Performance Counts: March 2015

Posted on March 13th, 2015 by

Have you been keeping up with the Museum’s blog? If not, hopefully this month’s Performance Counts will convince you it’s a must read. I’ve asked Rachel Kassman, the Museum’s marketing manager and self-appointed “social media maven”  to share with you what makes our blog special and to give you some behind the scenes data.

~Marvin

A (Very) Little History
The JMM blog was born in the summer of 2008 as a way to follow along with the restoration of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. However it didn’t take us long to realize the blog could be so much more – a way to share all kinds of stories about the Museum, its projects, and its people. It’s also been a great way to make information easily accessible for a wide audience- for instance, did you know that each issue of Museum Matters, Performance Counts and JMM Insights is posted on the blog?

Since its birth in 2008 we’ve posted 1,300 blog posts, which averages to a post every other day.  Our longest running regular feature is the weekly “Once Upon a Time” series, which illustrates our partnership with the Baltimore Jewish Times in an effort to identify people in photographs that are part of our collection (there are 282 posts in this series – and we’re about 8 months behind the in-print version). Another regular feature is the monthly “Volunteer Spotlight” series, written by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen and usually posted on the first Monday of each month – we’re up to 15 so far and hope to eventually highlight all of our wonderful volunteers in this manner. A newer feature is the post-programs wrap up – while the posting dates for this feature are irregular we try to get them up within a few days of a public program, to give readers a feel for what they missed if they couldn’t make the program. We’ve even started recording select programs for later listening! (You can check out our very first program recording here.) These posts are also shared on the Museum’s social media platforms and selected posts are highlighted on the homepage of the JMM website to increase the potential audience.

Who’s Writing This Stuff?
Our prime blog contributors are museum staff – every month I send out a call, asking folks to sign up for an open date. Opening up blog authorship to the entire staff keeps the blog’s “voice” diverse and helps make sure we highlight and share stories and information from all areas of the Museum. I’m incredibly proud of the interesting, well-thought out content my colleagues provide every month. We also ask our interns and volunteers to join us in our blogging efforts, providing another set of perspectives on what goes on here at the JMM. Summer is an especially active time for our blog because we host anywhere from five to a dozen interns for ten full weeks, which provides plenty of opportunities for blog fodder (including intern field trips, workshops, and project updates).

Navigating The Blog
Let’s talk about tags – those are the lists of words at the bottom of every blog post:

Tags are a way to organize the content on a blog. In our case we use the tags to help identify the author and some of the main subjects included in the post. For instance, let’s say you were reading a really great post, like “Mazel Cufflinks” by Collections Manager Joanna Church. If you get to the end of the post and think, hey, this Joanna character is a really fun writer, I wonder what else she’s done…all you have to do is click on her name in the tags and you’ll find all the posts she’s written for the blog! Or maybe you caught Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon’s latest post “A Little Kindness…” which documents a surprise visit by 84 high school students and you wanted to know more about all the exciting things the education staff gets up to. Just click on “education” in the tags and you’ll get a plethora of related posts. If you’ve got a hankering for intriguing history, you should definitely explore Marvin’s tag – start with his recent President’s Day post and work your way back!

Highlights and Favorites
To round out this month’s Performance Counts I informally polled the staff for their favorite posts from the blog – and got some interesting results!

Both Assistant Director Deborah Cardin and Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon cited the Volunteer Spotlight series as their favorite feature. Deborah loves “learning interesting tidbits about our volunteers. They are an impressive bunch!” and Ilene thinks its great to see another side of them.

Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik picked “Buried Alive: Eighteenth Century Terror and a “Superstar” Jewish Doctor”, a particularly ghoulish post from Curator Karen Falk, inspired by her research for our upcoming Jews and Medicine exhibit. Programs Associate Carolyn Bevans’ pick also took a slightly macabre turn with “An Engagement Ring of a Different Color,” Collections Manager Joanna Church’s Halloween-inspired collection blog.

Joanna herself went a very different direction with her favorite. She says “Before my interview I read Deborah’s awesome post about Flat Mendes on her family vacation, and I thought, Yes, I can work there.”

Curator Karen Falk, funnily enough, found her favorite blog post through a different website entirely: Wikipedia! That’s right, in the course of doing research on Read’s Pharmacy she found a reference to Dr. Deb Weiner’s post “Read’s Drug Store: The Jewish Connection” on the Read’s Wikipedia page and followed it right back to our blog.

When I asked Marvin for his “best picks” he went above and beyond with a full Oscar-style slate! Here are his award-winning posts (from the last 6 months!):

Best comedy:  Yet More Responses from the Mendes Questions Box by Abby Krolik
Best history story: Buried Alive: Eighteenth Century Terror and a “Superstar” Jewish Doctor by Karen Falk
Best event report: Sephardic lecture by Carolyn Bevans
Best photo documentary: The Making of an Exhibit: Mendes Arrives by Deborah Cardin
Best reason to visit our website: Appreciate a Dragon Day by Rachel Kassman
Best travelogue: A European Adventure by Abby Krolik
Best biography: Volunteer Spotlight on Marty Buckman by Ilene Cohen
Best blog by an intern:  Maimonides by Barbara Israelson
Best Blog of FY ’15 (so far): It’s a tie between National Umbrella Day and National Handwriting Day, both by Joanna Church

My favorites? How can I pick – as the blog maven I feel like all the posts are special to me in their own way and I wouldn’t want to play favorites among my lovely contributors. But I will tell you my favorite post that I’ve ever written – “Appreciate a Dragon Day!” I had so much fun putting that post together that I still smile every time I look at it. I hope you’ll click on some of the links I’ve shared here and spend a little time exploring the wild and wonderful world of the JMM blog!

~Rachel Kassman, Development and Marketing Manager (aka Social Media Maven)

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Appreciate A Dragon Day!

Posted on January 16th, 2015 by

What could be a better way to appreciate a dragon than to offer him a visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland?

What could be a better way to appreciate a dragon than to offer him a visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland?

You may recognize our special visitor, Elliot Dragon. He decided to start his visit with a tour of the Museum’s collections.

Collections Manager Joanna Church made sure to fill Elliot in on all the rules for using collections!

Collections Manager Joanna Church made sure to fill Elliot in on all the rules for using collections!

Getting a close look at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Getting a close look at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

 

Getting the side-eye from Napoleon Bonaparte himself!   Teapot from porcelain tete-a-tete teaset by Nast of Paris, c. 1840, JMM 1989.145.006.

Getting the side-eye from Napoleon Bonaparte himself!
Teapot from porcelain tete-a-tete teaset by Nast of Paris, c. 1840, JMM 1989.145.006.

Nice pose Elliot!  Orange ceramic ashtray, shaped like a turtle on its back. JMM 1992.185.009

Nice pose Elliot!
Orange ceramic ashtray, shaped like a turtle on its back. JMM 1992.185.009

Demonstrating excellent microscope technique!  Black microscope used by Melvin Borden when he was a student at the University of Maryland. He graduated in 1938. JMM 1996.105.001

Demonstrating excellent microscope technique!
Black microscope used by Melvin Borden when he was a student at the University of Maryland. He graduated in 1938. JMM 1996.105.001

Permanent Wave Machine for hair, used in Sonya Berlin’s Beauty Shop at 2016 Orleans Street, Baltimore, 1930-1939. JMM 2004.028.001 This piece was most recently on display in our "The Electrified Pickle" exhibit, July - August 2014.

Permanent Wave Machine for hair, used in Sonya Berlin’s Beauty Shop at 2016 Orleans Street, Baltimore, 1930-1939. JMM 2004.028.001 This piece was most recently on display in our “The Electrified Pickle” exhibit, July – August 2014.

MS 53: Ferdinand W. Breth Collection - Diary, c. 1920s

MS 53: Ferdinand W. Breth Collection – Diary, c. 1920s

After his collections tour, Elliot sat down with Director Marvin Pinkert for a nice chat.

After his collections tour, Elliot sat down with Director Marvin Pinkert for a nice chat.

On to Exhibits!

 

Next stop: The Voices of Lombard Street exhibit. I think that sewing machine might be a little big for you Elliot!

Next stop: The Voices of Lombard Street exhibit. I think that sewing machine might be a little big for you Elliot!

 

Cheeky dragon! You can't take a potty break in the exhibit. (Though I will admit, those fly sounds are VERY realistic.)

Cheeky dragon! You can’t take a potty break in the exhibit. (Though I will admit, those fly sounds are VERY realistic.)

 

Paging through a JEA scrapbook.

Paging through a JEA scrapbook.

 

Deborah was pretty excited to meet a childhood hero and gave Elliot a special welcome to The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit!

Deborah was pretty excited to meet a childhood hero and gave Elliot a special welcome to The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit!

Doing a little reading in the exhibit.

Doing a little reading in the exhibit.

 

Elliot decided he made a much better monument topper than former president George Washington!

Elliot decided he made a much better monument topper than former president George Washington!

 

Mapping some of Mendes' many adventures.

Mapping some of Mendes’ many adventures.

 

Elliot admires Mendes' style.

Elliot admires Mendes’ style.

 

And of course, Elliot had a very important question at the end of the exhibit. Maybe we'll find out the answer on the next installment of "Mendes' Questions!"

And of course, Elliot had a very important question at the end of the exhibit. Maybe we’ll find out the answer on the next installment of “Mendes’ Questions!”

And of course no visit is complete without souvenirs! Enjoy your Flat Mendes & Mendes mug, Elliot!

And of course no exhibit visit is complete without souvenirs. Enjoy your Flat Mendes & Mendes mug, Elliot!

 

I know I had a great time celebrating "Appreciate A Dragon Day." Elliot & I hope you enjoyed following along on his exploits throughout the Museum.

I know I had a great time celebrating “Appreciate A Dragon Day.” Elliot & I hope you enjoyed following along on his exploits throughout the Museum.

 

Rachel KThis celebration of a ridiculous holiday (but we didn’t even make it up, honest!was brought to you by Rachel Kassman, Development and Marketing Manager. Don’t forget to check us out on twitter, facebook and on our *brand new* tumblr!

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SOUL SEARCHING: Navigating the JMM Collections

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by

Part 3 of a 3 part series on using the JMM On-line Database

Let’s pretend that you’ve been convinced you to join the 21st century the social media craze. Now that you understand that #tbt stands for Throwback Thursday and means posting an old photo on your Facebook page so people write nostalgic messages, you want to find an image of your high school sweetheart. Since you’ve been following the “Once Upon a Time” feature on the JMM blog, you know that we have a ton of photographs from Jewish Maryland in the collection. You go directly to the JMM online database jmm.pastperfect-online.com and enter a keyword such as “sweetheart” and see what you find…

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.128.001.026.004

Unidentified couple being introduced at the AZA Sweetheart dance, 1964. 1995.128.001.026.004

While it was a bit surprising that “sweetheart” actually yielded images, perhaps “dance” would’ve been a better choice, since you distinctly remember smiling for the camera at the spring formal.

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

A great TBT photo! Black and white photo of a Tau Beta Sigma sorority dance at Hotel Sterling. 1984.211.037

If your sweetheart is from Maryland, you can try entering his or her name in the search box. If you don’t know if she would be catalogued as “Daisy Mae” or “Daisy Duke” “Daisy” will pull up all records with her maiden or married name… and possibly some pictures of pretty flowers. The People record should also indicate alternate names and associated records!

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Daisy D. Carawan (Mrs. Barnett) is in the photograph of the 1937 graduating class of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. 2010.020.070

Finally, you find the perfect #TBT! You can right click and save image as on your desktop, then attach it to your Facebook page. While the photo should have a light watermark on it, please make sure you tag the Jewish Museum of Maryland in your caption and include the accession number (that long string of numbers starting with a 4-digit year). That what we know when someone has benefited from all our hard work (which always makes us smile!) and folks know where you found the photo—after all, they may be looking some #tbt pictures of their own.

#TBT in action

#TBT in action

Just a note of caution: If you “share” an image from the JMM Facebook or twitter, the accession number will be embedded into it. Be prepared to explain to your friends that although the photo is from 1903 and Jewish Museum accession number is 1994.111.3 (meaning that it was brought in to the museum collection in 1994)! You will impress everyone with your knowledge of the JMM and our numbering system!

JobiA blog post by Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts from Jobi, click here.

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