A Jam Packed Day at the Museum!

Posted on November 30th, 2015 by

November 15th was perhaps our busiest day yet in my six months at the Museum. It was exciting and exhilarating, but also at times hectic. This particular day also gives a good idea of what it can be like to be the Visitor Services Coordinator at the Jewish Museum of MD.

The day began bright and early with the great great grandson of Rabbi Avaham Schwartz leading morning services at Lloyd Street Synagogue.  For those who do not know, the renowned Rabbi Schwartz led Shomrei Mishmereth Ha Kodesh beginning in 1908 and remained its leader for the next thirty years. It was so exciting to meet the descendants of Rabbi Schwartz and to see the synagogue active again and filled with the sounds of prayer. The service helped me picture how the space might have been used a hundred years ago as an orthodox congregation.

The LSS in action

The LSS in action

A half an hour after the Museum opened to the public, a fourth grade class from Columbia Congregation arrived and they received a tour of the Synagogue and Voices of Lombard Street exhibit. It was refreshing to hear young voices in the Museum and to see them excited about learning about Baltimore’s Jewish heritage. Just as the school group was leaving, another group arrived, this time from Hadassah. They came specifically to see the Paul Simon exhibit.

We then started to get busy with walk-ins for a lecture by Richard Goldstein at 1pm titled “Paul Simon and the Birth of Folk Rock.” I was busy assisting our fabulous front desk volunteers process admission payments while also keeping an eye on the shop. During the lecture, Richard Goldstein focused on Paul Simon’s early career and how his sense of pop music played a crucial role in the transition from folk to rock.

Listening to Richard Goldstein

Listening to Richard Goldstein

Just as the lecture was finishing up, descendants of suffragettes including a descendant of Sadie Crockin and Sara Bard Field began arriving for a meeting where they had time to share information about their ancestors and receive a tour of our exhibits.

The Suffragettes

The Suffragettes

To wrap up the day, I then joined our Education Director, Ilene Dackman’s, on her inaugural Sounds of the Synagogue tour. It was wonderful to hear clips from a Hebrew prayer service, organ music, a sermon by Rabbi Illoway supporting slavery and recreated conversations from Shomrei Mishmeres. I look forward to hopefully giving the tour in the coming weeks.

In total, we had about 75 visitors come through the Museum plus as additional 125 in groups and rentals. Just when I thought we could not be beat, the next Sunday we had more than 160 visitors and another well attended lecture. I am optimistic that we can maintain this momentum throughout the Paul Simon exhibit and beyond.

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

 

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Filling Some Big Shoes

Posted on June 8th, 2015 by

Hard at work manning the front desk!

Hard at work manning the front desk!

It was been an exhilarating (if sometimes hectic) couple of weeks, but I am starting to settle into Abby Krolik’s old job as Visitor Services Coordinator. I have enjoyed getting to know the staff and volunteers, all of whom have welcomed me with open arms into the JMM family. I have already been impressed by the dedication, intelligence and passion of the staff and am excited to join the Museum at a time of great growth in terms of our campus expansion, innovative exhibits and quality of programming. I am slowly getting to learn the many facets of the Museum and have already given my first public tours of the synagogues, staffed the JMM booth at the JCC Block Party and attended a lecture with Senator Cardin as part of our Annual Meeting. I am looking forward to continuing to make the JMM a destination and a site of discourse and discovery for diverse audiences.

Graham takes a #SimonSelfie at the JCC Block Party!

Graham takes a #SimonSelfie at the JCC Block Party!

I have also been getting involved in the Jewish community through groups such as Judaic Heritage, Charm City Tribe, Chabad, IMPACT Baltimore and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. I eventually hope to encourage some of these young adult groups to attend and help shape some of our programming. I am also teaching youth and adults how to sail at Downtown Sailing and hope to become a Big Brother. In addition, I am continuing to explore the area including visiting its museums, exploring the outdoors and attending festivals.

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

 

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JMM Insights: New Kids on the Block

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by

JMM has always prided itself on its small, dedicated team of outstanding professionals.  It’s amazing what a dozen people can do, when you have great talent supported by strong volunteers and lay leadership.

This month has brought two new members to the team to existing/future vacancies.  I thought that we’d use this issue of JMM Insights to introduce Tracie Guy-Decker, our new Associate Director for Projects, Planning and Finance, and Graham Humphrey who will replace Abby Krolik as Visitor Services Manager.  I am really excited to have Tracie and Graham on board and I know you will join me in welcoming them into our family.  I have asked them both to tell a bit of their own stories.

Marvin

From Tracie

My great great grandmother, Dora Bachrach Fink, was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation when it was in the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Now that I am Associate Director at JMM, every day, I sit at a computer that is but yards from the place my ancestors worshipped more than a century ago. Working for JMM is also a homecoming for me professionally—a return to working with and for the Jewish community. (I served as the Marketing Director for the Jewish Federation and the JCC in Virginia Beach until my husband, a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, received orders that moved us to Maryland.)

Tracie and Dave NAVY

Tracie and her husband Dave.

This is an exciting time for JMM, and I’m honored and humbled to be able to be a part of it. My colleagues are smart, funny, capable professionals, and under Marvin’s leadership the Museum is on a trajectory to become a center for Jewish and secular history and culture in Baltimore—not tomorrow, but soon. I’m excited to lend my skills, expertise, and experience to that trajectory (and to learn new skills along the way!). I’m also excited to be able to share this amazing resource with my daughter, Ruth (3 years old). The Museum family will watch Ruth and the Museum grow together over the next several years.

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

Ruth enjoying the rocket seats at Patterson Park

I’m also heartened by the welcome I’ve received from all of the friends of the Museum thus far—professionals, lay leaders, volunteers, members, and visitors have all been amazingly friendly and helpful as I learn my way around (literally and figuratively). I’d love the opportunity to reciprocate that welcome: if you’re in the Museum, please stop by. You can tell me your story of the Museum or the Lloyd Street Synagogue, we could play “Jewish Geography,” or just say ‘hi,’ I’m here Monday through Thursday, and will never turn down a cup of coffee.

From Graham

Hello! My name is Graham Humphrey and I was recently hired to be the new Visitor Services Coordinator to replace Abby Krolik after she leaves the Museum at the end of the month to continue her studies. I received my MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and my BA from Brandeis University in Art History. For the past seven years, I have been working at museums, aboard sailboats and at National Park sites in visitor services, education, development and collections management. I have gotten to lead experiential education programs while dressed up in period costume at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, teach basic seamanship to students aboard the schooner the Lady Maryland and work with goats at the Carl Sandburg Home in North Carolina. In my free time, I enjoy visiting other museums and historic sites, exploring the great outdoors, attending cultural events and staying involved within the Jewish community.

Graham

Graham

I am excited about continuing to make the Jewish Museum a welcoming environment and to ensure that visitors have a rewarding experience. I also hope to encourage public discourse about contemporary issues, explore how we can engage new audiences as well as serve as agents for social change in our community.

Marvin’s note:  We don’t plan I having Graham work with goats… but a “Jewish pirates sail”, well who knows what is possible.

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