksgiving, with what is our most “popular” post to-date! On Wednesday afternoon we shared this archaeological bit of news: 3,800-Year-Old Ancient ‘Thinking Person’ Statuette Unearthed from Huffington Post. Over the course of the next 24 hours this post received 91 comments, was shared 425 times, and reached 14,303 people via our page. To place this in context, our next most popular post since July 1, 2016 (the farthest back Facebook Insights will allow is 180 days) had a reach of 1,935, received 1 comment, and was shared 17 times. (For those interested, it was this article.) Even stranger, the original article itself only got 12 comments over at Huffington Post. Why this post? Why on Thanksgiving? We will probably never know.

Did you know our very first tweet went out on August 11, 2010? (In case you’re wondering, we tweeted about a job opening at the Museum.) Since then we’ve sent out 13,800 individual tweets to over 1,300 followers! That number represents a combination of “retweets” (that is, where we share tweets from other accounts that we think are interesting or important) and original tweets written by the Museum. These original tweets cover everything from public program announcements to behind-the-scenes photos. The vast majority of our top tweets are based on sharing materials from our collections – our top two tweets over the past three months (September – November) celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Mexican Independence Day.

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

How do we decide what to share on Twitter? Hashtags. (What’s a hashtag? Here’s an article to explain.)  Hashtags help identify topics followers might be interested in multiple ways. One is by checking trending hashtags, which show you what topics are being tweeted about by others in your geographic location –that’s how we decided to post the above tweet on the left for Mexican Independence Day. Another is “daily hashtags” like #TBT (also known as Throwback Thursday) and #MondayMugShots (which have been a great way to highlight some of our quirky gift shop items).

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

A third way is by connecting our collections to eccentric holidays like #NationalPickleDay, #NationalButtonDay, and #NationalTakeAHikeDay. These hashtags don’t just help us on Twitter, but carry over to all our other social media platforms as well, letting us get multiple bangs-for-our-buck.  (So far we haven’t had any “retweets” from the incoming “tweeter-in-chief”, but who knows?)

Tumblr is a social media platform often referred to as a “microblogging” site – it lets users share links, photos, videos, and text posts easily. The Museum has been on Tumblr since January 16, 2015 (we debuted with a series of behind-the-scenes photos of the Museum by way of celebrating “Appreciate a Dragon Day”) and has gained 819 followers through 1,314 posts. Here’s a look at the activity on our Tumblr over the last seven days:

The last 5 days

The last 7 days

As with Twitter our top posts on Tumblr often come from our collections!

Instagram is the newest platform we’re exploring, added to the Museum’s social media portfolio just three months ago (September 13, 2016 to be exact). We’ve already gained 84 followers and posted nearly 275 individual images in that time – and those images have garnered 875 “likes” between them! Collections related posts have already proven incredibly popular, as you can see from the top 3 posts by both likes and comments pictured below.

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Remember those hashtags we talked about earlier? Instagram relies heavily on them – and we’ve got the graph to prove it! Over the past three months, after researching multiple articles on how best to use Instagram as an institution, we’ve been increasing the number of relevant hashtags used on each post. As you can see, this has had a direct correlation to the popularity of our account.

Look at that generous incline!

Look at that generous incline!

And because we’re nerds, here’s one more graph showing the most-likes-per-hashtag used on our account.

Pie charts!

Pie charts!

Managing It All

There’s a lot going on in social media for the Jewish Museum of Maryland – we do our best to provide fresh content throughout the day on all our platforms, not to mention updating the Museum blog  (and of course, sharing those updates on social media!). One tool that helps us maintain a robust presence online with limited time is Hootesuite, which allows us to schedule tweets, facebook posts, and Instagram posts in advance. This has been a lifesaver as we work to increase our output.

Hootesuite  is a great tool

Hootesuite is a great tool

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look “behind the social media curtain,” and if you have any questions about the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter), please send them to us!

~Rachel

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Performance Counts: Intern Round Up 2016

Posted on August 12th, 2016 by

I’m so pleased to announce another successful summer of interns! The Museum welcomed ten new interns into our intense, ten-week internship program this year, spread across multiple Museum departments.


By the Numbers

10 interns from 10 different schools, half representing Maryland institutions like Salisbury University, Hood College, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. But we also had interns from Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, University of Rochester and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  This year the majority (8) of our interns grew up in Maryland!

Interns in DC

Interns in DC

Interns participated in a combined 3,500 hours of work and learning over the course of their internships.

33 Blog Posts – In addition to the 2 individual blog posts we ask each intern to write over the course of the summer, this year we introduced the “Intern Thoughts: A Weekly Response” series. Each week (with one extra to cover our Summer Teachers Institute) interns were presented with a prompt, readings, or a set of questions to consider and respond to. You can check out all the entries in this series HERE. And to see all entries by (and about) our interns on the blog, check out the “intern” tag!

Workshopping with Karen

Workshopping with Karen

Staff donated their time and expertise, along with a few outside professionals, to offer 10 professional workshops throughout the summer!

Object Handling with collections manager Joanna Church

Introduction to Exhibitions and Oral History Training with curator Karen Falk

Exhibit Evaluation with Marianna Adams of Audience Focus, Inc

Holocaust Memory Art Workshop training with artist Lori Shocket

Grant Proposal Writing with deputy director Deborah Cardin

Museum Management with executive director Marvin Pinkert

Visitor Services with visitor services coordinator Graham Humphrey

Project Management with associate director Tracie Guy-Decker

Resumes & Cover Letters with development & marketing manager Rachel Kassman and Joanna Church

20 hours of museum shop inventory – The assistance of our summer interns meant we were able to complete this humble but incredibly important job in only a week!

Enjoying Flag Day festivities

Enjoying Flag Day festivities

Interns were able to participate in 4 fieldtrips over the course of the summer. On Flag Day they visited the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House & Museum – director Amanda Davis was kind enough to follow up their visit with a visit of her own to JMM, spending a brown-bag lunch with the interns and sharing the joys and challenges of her role at the Flag House. Interns were treated to an intimate tour of the Library of Congress, with a special stop at the Hebraic Collections reading room; they also got to meet the education staff of the Walters Art Museum and learn about their specialty “touch tours” for the visually impaired. Finally, interns were also able to visit the United States Holocaust Museum & Memorial during the Summer Teachers Institute.


A Quick Summary

Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns:
David Agronin, Anna Balfanz, Rachel Morin, Benjamin Snyder

This summer saw are largest class of education interns ever.  Education director Ilene Dackman-Alon and programs manager Trillion Attwood worked with four interns this summer. All four worked together to create audio tours of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, staff the front desk, research our newest living history character, Henrietta Szold, and organize the Summer Teachers Institute. The education interns were instrumental in working with four summer school classes from Baltimore City Public schools and facilitated education programs in connection with Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in Baltimore; and Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews & Medicine in America.

Anna and Ben had the opportunity to work with students who have visual impairments from the National Foundation for the Blind- Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning Camp. Anna also planned a special Lloyd Street Synagogue Rosh Hashanah display, which we can’t wait for you to come see!

Rachel got to put her graphic designs skills to work and created a new interpretive brochure for the Lloyd Street Synagogue as well as fliers and even a program postcard for the Museum’s public events.

David, in addition to his education-related tasks, worked with executive director Marvin Pinkert on research for our upcoming exhibit American Alchemy, an exploration of the scrap and recycling industries.

Exploring Voices of Lombard Street

Exploring Voices of Lombard Street


Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections and Exhibitions Interns:

Gina Crosby, Emilia Halvorsen, Becky Miller, Tamara Schlossenberg, Alice Wynd

Curator Karen Falk oversaw three interns this year: Alice, Becky, and Emilia. These three young women worked on a variety of tasks related to Belonging, the new core exhibit JMM is developing. They surveyed the collections for objects, images and ephemera that will illustrate a range of stories about being Jewish in Maryland.

In preparation for a grant proposal to be completed this winter, they reviewed the academic literature on Jewish identity and Jewish community, and contributed to the exhibit team’s thinking on themes and narratives for the exhibition. Since the exhibit is expected to include an interactive game as a major element, Becky reviewed the literature on the use of games in museum exhibitions. Emilia researched core exhibitions in other identity museums, in both America and abroad. All three interns worked on evaluating visitor response to the Beyond Chicken Soup exhibition, and all three also did some very valuable oral history transcription. When the summer began, Karen didn’t think they would even be able to complete a review of the collection, much less contribute to the museum in so many other ways – she is truly impressed!

Collections manager Joanna Chuch supervised two interns this year: Gina and Tamara. Together these interns assisted with turning the pages of the National Library of Israel manuscripts in Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. They also worked together on processing a large collection of blueprints.

Tamara has continued the semi-annual collections inventory begun last summer, including a thorough inventory and cataloging effort of 32 large flat file drawers, and inventories of both Voices of Lombard Street and Synagogue Speaks. She also created a finding aid for our large archaeological collections, both the material culture and the related paperwork, with details on the dates, locations, and work done – making this material much easier to use.  She has also assisted with a few research requests and donation offers.

Gina has done intensive research into our oral history and memoir collections looking for information and stories relevant to next year’s Just Married! exhibition; many of these oral histories had not been transcribed or digitized previously.  She has also worked with Joanna on formulating the overall narrative of the exhibit, and has attended meetings of the exhibit team as the planning process begins.

Visiting the Library of Congress

Visiting the Library of Congress

Jewish Museum of Maryland Digital Projects Intern: O. Cade Simon

This was an experimental internship I introduced this summer and Cade was a great candidate. He was flexible and game for whatever I wanted to try. Cade’s projects ranged from researching various geo-cached data applications to creating a stop-motion video to promote our upcoming Great Chicken Soup Cook-Off! Cade also photographed all the collages created during our Holocaust Remembrance workshops, so they can be turned into their final forms as “Holocaust Memory Reconstruction: A Sacred Culture Rebuilt,” which will be displayed as part of our Remembering Auschwitz: History, Holocaust, Humanity exhibition opening in March 2017.
This post is by Rachel Kassman, Development & Marketing Coordinator and JMM Intern Wrangler.

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Performance Counts August 2015: Intern Round Up

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by

From Rachel Kassman, Development & Marketing Manager and Official Intern Wrangler:

This was my first year as the official “Intern Wrangler,” and Jobi Zink left me some very dainty yet incredibly challenging shoes to fill. Luckily this summer’s amazing interns helped keep things running smoothly and made the job much easier for me than I expected! This year’s interns hailed from a variety of schools – George Washington University, Cooperstown Graduate Program, University of Maryland, Towson University, Dickinson College, and Johns Hopkins University, representing both undergraduate and graduate student programs.

Interns at the National Federation for the Blind.

Interns at the National Federation for the Blind.

While each intern had their own individual projects and assignments, it was all hands on deck for de-installing The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit and installing Cinema Judaica. You couldn’t ask for a more enthusiastic crew. The interns were also of invaluable assistance for Cinema Judaica’s grand opening on July 2nd. But I think my favorite group project was the creation of our Paul Simon lip-synch videos – I won’t go into too much detail but trust me, when you see them you’ll understand all the laughter that’s been happening in the office this summer. All of these projects were a great opportunity for staff and interns to work together and get to know each other better.

Every year we try and make sure our summer internships are well-rounded, fully-immersive experiences that benefit our interns as much as they benefit us through a variety of field trips, workshops, and other professional opportunities. This year was no exception.

We were so pleased to be hosted by our neighbors at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American history for their birthday open house. We also had special tours of the National Federation for the Blind, where the interns learned about accessibility; and the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where the interns were able to go “behind the scenes” and check out the BMI’s collections storage area (trust me, it’s more fascinating than you think!). The interns also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the Summer Teachers Institute.

Posing in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture special exhibit.

Posing in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture special exhibit.

Exhibit interns Sophia and Elizabeth also had the opportunity to visit the National Library of Medicine in the course of their internship while researching potential exhibit object loans. Collections intern Kaleigh visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia to pick up an item, visited the Maryland Historical Society to return loan items used in our Amazing Mendes Cohen exhibit, and made multiple trips into the community to pick up Museum collection donations.

Museum staff members were kind enough to volunteer their time to provide a series of professional workshops for the interns as well. Curator Karen Falk introduced them to exhibition planning and evaluation while Collections Manager Joanna Church gave them a hands-on course in object handling. Deputy Director Deborah Cardin covered the ins-and-outs of grant proposal writing while Assistant Director Tracie Guy-Decker took them through the whirlwind of project management. Programs Manager Trillion Attwood and I led the annual “Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviewing” workshop – though we were very impressed already with the professionalism of this year’s intern cohort! Executive Director Marvin Pinkert hosted all of the interns for a brown bag focus group on marketing the Museum – particularly its upcoming exhibition projects.

Collections Intern Kaleigh inventories a doctor's bag.

Collections Intern Kaleigh inventories a doctor’s bag.

Saralynn and Sheldon Glass Education Interns: Eden Cho & Falicia Eddy 

Our education interns always have their work cut out for them – every summer the Museum participates in SuperKids, a “summer cultural enrichment program designed to help elementary grade students in Baltimore City Public Schools maintain and/or improve their academic skills.” Once a week the Museum hosted campers for a half-day experience at the Museum, including an in-depth tour and scavenger hunt in our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit and a “Create Your Own Neighborhood”hands-on activity. In addition to working with these campers, education interns lead tours of our two historic synagogues, assisted at the front desk, helped plan and execute our three day Summer Teachers Institute and much more.

Each intern also had her own special projects – Eden created a treasure hunt of things to look for in our current Cinema Judaica exhibit, analyzed teacher evaluations of school tours for grant writing purposes, researched the history of St. John the Baptist Lithuanian Church for the development of a new synagogue tour, and designed a curriculum for our upcoming exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music. Falicia adapted the Ida Rehr’s immigrant trunk lessons to immigrant experiences today, created a small lobby exhibit as a companion the 2015 Summer Teachers Institute, conducted research on businesses in Pikesville and assisted with a lesson plan on protest and injustice in Baltimore’s history that connects Jews and African Americans.

Education Interns Eden and Falicia direct a SuperKids activity.

Education Interns Eden and Falicia direct a SuperKids activity.

Saul L. Ewing, LLC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Exhibitions Interns: Sophia Brocenos & Elizabeth Livesey

The summer 2015 exhibition interns Elizabeth Livesey and Sophia Brocenos worked on our upcoming Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America exhibit. This exhibit opens in March and I think it’s going to knock your socks off – in no small part because of the efforts fo Elizabeth and Sophia!

Elizabeth’s research focused on scientific research conducted in Jewish hospitals in the 20th century and different medical milestones during the “Golden Age of Medicine.” She then translated this research into exhibit panels and object and image labels. Elizabeth also looked into ancestry and DNA survey programs, and the lives and careers of Drs. Salk and Sabin. She also conducted and transcribed an oral history for the exhibit.

Sophia’s internship focused on identifying, executing, and processing loans of digital images from institutional collections. This involved contacting an employee at said institution and working out the paperwork to receive the digital image and the rights to use it in the exhibit as well as cataloging them in the JMM collections system and creating a physical file. She also assisted Curator Karen Falk with maintaining consistent data over various exhibit files.

Exhibitions Intern Sophia hard at work at her desk.

Exhibitions Intern Sophia hard at work.

Saul L. Ewing, LCC in Memory of Robert L. Weinberg Collections Intern: Kaleigh Ratliff

This summer’s collections intern Kaleigh was an amazing asset. The Museum manages a large and ever-growing collection of objects, photographs and archival material that is cared for by a single staff member. Having a full time summer intern means getting caught up with the day-to-day work of collections that often gets delayed due to more immediate concerns. Kaleigh worked on this year’s collections inventory, working her way through roughly 1,600 small objects. She also updated and reconciled object loans (both those we loaned out to other institutions and those we borrowed), housed artifacts in their proper places, processed new accessions into the collections, assisted on artifact pick-ups of new donations, and prepared materials for researchers. 

Jewish Museum of Maryland Marketing Interns: Rachel Sweren & Carmen Venable

I may be a little biased (I am the marketing manager after all) but these two interns put the fun back into summer for me. With their combined efforts the Museum created 13 separate lip-synch videos (which I can’t wait to share with you – don’t worry, they’ll be coming soon!), assisted with the Museum Shop annual inventory, and researched and created content for use on all the JMM’s social media platforms.

Carmen also created an exhibit installation in miniature video with collections intern Kaleigh (you can view it HERE), wrote instructions on how to create future videos, whipped our Tumblr into shape, sent out promotional materials about JMM’s summer programs and researched multiple marketing strategies and ideas.

Interns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Interns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

YouthWorks Summer Jobs: Zericka Jones and Darius Smith 

This year the Museum also participated in the Baltimore City’s YouthWorks summer jobs program, which matches up Baltimore City students, ages 14 – 21 to five-week work experiences with private sector, nonprofit, and city and state government employers. We were thrilled with both our YouthWorks employees. Zericka worked with Marvin Pinkert as an administrative assistant, helping to organize his office, prepare meeting and project materials, and assisting wherever needed throughout the Museum. Darius worked with Joanna Church in the collections, assisting with an inventory of the photograph collection and digitizing genealogy and family history records.

Collections boxes with pink post-it notes on them.

Darius inventoried all the boxes with pink tags!

If you haven’t already been following along already, I strongly urge you to head over to our blog and check out some of the truly excellent posts these interns have created throughout their summer here at the JMM – THIS LINK http://jewishmuseummd.org/tag/interns/ will take you directly there!

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