Life of a Collections Intern

Posted on August 6th, 2013 by

Clare RobbinsA blog post by Collections Intern Clare Robbins. Clare works under the supervision of Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts by Clare and other JMM interns, click here.

I cannot believe that this is my last week here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  The summer has gone by so quickly!  I’ve learned so much, and am incredibly grateful for the experience.  One of my primary tasks for the summer was to process the objects from the 2012-2013 collections.  So for my last blog post, I decided to highlight some of the interesting new additions to the museum’s collection.

One of the first objects I catalogued was a thin brown rope. This rope was worn around Susie Williams Gaumer’s waist when she was a nursing student at Sinai in the 1950s.  The Sinai nursing students spent three months at Sheppard Pratt Hospital for their psychiatric training where all of the doors were locked and needed keys for entry. They wore this rope with the keys around our waist under their uniform. The rope came out of a designated space in their uniform at the waist. By keeping the keys inside their uniforms the nurses could ensure that the patients did not get the keys

Rope used by Sinai nursing students to keep the hospital keys safe, 2012.117.1

Rope used by Sinai nursing students to keep the hospital keys safe, 2012.117.1

Edmart, a Jewish Deli in the Baltimore area, also donated several items this past year, including this cigar box wrapped in red tin foil.  The cigar box came from the cigar shop across the street from Edmart.  Marty Lev wrapped the cigar box in red foil to be used as a display stand

Cigar box used as a display case at Edmart, 2012.121.2

Cigar box used as a display case at Edmart, 2012.121.2

Edmart also donated several signs like this one that advertises Edmart sandwiches at Camden Yards

Edmart sign, 2012.121.11

Edmart sign, 2012.121.11

Another fun item is this t-shirt worn by our very own Deborah Cardin when her father, Ben Cardin, ran for Maryland House of Delegates in 1974

Cardin’s t-shirt, 2013.5.1

Cardin’s t-shirt, 2013.5.1

We also received a set of six Mah Jong button covers  that was purchased at a Senior Expo in Montgomery County

Mah Jong button covers, 2012.127.1

Mah Jong button covers, 2012.127.1

And in anticipation for the upcoming football season, I leave you with this Baltimore Ravens t-shirt that says “Wacko for Flacco” in Hebrew

Go Ravens! 2013.24.1

Go Ravens! 2013.24.1

 

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Insights from the Jewish Museum of Maryland, April 19, 2013

Posted on April 19th, 2013 by

In this month’s JMM Insight we wanted to take you into the world of government relations.  In the last few years direct support from government agencies to museums has fallen sharply at both the state and federal levels.  However, government policy – on issues ranging from education to tax law still have a profound effect on museum operations.  The American Association of Museums changed its name to American Alliance of Museums last year to reflect its important role as a collective voice for the industry on a national scale (JMM is an accredited member).  While we work closely with the Baltimore Jewish Council on government issues of local concern, we also participate in the Alliance’s national efforts to make the contributions of museums better known to Congress.  Each year we send a delegation to Museum Advocacy Day.  In this issue you’ll hear from Esther Weiner, store manager, board liaison and museum advocate extraordinaire.

MUSEUM ADVOCACY DAY 2013

February 25 and 26, 2013

estherWhen Deborah Cardin sent out an email to the staff asking for volunteers to attend a 2-day meeting in Washington, sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums,  a meeting titled, “Museum Advocacy Day 2013”, I jumped at the opportunity.

 I was quite familiar with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a key federal agency, having worked with the grants that came to the JMM from IMLS, so I knew of the marvelous work that they accomplished with museums all over the country thru their grants.   I wanted to learn the inside of this organization, as well as AAM, and see how they accomplished the quite amazing things that they did through the grant awards that were given.  Another key federal agency is the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); the JMM has been the beneficiary of grants from this agency as well.

Capital in Washington for Advocacy Day

Robyn Hughes, our wonderful and amazing docent, had already volunteered for the second time, so I thought this would be great, the two of us to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  In her own words, Robyn said, “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the American Alliance of Museums as an Advocate on Museums Advocacy Day 2013 on Capitol Hill. It is my sincere hope that our lobbying efforts for the inclusion of museums in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will enable thousands of public school students from city schools across the nation to continue to benefit from museum outreach programs.”

There were approximately 270 representatives to this conference from all over the country.  Most of the representatives had been to this conference before, but there were also novices like myself.  The conference was a two-day affair. The first day the meeting was held at George Washington University, in their Marvin Center, with speakers all day long.  It was also a great opportunity to network with representatives of museums from all over the country and to learn how to advocate for our own museum, in two minutes or less!  We heard of the unique budgetary and political challenges that museums face in 2013 and the power of having the museum speak with one voice.

Robyn Hughes and Esther Weiner in Washington @ Sen. Ben Cardin's office

On the second day, all of us were inspired and primed with our own two-minute talk to the representatives and senator that the Alliance had arranged for each of us. I had prepared an Economic Impact Statement well as an Educational Impact Statement with facts about the JMM. Our preparation was to encourage the representatives and senators to vote for increased funding for IMLS, which we knew would be cut in the new budget.  We went in groups to the offices of Congressman John Delaney, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, and in the afternoon to the office of Senator Ben Cardin. We were always cordially received, and met with the Legislative Assistants in each case.

It was an extraordinary experience and I am so glad that I volunteered to represent the JMM and to travel around the House and Senate with Robyn Hughes.  Robyn was great, and having her mother with us was a treat.  Being “on the Hill” has its own particular fascination, and fascinated I was! Would I do this again?  You bet, so thank you Deborah, for giving me the opportunity to hopefully make a difference for the JMM.

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