Posted on March 6th, 2017 by Rachel
Erika Rief has been a volunteer docent at the JMM for two months. She is currently in graduate school at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and MICS pursing an MBA/MA in design Leadership. Erika was an education and programming intern for two months during college. She recently moved back to Baltimore and lives close by so she decided to become a docent again. Prior to that, she attended Beth Tfiloh for 18 years.
She has deep connections to Jewish Baltimore, and specifically B’nai Israel Synagogue. Her great great uncle Simon Reif was the president of B’nai Israel in the congregation’s early days for 25 years. In addition, B’nai Israel was the shul that her great grandfather attended when he first came to America. She now attends Bnai Israel regularly, and is active in building the young adult community. She believes it is really special to be able to be a docent who has a connection to both the past and present of a part of the tour. Apart from going to school and being involved in B’nai Israel, she has also recently started boxing.
Erika has had a couple of memorial experiences while at the JMM. When she was an intern, she searched in the archives for mention of her family. She fould some of the founding documents of B’nai Israel in the original Yiddish with the names of her family families. She was also excited to learn about Zelda, who visited the museum with her assisted living facility. It turned out that Zelda’s father opened a pharmacy on Lombard Street. However, he died when Zelda was very young so she didn’t know a lot of information about him. Erika later dug into some family history records and then went to the assisted living to share what she found with her. Erika will never forget Zelda’s bubbly personality and the happiness on her face during their conversations about her father.
Making friends on tour
Erika has quickly re-learned the tour script and has already taken a few groups out on her own. We are very grateful that she has been able to carve out time for us in her busy schedule.
If you know of anyone else who would like to volunteer with Erika as a docent (or in any other area of the Museum), please contact Sue Foard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Visitor Services Coordinator Graham Humphrey. Every month we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at email@example.com or call 443-973-5162! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.
Posted on January 30th, 2017 by Rachel
Ilene Cohen established the role of Volunteer Coordinator 12 years ago and was in charge of volunteer recruitment, volunteer retention, scheduling and interviews. During that time, she did an amazing job growing our volunteer corps, making sure that our volunteer’s skills were well utilized and planning exciting field trips. This past summer, Ilene decided it was time to leave the JMM to pursue other activities. As it turned out that Ilene’s job was too big for any one person to take on, so Sue Foard, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator, and I decided it was best to split her duties amongst ourselves.
A helpful resource
As I have not had much experience managing volunteers, I decided it was important to learn as much I can about Volunteer Management. I have read books such as Transforming Museum Volunteering by Ellen Hirzy and Recruiting and Managing Volunteers in Museums by Kristy Van Hoven and Loni Wellman. I have also joined the American Association for Museum Volunteers and attended volunteer-related sessions at the American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Conference last year.
Former volunteer Sydney at the front desk
Part of my duties now includes sending out monthly calendars and scheduling our docents, front desk volunteers and shop volunteers. I am also continuing Ilene’s tradition of writing monthly Volunteer Spotlights where I highlight our dedicated volunteer corps. So far I have profiled individuals such as Ernie Silversmith who volunteers as a docent, Carol Buckman who assists us in Esther’s Place, and Vera Kastenberg who volunteers in the Library.
Volunteer Ernie begins a synagogue tour.
Lately, we’re been working on making our volunteer program even better. Several of my colleagues recently sat down to try to brainstorm new projects that our volunteers could tackle as well as think of other organizations we could contact to recruit more volunteers. We are in the early stages of planning for a spring fieldtrip to other area museums. I have also started working on a marketing project with two of our docents, Bev Rosen and Wendy Davis, to try to encourage adult groups that have visited the JMM in the past five years, to plan a return trip to see one of our upcoming exhibits. Bev and Wendy have been instrumental in contacting local synagogues, churches and senior homes and recommending other organizations we should reach out to.
Volunteer Judy hard at work reorganizing and sprucing up our library.
Devan Southerland, our Office Manager and Shop Assistant, has also graciously agreed to help us with recruitment and outreach. In an effort to enrich our guests with a variety of experiences during their visit, our goal is to reach out to a myriad of outlets for volunteers from local community centers to senior groups. We are in the beginning stages of working with other downtown cultural attractions such as the Maryland Science Center to create a core group of volunteers that work not only with us but with capabilities to work at other museum sites around the city. While we have a lot of work of ahead of us, we’re very excited to expand our volunteer base at the JMM.
A blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.
Posted on November 7th, 2016 by Rachel
Josef Rosenblatt has been a volunteer docent at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for two years. Josef is a native Baltimorean, but his ancestors are from Russia, Eastern Europe and France. His father was the rabbi of Beth Tfiloh Congregation for 52 years and his grandfather was a cantor, who also played himself in the original 1927 film, The Jazz Singer. Josef is happily married and has three sons and seven grandchildren.
Josef has always been interested in Jewish history and enjoys sharing Baltimore’s Jewish heritage and culture with the general public. He gives regular tours of Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel. One unique tour he gave was to a group of blind adults. He had to be creative in painting a word picture of the synagogues. He also enjoys relating Jewish culture to non–Jews, such as Catholic groups that may visit. He also expressed pride that the menu from the New York Dairy Lunchroom on High Street, once owned by his wife’s family, is in the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit.
Besides volunteering at JMM, Josef enjoys reading, carpentry and model boat making. He also volunteers at the Baltimore Visitor Center.
If you know of anyone else who would like to join Josef as a docent (or as a volunteer in any other area of the Museum), please contact Sue Foard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Visitor Services Coordinator Graham Humphrey. Every month we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at email@example.com or call 410-732-6402 x220! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.