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Still Crazy After All These Years: Classical Monster Mashes

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by

Last weekend we were joined again by Dr. Arnold Blumberg who delivered another fantastic talk.  Still Crazy After All These Years: Classical Monster Mashes was inspired both by our current exhibit Paul Simon: Words and Music and tomorrow nights spooky celebrations.

Monster Mash Cover

Monster Mash Cover

Dr. Blumberg predicts that of the novelty songs with a strong connection to Halloween almost 75 to 80 percent were all produced in the same year, 1958. This surprising figure came about as  a result of a clever marketing strategy from the makers of many of the classic horror movies. As a result of a rerelease of these movies on TV there was a renewed interest in horror. This eventually led to the production of horror themed novelty songs, as it became clear that these songs had huge earning potential more and more were produced. One of the most successful was of course Monster Mash, but as Dr. Blumberg discusses there were many, many more.

Please enjoy this recording of Dr. Blumberg’s talk and perhaps share with us your favorite Halloween novelty song.


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Program Wrap Up: Dr. Betsy Bryan on Egyptian Funerary Beliefs

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by

This Sunday we welcomed Dr. Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University to the JMM to offer a little more insight into Mendes Cohen’s collection of antiquities. Dr. Bryan’s fascinating presentation  discussed both the collection as a whole and the way in which it represents ancient Egyptian funerary beliefs.

The Program

The Program

The collection, originally consisting of nearly 700 objects, formed the basis of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, and was donated shortly after Mendes’ death by his nephew also named Mendes Cohen. Most of the pieces were acquired during his time in modern Luxor during his three month voyage down the Nile.

Dr. Bryan explained that the ancient Egyptians believed the afterlife to be similar to life, as such requiring many of the same possessions. These requirements ranged from the body, hence the need for mummification, to smaller items such as cosmetic containers, jewelry and food. Some items such as jewelry provided a dual function having protective powers, often associated with the preservation of the body.

Selections from Mendes' archaeological collection.

Selections from Mendes’ archaeological collection.

The talk predominantly  focused upon standards within wealthier members of the community especially Tutankhamun. However there was a particularly interesting discussion regarding ordinary members of society and the simpler grave goods that can be found in their burials based upon Dr. Bryans current work in Egypt.

Please enjoy this recording of Dr. Brayns presentation and share with friends and family!

Trillion BremenA blog post by Programs Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Program Wrap-Up: How Jews Entered American Politics: The Curious Case of Maryland’s “Jew Bill”

Posted on February 26th, 2015 by


Despite the wintry weather, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Rafael Medoff, the founding director of The David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, to speak at the JMM this past Sunday. His talk focused on Maryland’s Jew Bill and explored how American Jews came to achieve full political equality in the United States. As Dr. Medoff explained, before there was a finalized federal constitution, the original 13 colonies had to have their own system of governance, which established the connection between one’s religious faith and the right to hold public office come. As each state enacted it’s constitution in 1776, each had to consider and articulate the qualification to hold public office. Many states, including Maryland, required an affirmation of one’s Christian faith in order to hold public office and enjoy other civic opportunities. The purpose, however, was not to exclude Jews, rather to affirm the Christian spirit of the new country but, consequently, it had the effect of excluding people. Critical turning point came after the Federal Constitution and northwest ordinance were enacted in 1787, which allowed the principle of full equality without Christian affirmation to be enshrined. However, the road to remedying the conflicting federal and state previsions was lengthy and complex and had a lasting impact on both local and global politics. It is this complex journey of the Jew Bill that sits at the heart of Dr. Medoff’s talk.

We are happy to invite you to listen and enjoy and even share this talk with friends and family!


We hope you will join us for our next talk on Sunday, March 29th at 1pm, where we’ll welcome Dr. Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University. She will be speaking on 19th century Egyptology and the collection of Mendes Cohen!

See you there!

See you there!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland