Posted on February 24th, 2016 by Rachel
Walking into the Krieger Schechter Day School on a dreary and snowy February day, my colleagues Trillion, Joanna and I felt as though we had traveled back in time. Students wearing poodle skirts and letter jackets roamed the halls and the sounds of rock and roll played in the background. We had come to participate in the middle school’s Learning Festival, a three-day break from normal academics when the entire student body immerses itself in the study of a specific theme through speakers, field trips and a variety of hands-on activities. This year’s theme, “The 1950s: From Prosperity to Protest”, was an especially rich topic, one that was clearly embraced by students and teachers alike.
The JMM was thrilled to be invited to participate. To help shed light on an important 1950s trend, suburbanization, we installed our traveling exhibition, Jews on the Move, which examines the history of the move of Baltimore’s Jewish community from the city to the suburbs from 1945-68. The exhibition was on view for two weeks in a hallway near Chizuk Amuno’s sanctuary where it was enjoyed by both the school community as well as by synagogue congregants.
Jews on the Move was developed as a collaborative project with The Program in Museums and Society at the Johns Hopkins University. It was originally installed in 2012 at the Johns Hopkins University. It has since been featured at many additional venues including the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and several synagogues.
In addition to having the exhibit on view, Trillion and I led two workshops for students during which they had an opportunity to look for photos and stories in the exhibit (bonus points for finding a 1960s photo of Chizuk Amuno!).
Students viewing the exhibit.
Students viewing the exhibit.
They then worked together in groups to review 1950s era advertisements from real estate companies that ran in the Jewish Times that tried to entice suburban home buyers. Students were asked to identify what features were highlighted to appeal to potential buyers (spacious floor plans, new and modern appliances, yards, etc) and how the use of images and typography helped make the case.
Ads like this one from the Jewish Times in 1960 appealed to families looking to move out of crowded homes in the city.
After they had analyzed their photos, students then designed their own ad for a 1950s-era suburban development that they shared with classmates. We loved the enthusiasm with which the students tackled this assignment and were even treated to an advertising jingle and dance by one of the groups.
A blog post by Deputy Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.
Posted on April 16th, 2014 by Rachel
Part of my role at the museum is to handle the reservations of one of our travelling exhibits, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945 – 1968. The exhibit has been in storage for several months but is currently on display until April 14th at Beth Israel Synagogue.
In addition to displaying Jews on the Move, we also had an evening lecture there last week about some of the themes it highlights. The lecture, titled Jews on the move: A Conversation, was led by Dean Krimmel, a museum consultant who was a member of the team that developed the exhibit. The talk gathered a great audience and created a huge amount of conversation.
Dean Krimmel at Beth Israel
Dean started the lecture by asking a few questions, and he asked those who answered “yes” to stand. We were asked:
- Were you part of the suburban exodus?
- Were you born here in Baltimore?
- Have you lived here for your adult life?
- Are you a newcomer?
Getting some exercise at Beth Israel!
Unsurprisingly, the first two questions had a huge response, with most of the room standing. The final question, received a much smaller response, but it was interesting to see what people considered a newcomer to be. I knew I certainly would fit within this category, having only been here for a year. What surprised me was that people who had lived here their entire adult life still considered themselves newcomers! However, I quickly learned that, unless you went to high school in Baltimore, some will consider you a lifelong newcomer. This also led to another interesting point: this city is unique in that, when asked “what school did you attend?” you are not being asked about college but rather about high school.
The high point of the evening was hearing all of the conversations that were inspired by the program, both during the lecture and after, around the exhibit. People discussed their memories of moving to the suburbs, the reasons for doing so and some of the restrictions that they faced. Many people had similar experiences with regards to their suburban exodus, especially relating to their experiences with real estate agents.
We were also treated to a little of the history of Beth Israel and its movements by Bernie Raynor.
There was also plenty of reminiscing prompted by images in the exhibit, especially regarding schools and shopping centers.
We also looked at some of the original advertisements for the newly built homes during the suburban exodus.
Overall, everyone had a lovely evening. The chatting continued for an hour after the lecture finished. Everyone shared memories and even remembered some things thought long forgotten.
Blog post by Program Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion, click here.
Posted on November 14th, 2013 by Rachel
Having traveled for more than a year from the city to the suburbs and back, Jews on the Move: Baltimore and the Suburban Exodus, 1945-1968 has finally ended its run.
Here we are installing the exhibit at its first venue in Hodson Hall at Johns Hopkins University. From there, it traveled to several suburban synagogues, the Owings Mills JCC, the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and the Edward A. Myerberg Center.
Davidson moving truck, CP 57.2012 – while we did not need quite so large a moving truck to handle the exhibit’s travel, my trusty old minivan certainly got put to good use as we hauled the exhibit panels from site to site.
We were delighted by how the exhibit was received by the many different individuals who had the opportunity to view it and I thought I’d take an opportunity to share some of the visitor feedback that we received in the exhibit comment book.
Pratt Library Installation
“Thank you for taking us down memory lane as we enjoyed reliving our childhoods. Our grandchildren enjoyed the exhibit as well.”
“Very interesting, would be interested to see where that trend [of suburbanization] is today and also how this shift changed government funding of urban v. suburban projects.”
Model home, Pikesville, CP58.2012.11
“Those ranch homes on Old Court Road were the landscape of my childhood. How cool to see them with new trees, eight years before my parents moved to the neighborhood! Thanks for the exhibit.”
Har Sinai Groundbreaking, 1995.126.023
“My friend is in the front row of the groundbreaking of Har Sinai photo. We became friends in kindergarten and are still friends 57 years later.”
“As a Jew from Bmore, who grew up in Pikesville, whose grandparents grew up in the inner city of Baltimore, you have essentially depicted my history. Thanks!”
Jews on the Move was developed in collaboration with the Museums and Society Program at Johns Hopkins University through the generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We are grateful to Professor Elizabeth Rodini, Jennifer Kingsley and the JHU students who helped us organize this exhibit.
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts by Deborah, click here.