Volunteer Appreciation 2014: An Electrifying Day!

Posted on June 9th, 2014 by

Volunteer Luncheon

Volunteer Luncheon

JMM staff can't help but smile when we think of our wonderful volunteers!

JMM staff can’t help but smile when we think of our wonderful volunteers!

On Friday, June 6 the Jewish Museum of Maryland celebrated our volunteers at our Annual Volunteer Appreciation event.  The event was held at the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum.  The venue was selected in honor of the upcoming collaboration with the National Electronics Museum during our summer exhibit The Electrified Pickle, which opens on Sunday, July 13.

Jobi extolls the value of her collections volunteers.

Jobi extolls the value of her collections volunteers.

Volunteers are essential to the JMM's success.

Volunteers are essential to the JMM’s success.

A highlight of the afternoon was the tour led by Assistant Director, Alice Donahue.  Following the tour, we enjoyed lunch together plus were offered an update by JMM staff.  This year the JMM welcomed 13 new volunteers who are participating in a variety of positions.  Attention was drawn to a few of the Archives and Collections volunteers who have scanned many 1000′s of photos, and digitized many hundreds of birth records! In the front of the museum, the front desk receptionists, museum shop attendants, and docents continue to be the face of the Museum to our continually increasing numbers of visitors. The JMM is indebted to our volunteers and looks forward to many more years of working together.

Executive Director can't thank our volunteers enough!

Executive Director can’t thank our volunteers enough!

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. To read more posts about our fabulous volunteers click here.

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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Spotlight on Volunteer: Maxine Gordon!

Posted on April 7th, 2014 by

In honor of National Volunteer Week I’d like to highlight one of our many wonderful JMM volunteers!

Maxine, hard at work!

Maxine, hard at work!

Maxine Gordon has been volunteering at the JMM for over 2 years now.  She came to us through a connection with Esther Weiner, our Shop manager, who know each other through their participation in Covenant Guild.  Maxine is very active in Covenant Guild, having been an Executive Board member for over 40 years.  This year she is the Arrangements Coordinator for the annual Donor Luncheon.  She doesn’t like simply being a dues paying member—she enjoys being an active participant in everything she does.  She explained that Covenant Guild is a women’s philanthropic organization that supports both Jewish and secular charities in the Baltimore community.  They are 250+ members strong and support people and organizations who need various kinds of assistance, from donating a mammography machine at a local hospital to ambulances at a volunteer fire department, to buying a suit for a Bar Mitzvah boy who couldn’t afford one.

She began volunteering at the JMM as aa way to use her free time after retiring from being business partners with her husband, Bernie—they own a dry cleaning and laundry supply business.  She has 2 children who live in the area plus 2 granddaughters, who she loves spending time with.  Other than being with her family, her favorite past time is reading.

Maxine volunteers at the JMM as a Front Desk Receptionist and a Museum Shop Attendant.  She loves meeting the people who visit the museum and the history of the buildings.  She calls the JMM a very welcoming place and enjoys working with the staff. (And we love working with her!)

natl vol week

We welcome others who are looking for a way to use their time to consider becoming volunteers at the JMM. Please contact Ilene Cohen icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6400 x217.


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.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Working with Volunteers: Staff Tips

Posted on March 6th, 2014 by


At a recent staff meeting our excellent volunteer coordinator, Ilene Cohen, gave us a great mini-class in how to work best with our volunteers. If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you know how much our volunteers accomplish here at the Museum, and how much we value all their hard work. It’s important to us that our volunteers are happy and feel appreciated. Below are some of the strategies that Ilene shared with us to best support our staff and volunteers working together and is now sharing with all of you!

Research analysis has identified the following experiences critical to volunteer retention:

  • Assigning volunteers to tasks that match their skills
    • Most of our volunteers are filling gaps that cannot be met with our current staff.  Hopefully we have the match fulfilled, and the correct staff matched with each project that they have been assigned to manage. That said it is imperative that the skill sets of the volunteers match the needs. Many people may want to help, and we need to make certain we are using them in the most appropriate position.
    • As staff gets to know the volunteers, try to keep track of what they indicate as interests and the ways they would like to be involved. This will help match a person’s interest to a specific activity.
  • Supporting new volunteers
    • Engage in regular communication.
    • Always be clear about expectations.
    • Keep in mind that many of the tasks that volunteers are needed for are low-level administrative tasks, i.e. mailings, database entry,even manning the front desk can be tedious and monotonous when no visitors come in. Explain the significance and background of what it is they are doing and how their work will directly impact the organization to help keep them motivated.
  • Informing volunteers through regular communication
    • Communicate early and often; clearly and concisely.
    •  Remember, attitude can be infectious – in either a positive or negative way.
  • Welcome and Respect Volunteers!
  • One of the easiest forms of recognition you can provide to volunteers is to know their name and what they do within the organization. When you are their staff supervisor you will  know who they are and what they do but make sure other staff knows who your volunteers are. Here at the JMM we are working on a “facebook” for volunteers that all staff members will review it when it’s completed.
  • Recognize the value and importance of each volunteer. Last year our volunteers (including board members) logged over 7000 hours at the museum.   The Independent Sector values a volunteer hour in the state of Maryland at $23.05 per hour, which means their contribution of time and energy was worth over $161,000!
    • Always make volunteers feel welcome, be grateful for their assistance, and express your gratitude.  If they are working on a project where you use that information down the road, please share that with them.  Show them where you used the quote they culled from an oral history transcription or where in the exhibit or in which publication you used the photo they found or took.



ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. To read more posts about volunteers, click HEREIf you are interested in volunteering yourself, check out our volunteer page or email Ilene directly.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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