Volunteer Spotlight on: Ellen Stein!

Posted on May 11th, 2015 by

Ellen Stein has been volunteering at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for just over 2 years.  Her original connection with the JMM began while she was still working in Baltimore County Public Schools. She worked on school curriculum with Ilene Dackman-Alon, Education Director. But when Ellen began volunteering she chose to start in the Museum Shop. She has designs on moving into the Education Department after a while, perhaps as a Docent, but until then, she is happy to enjoy herself in the shop.   While there, she sells merchandise, assists with inventory (she especially enjoys seeing new items come in), tags and shelves items, and even polishes the silver. She is happy to do anything that Esther Weiner, Shop Manager, requests.  One of her favorite outcomes of volunteering has been getting to know Esther, who Ellen describes as a wonderful multi-tasker.

Ellen Stein

Ellen Stein

As mentioned above, before volunteering at the JMM Ellen was with Baltimore County Public Schools for 32 years.  She taught kindergarten for 17 years, was a Teacher Mentor, and finished her career as a Language Resource teacher in Title 1 schools.   She knew that she wanted to get back to volunteering when she retired and is glad to fill her time at the JMM.  She thinks the Museum is a wonderful place to visit.  She especially enjoys meeting people from out of town and likes to learn about where they are from and assist them with their purchases in the shop.  A perk she enjoys are the field trips and behind-the-scenes tours that are planned specifically for the volunteers. In particular, she mentioned a visit to the National Archives (our Executive Director Marvin Pinkert’s old stomping grounds).  Also while at the museum, Ellen enjoys learning about Jewish history through attending the exhibits. She took advantage of the Project Mah Jongg exhibit and learned how to play. She is now in a regular game.

While away from the Museum, Ellen enjoys being a mother to 3 and grandmother to 4. One family is in Chicago but she was able to spend Mother’s Day with all those who live in Baltimore.  She concluded by describing her overall volunteer experience at the JMM as wonderful, and something she really enjoys. She said that all of the staff has been helpful whenever she has needed assistance.  We feel exactly the same way about her.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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Performance Counts, May 2015

Posted on May 8th, 2015 by

So how are our volunteers doing?

Just in case anyone reading this newsletter is unfamiliar with the role of volunteers at JMM we offer this helpful guide:

Volunteers are a treasured JMM resource.  Our volunteers play an important role in helping the Museum fulfill its mission.  They provide many valuable services that supplement the basic essential functions of the staff.  We utilize volunteers in two distinct areas – the front of the museum and the back of the museum.  The volunteers in the front of the museum have direct contact with our visitors. The remaining volunteers work in the back of the museum and can generally be found in the library.  Complete training is offered for all of our volunteer positions.

At the front desk

At the front desk

Front Desk Reception

The front desk reception volunteers provide an invaluable service to the Museum by maintaining a warm and welcome atmosphere for Museum guests.  They serve as the Museum’s customer service representatives while orienting visitors to the Museum complex.  By informing visitors about tour times, current and upcoming exhibitions, and programs, they provide information about all services that the Museum offers.  Other tasks include processing admission fees for groups and individuals, answering the telephone, and maintaining an accurate daily count of visitors.

Museum Docents

Museum docents possess an interest in history and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.  They perform an essential duty by leading tours and by interpreting the history of the Museum’s two historic synagogues and exhibitions for adults, families, and school groups of all ages.  A series of training sessions is offered to those interested in joining our docent corps and focuses on the history of Baltimore’s Jewish community.

Museum Gift Shop

The Museum’s gift shop, filled with beautiful Judaica, Museum catalogs, and exhibition related merchandise, is a destination for Museum visitors.  Gift shop volunteers assist guests with purchases, process cash and credit card payments, arrange merchandise on shelves and in windows, and assist the shop manager with ordering merchandise and conducting store inventory.

Special Events

Throughout the year, the Museum holds many programs and special events.  Programs include exhibition openings, family holiday programs, lectures, film series, and theatrical and musical performances.  Special event volunteers provide much needed assistance with these events by greeting visitors, processing admission fees, maintaining an accurate count of visitors, helping with refreshments, selling memberships, and facilitating art projects. 

Working in the archives department

Working in the archives department


The Library and Archives of the JMM offers a variety of volunteer opportunities.  Projects include organizing archival collections, preparing collections for proper storage, creating documents to assist researchers, and digital imaging.  Archives projects are conducive to long term or temporary volunteering.  Typing and computer skills are preferred, but not always required.  All new volunteers will be given an orientation to the care and handling of archival objects.


Volunteers in the collections department will work on a variety of projects.  These include writing catalog records for objects, taking digital photographs of objects (camera provided, or you can use your own),  organizing collection records, sorting incoming artifacts, helping to store and pack artifacts, and preparing objects in the collection for exhibition.  Temporary assignments are available.  Experience in the handling of fragile items is desired, but not required.


Volunteers use their expertise to assist researchers in The Robert L. Weinberg Family History Center.  They offer support with the interpretation of the many resources available for pursuing family history and genealogical research. This includes providing lookups, searching out tombstones, and much more.  Experience in genealogical research is required.

The Bottom Line

All told our volunteers contribute over 7,000 hours annually.  This number also includes members of our Board of Directors and our Summer Interns. The Independent Sector values an hour of volunteer time in the state of Maryland at $26.41.  That calculates to a contribution of almost $185,000.00 to the JMM in the last year.  We welcome new volunteers to the JMM year round and appreciate our volunteers dearly. Please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Ilene Cohen at 410-732-6400 x217.

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Once Upon a Time…08.22.2014

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

2011029261-1Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  August 22, 2014

PastPerfect Accession #:  2011.029.261

Status:  Partially identified – Levindale Volunteers: L-R: Rosa Kahn 2. Erna Schwartz 3. unidentified 4. unidentified 5. unidentified 6. unidentified 7. Belle Adler Greenberg.  Rosa Kahn and Erna Schwartz, sisters-in-law, were active volunteers; Mrs. Schwartz received a lifetime achievment award for her 35 years of service

Special Thanks To: Ray Kahn, Judi Cataldo, Judy Dermer, Abraham Adler

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