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Membership Matters

Posted on April 12th, 2019 by

In this month’s edition of Performance Counts, Tracey Dorfmann, director of development, delves into why our members are so important – and how we say thank you. To read past editions of Performance Counts, click here. To read more posts by Tracey, click HERE.

Why is membership so important?

Despite reports and some national indicators in the 2000s that showed museum membership can trend downwards, at JMM we have found our membership numbers are consistent and strong year-to-year.  Membership can be a meaningful way to stay connected to our rich learning environment, to feel a sense of belonging to our community and to historic Baltimore. We have a total of 960 loyal sustaining memberships (which represents an even larger number of individuals) who are committed to our mission. Membership matters!

What does it mean to be a JMM member?

Memberships come with great benefits and opportunities: including free regular admission for a whole year, free admission to regular public programs, invitations to special events and programs, a discount at Esther’s Place (the JMM shop), and reciprocal admission to select Jewish and local history museums. But more importantly, being a JMM member means that you understand and support what we do here – not just collecting and preserving the stories of Jewish Maryland, but sharing them with the community in Baltimore, Maryland, and beyond. Being a JMM member means you make our work possible, from presenting stellar exhibits to engaging public programs to meaningful school field trip experiences, and so much more.

What are some specific initiatives for members?

JMM values our members, which is why over the past several months we implemented some membership growth and retention initiatives. Around Hanukkah, we sent our Members a special invitation to visit the Museum and pick up a unique and exclusive gift created just for them. 78 members did just that! And while they were here, they visited our galleries, historic synagogues, and enjoyed special programs and events.

We also reached out to members of our Museum family whose memberships had lapsed over the past three to five years. We invited them back, wanting to share everything that’s been going on at the Museum (including our blockbuster Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini exhibit). Nearly 40 memberships were reestablished as a result. These returning members recognized the value of our thought-provoking exhibits, exploration of culture, and the social connection that a JMM membership brings.

We also talked in our November edition of JMM Insights about some of the benefits of membership – including new levels. If you missed that, you can read it on our blog here.

How do members support JMM?

Membership dues are unrestricted dollars, meaning that they support the annual operating costs of our museum. Much of the Museum’s other funding, like gifts and grants are directed to specific projects. Members make a tangible and positive impact at sustaining our day-to-day operations. Operating costs include everything from keeping the lights on to ensuring the grounds and building remain open and pristine, enabling visitors to enjoy our programs and learn with us five days a week. We also reach out to our members occasionally about special projects and initiatives they might like to support, like our current appeal to help purchase an auditory listening assistive system, which will help make our tours and programs more accessible to everyone in our family and community.

Thank you!
We value our members and will continue to share meaningful and evocative stories about the Jewish experience in Maryland and beyond. We are grateful for our membership family, which is why we are always looking to celebrate, whether through members-only events like last night’s Connected Threads reception or small thank-you’s like our gift initiative this past winter. We look forward to continuing to grow our JMM family.

Not yet a member – or know someone who you think should join the family? Share this link and help grow the family today!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

It’s a great time to stop and smell the roses.

Posted on May 16th, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM’s Director of Development, Tracey E. Dorfmann. To read more posts from Tracey, click here.

“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.” ~ Chance the Gardener, Being There.

For gardeners and observers alike –– spring is one of nature’s finest displays. In gardens all around Maryland exciting things are happening.  The planting has begun. The early risers like snowbells, crocuses, daffodils, forsythia and tulips have already bloomed and now many other plant species are bursting onto the scene in a chorus of colors and an array of scents. Judaism teaches that we are partners in doing the work of creation and working on a garden is a great place to experience this first-hand.  In my life, there are times when I’m an active participant in nurturing the natural environment through gardening and other times I simply enjoy the proliferation of flora around me.

Hand-drawn flower from “Mr. Malcolm’s Daffodil Dilemma Book,” JMM 1993.73.1

For me gardening straddles that place between being and doing.  When life is moving too fast, gardening can be a great way to slow down. There is no fast way to prepare the earth for a new planting, to pull weeds, or to mulch a plant bed. I really do enjoy getting into the weeds as the expression goes. When I am knee deep in my plant beds time seems to stand still, and I become aware of the sounds, sights and smells that might otherwise go unnoticed in my busy comings and goings.  It is so gratifying to relax at the end of the day and admire a garden that has been tended to.

Working in the garden. Kraus Family Papers, JMM 2003.53.310

It’s not all a bed of roses though…. I have invaders of all kinds that need to be stopped. At the top of my list this season are three culprits: English Ivy, Morning Glories, and Poison Ivy. I am fighting the battle on three fronts and these marauders are mighty opponents. And recently the poison ivy got the best of me.

JCC Community Garden Club yearbook 2005-2006, JMM 2015.2.38. Did you know we have a whole collection of JCC Garden Club materials? You can browse online here.

Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed has a spectacular array of native plants. If you want to create a bird friendly habitat or make your yard, balcony or deck welcoming to feathered friends Audubon Maryland-DC offers many workshops in and around Baltimore.

Eleanor Kohn Levy working in her garden, 1979. JMM 2002.79.72

There are also many ways to start small and even stay small, just few potted plants on your deck or windowsill can do the trick. And if getting your hands dirty isn’t really for you there are plenty of wonderful parks, neighborhoods and arboretums in the Baltimore environs where you can take a stroll and admire the handiwork of others.

Gardening with the JCC, 1983. JMM 2006.13.780b

Posted in jewish museum of maryland