Intern Weekly Response: Exhibit Reviews

Posted on July 12th, 2018 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to visit a different museum on their own and review an exhibit. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

The Chesapeake Heritage Center

~Intern Marisa Shultz

If you’ve ever driven on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and finally (after the toll plaza and traffic) landed on the other side, you’ve been on Kent Island, Maryland’s first English settlement and a seafood lover’s paradise. I’ve lived on Kent Island just about three years now and have always been a great deal curious as to it’s colonial, antebellum, and modern history, so I took a trip over to the Chesapeake Heritage Center to check out its fantastic view and learn a little more about the place I’ve been calling home.

What a gorgeous view!

The historical exhibition itself, while logically grouped into general categories, is a bit of a cabinet of curiosities. Rather than have one central theme or a rotating exhibit, the Heritage Center, likely due to its limited room, tries to tackle multiple topics in one general space; the topics range from the ecology of the bay, the pivotal role of the bay in the War of 1812, local microhistories, and the everchanging modes of transportation.

It was the section on transportation that drew me in the most. Split into three sections (trains, ferries, and cars), this part of the exhibit was filled with a variety of historical photos; they depicted maps, construction, mortgage bonds, and people.

This picture illustrates Ruth Weston, a Chesapeake Bay Bridge Toll Sargent, and the various items people use to pay for the bridge toll, including a fire hydrant, a wedding band, and radios.

In the photo above, the Heritage Center gives a glimpse of Ruth Weston’s career as a Toll Sargent and raises a great deal of questions: What was it like being a woman working the toll booth in the early days of the bay bridge? Was it legal for her to accept objects as a form of payment for the toll? Who wanted to cross the bridge so badly that they left their wedding band? While the exhibit does not attempt to try and answer these questions, it does certainly spark interest.

The transportation section also had artifacts that gave an additional layer. Of personal interest was a program from the dedication of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (if you’re interested in celebrating with a trip to the Eastern shore, the anniversary is on June 30th). Symbolically placed, the program was put overtop of a photo of a family in a car on the bridge waving at people on the local ferry, representing the passing of the torch from ferries to cars.

This is one of the original programs from the Dedication Ceremony of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

While certainly not explicitly stated, if I had to draw a narrative connecting the variety of topics in the exhibit, I would say that the theme is the change, whether it be natural or forced modernization, that has come to the Chesapeake Bay and its communities in the past 100 years. I learned about how our shorelines have shifted from prehistory to today, how the ferries have died out, and how the chemical makeup of the Chesapeake Bay has changed. However, I am a lover of details, dates, and names, and I found myself yearning for greater informational depth in an exhibit that is certainly covered in terms of informational breadth. Overall, I would say the exhibit is a good primer for those with a budding interest in our history, or those just passing through on a sunny Friday while on the way to the beach.

Carroll County Farm Museum

~Intern Justine “Ellie” Smith

I went to visit the Carroll County Farm Museum for this week’s blog post. The Farm Museum actually began as the almshouse for Carroll County. Tenants at the almshouse would work on the farm and in other trades. The farm house is set up with period items from the late 1700s to the 1900s. Visitors can see a variety of objects while visiting to the farm house.

The bedrooms have trundle beds and traditional mattress ticking. There are handmade quilts and canopies over the beds, and in the children’s room there are handmade toys. One thing that I have never seen or noticed in historic home were small vents with pull chains. These were like old fashioned air conditioning. A docent explained that the vents were used to cool the room in the summer. When it was too hot the occupants simply pulled the chain and let air into the room which would create an air current throughout the house. The day I visited there were not any guided tours but docents were around the entire house in period dress to answer any questions.

After making your way through the farm house you cross a small covered bridge which leads to the tenant apartments from the almshouse. Each of the rooms is set up to reflect a different craft or aspect of life in the 1800s-1900s. There was a quilt making room and a sewing room. A kitchen and a tin shop. My two favorite rooms were the veterinarian’s office and the children’s room.

I never had thought about vets existing during the 1800 and 1900s. The vets during this period would have been concerned with working with larger animals like horses and cattle but when formal education for vets became common practice smaller domesticated animals like dogs and cats found their way into the vet’s office. This room had a variety of instruments like glass bottles that once held ingredients for medicines, a scale, and syringes in various sizes. One cabinet had tools of the trade as well as skulls of horses, a fetal calf in a jar, and a heart of a dog that had worms. There was also a taxidermy two headed calf on the wall (though it was not clear if this was real or fabricated). Veterinarians are not something I think of when I think of farms or almshouses so seeing this room was really special and very interesting.

My other favorite room was the children’s please touch room. Because I have been working in the education department at the JMM I am always interested to see how other institutions engage children that visit. Everything in this room could be touched and interacted with.

There were examples of cans and dry goods bags that one would find at a general store. There was a scale that would have been used to weigh out goods to buy. One section of the room had antique post office boxes and postcards that the children could write and address to their homes and the museum would send them. In another corner there was a coloring area and the coloring pages were all images from the museum. There was an area where children could dress up in clothes from the period and could interact with the space. There was also a small reading area for kids. I thought this area was fabulous. It engaged with children of all ages. There was something for any age child to do and connect with in this space. Parents could enjoy watching their children connect with history in a safe environment and not have to worry about them breaking anything or touching something they were not supposed to. I think that more museums should have more spaces where children can get hands on with the history around them.

After leaving the almshouse there are several other outbuildings which can be explored. I did not realize how large of a museum this was before I went. I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes because there is a lot of ground to cover. In the other building there is antique farm equipment and displays explaining how slaughter houses worked and how cider was pressed. Another interactive part of the museum is the blacksmiths shop. There was a blacksmith demonstration occurring when I was there. It is truly amazing to see this ancient art being practiced. When you walk behind the blacksmith’s shop and follow the path you come across the farm animals that live at the museum. There were ducks, geese, baby pigs and goats, and the two largest residents are oxen.

The Carroll County Farm Museum provides a unique learning experience that goes beyond the normal historic home tour. There is something for everyone to see at this museum and something for everyone to connect with. The Farm Museum goes out of its way to be family friendly and has areas specifically designed with children in mind. I learned a lot about the history of Carroll County and about how farms operated. There is so much to see at the Carroll County Farm Museum and I will definitely have to go back to make sure I can take it all in.

More information about the Museum can be found here.

Medicine and Soda Fountains: The Pharmacy at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

~Intern Ash Turner

Within the Baltimore Museum of Industry, a small pharmacy sits with its wooden doors wide open. Although this old-school pharmacy no longer serves customers, it immerses its visitors into the history and evolution of Baltimore pharmacies. Complete with a soda bar, a register, and cabinets filled with jars and medicinal ingredients, I was taken in by how charming it was to step back in time for a little while during my museum visit.

Picture of the Pharmacy “storefront.” Above the door is a green-striped awning and a “Geo A. Bunting, Druggist” sign. Window displays sit on the left and right side of the door.

Reflection of me in the soda bar mirror as I take a picture of the exhibit’s bar.

I enjoyed that this exhibit was more of an immersive environment rather than a traditional exhibit. The Pharmacy had only a few captions, preferring to leave the visitors’ curiosity with the items themselves. The captions and descriptions that were included were placed either in the window displays near the door, or at the front of the room, so that they didn’t interrupt the immersive space created. For me, leaving the space mostly free of curatorial text painted a better picture of how an old pharmacy might have looked, and it helped the room feel like it was an actual storefront.

Photo taken while looking in from the Pharmacy’s front door toward the right side of the room. Pictured from left to right: A display of cameras in a cabinet, a metal register, and a wooden medicine cabinet.

Close-up photo of pharmacist mixing tools.

I felt steeped in the time period and culture, rather than feeling like I was just reading about the period, which is an experience I feel is unique to museum installations. I also tend to read everything in museum exhibits, so the few placards and posters included in the Pharmacy provided me with the perfect amount of information to digest in a single viewing. Overall, I enjoyed how the exploration of this space was left up to me as a visitor, because I found it intriguing and inspiring to step into this space and let my curiosity lead the way.

Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017

~Intern Alexia Orengo Green

Having only been in the city of Baltimore a little over a month, one of the places I was extremely thrilled to visit was the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). At the Museum, I had the opportunity to visit the new exhibit Odyssey of Jack Whitten’s work. The exhibit displays the evolution of Whitten’s work since 1963 to 2017, through personal items that belonged to Whitten, Whitten’s stories, and sculptures. By doing this, the visitor connects with the art, and has a glimpse of Whitten’s working process. The exhibit is divided on three parts: Whitten’s early work, Greece, and Black Monolith series. Odyssey serves as biography and memorial for the late artist, who died on January 20, 2018.

At the beginning of the exhibit the visitor is presented with Whitten’s early sculptures, which the Civil Rights Movement heavily influenced. From his early works, one of the must striking sculptures is Homage to Malcom, which he dedicated to Malcom X. This piece is completely asymmetrical and combines different techniques and materials, which make the piece even more powerful.

Homage to Malcom. Via The Art Newspaper.

The first room of the exhibit also contains a large picture of Whitten’s studio, allowing the visitor to see where Whitten created his art and got his inspiration from. This photo in conjunction with his personal notes, allow the visitor to see the process Whitten followed when creating his sculptures. Having a picture of Whitten’s studio and reading his personal notes also forms a bond between Whitten, his art, and the visitor.

Jack Whitten’s studio wall. Via BMA.

Because his wife had family in Greece, Whitten spend a great amount of his time there. An anecdote that stayed with me after the exhibit was regarding Whitten’s first visit to Greece. There, he dreamed with a large piece of wood, which he later found during his stay and created a sculpture. The stories behind Whitten’s work and the Greek sculptures from Minoan and Mycenean Greece that are found through the exhibit, transport the visitor to Whitten’s experiences there.

The third part of the exhibit focuses on the Black Monolith series Whitten created. Whitten’s series contrast heavily with the rest of the exhibit because of the dark and vibrant colors they have. The most striking piece of the series is Atopolis: For Édouard Glissant. To create this piece, Whitten layered paint to make it look as it were small tile pieces. Atopolis is Greek for “without place.” The tittle of the piece contrasts with the scene that is shown. Atopolis depicts an aerial view of a city, from its main hub to the more spread out areas.  The large piece attracts the attention of the visitor from the moment they enter the room.

Atopolis: For Édouard Glissant

Odyssey is a spectacular exhibit that showcases the work of a significant artist that was able to influence the world through his art.

Be sure to visit the exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art!

House & Home

~Intern Cara Bennet

The National Building Museum’s permanent exhibit, “House and Home,” employs various exhibition techniques to help visitors explore the various social and cultural meanings and connotations of the American “home.” The exhibit utilizes several components including objects, photographs, models, film, timelines, maps, and text panels. These various components make the exhibit accessible to people with different learning styles by allowing them to focus on the aspects of the exhibit that interest them the most. The variety of exhibition techniques also keep the audience engaged by preventing the monotony of an exhibit solely comprised of a single component.

The primary purpose of the exhibit is to convey how a house becomes a home and show what “home” means to a diverse group of Americans. For the most part, this message is successfully conveyed throughout the exhibit. The first room features walls of photographs that depict different families and their homes and the various activities that take place in their homes. The theme of diversity carries on into the next room which features a wall of household objects and includes many multi-cultural objects such as a mezuzah, a tortilla press, and an Islamic prayer rug. This theme is reiterated on the left side of the room which features full scale models of different construction methods which exemplify just some of the many diverse styles of American homes. The models of iconic houses in the center of the room such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water” also emphasize the variety of American homes and highlight houses that were the first to experiment with certain construction techniques and designs.

Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic home “Falling Water.” Image via.

“House and Home” is an object driven exhibit. The highlight of the exhibit and the section visitors appeared to be most drawn to is the wall of household objects. These are objects that are familiar to most visitors and evoke an emotional or nostalgic response. At first glance these objects appeared to be displayed randomly. The objects had no context and were displayed next to objects from different time periods. For example, a beanbag chair from the 1980s was displayed next to a slipper chair from the 1850s. At first, I found this arrangement confusing and frustrating but once I realized that the objects were organized by room (i.e. kitchen, yard, living room) I gained a greater appreciation for the display and the message the curators were trying to convey. Throughout history and across social lines people have chosen to furnish their homes with objects that represent themselves and their pasts. These ordinary objects reflect their owners’ ideals, values, and aspirations. Objects and houses represent the lives of the people who own them.

The Object Wall. Image via.

While most of the objects in this section are familiar and easily recognized by the audience, label panels below the objects provide context and authenticity. Each label panel features a basic drawing of the outline of each object which is numbered and corresponds to the text label which briefly describes the object and its provenance. Unlike the dollhouses and the model houses, the objects in this section are not displayed behind glass. The only barrier between the visitor and the objects is a low wall and a few feet of space. The lack of glass could indicate that these objects are less important than most museum objects, however this was an intentional decision on the part of the curators and exhibit designers. The lack of glass makes these objects more accessible. These objects are everyday objects that visitors already have a connection to and displaying these objects openly increases the visitors’ connection to the objects by giving them the sense that they can reach out and touch them.

“House and Home” is a fairly accessible exhibit. The flow of the exhibit is clear and linear. Each room flows into the next room preventing the visitor from getting lost or confused. The objects and models in the exhibit are arranged so that they can easily be seen by all visitors. The dollhouses in the first room of the exhibit are encased in glass and placed in the center of the room so that visitors can easily move around them to view the rooms from different angles. Similarly, the models of iconic houses which are displayed in the next room are placed in the middle of the room and are low to the ground allowing children and visitors in wheelchairs to view them more easily.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Intern Weekly Response: Internship Reflections

Posted on August 9th, 2017 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to look back over the summer and to reflect on what they’ve learned, share some favorite memories, and give us some updates on their projects. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


A Summer of Stories

by oral history intern Tirza Ochrach-Konradi

The Beth Am project is going swimmingly! So far there are ten interviews, six of which I conducted, with full transcriptions. This adds up to over eight hours of oral history content, and I will be fitting in one more this week! In addition I’ve made contact with five individuals who weren’t available over the summer, but are happy to be interviewed this fall so the project is going to be running full force forward. Beth Am is well on its way to an amazing video commemorating the 100th anniversary of the temple building! I’ve had a great time becoming immersed in the history of Beth Am and have had a wonderful time working with people’s stories.

The 100th Anniversary of the temple will be in 2022. Original architectural drawing of the temple’s front façade by Joseph Evans Sperry.  (JMM 1997.063.018)

The 100th Anniversary of the temple will be in 2022. Original architectural drawing of the temple’s front façade by Joseph Evans Sperry.  (JMM 1997.063.018)

My favorite memories from this summer are definitely every interview. Being allowed to enter someone’s home and ask them to share their memories is an incredible experience. The majority of the folks I interviewed were retired, which I imagine meant they had time to perfect their decorative skill, because every room I interviewed in was gorgeous. I got to collect all kinds of stories. Some highlights include elephants at Druid Hill Park, Jewish exclusion from Roland Park, details of the Harbor Place renovations, stories of meeting and falling in love, moving to and living in Baltimore City, making Bat Mitzvah corsages out of war stamps, innumerable stories about Dr. Louis L. Kaplan, working in and for Baltimore City, and all of the work that went into getting Beth Am, the self-described do-it-yourself synagogue, up and running.


Photograph of the Beth Am main entrance which fronts onto Eutaw Place. (JMM 1996.010.073)

Photograph of the Beth Am main entrance which fronts onto Eutaw Place. (JMM 1996.010.073)

In my sociology course work I’ve read countless ethnographic pieces that depend on interview material, but I hadn’t done any hands on work to discover whether this kind of research is something I would enjoy. After this internship I can say for certain that interview work is a definite positive! I’m only entering my junior year of undergrad so I have some time to figure out where I’d like to end up. This internship has helped me find the connections between what I’m studying and museum work and has really introduced the field as a possibility.



The Wrap-Up

By education intern Sara Philippe

This internship has taught me a lot about the importance of the programs and education departments of museums, two areas that did not immediately come to mind when thinking about museums prior to this summer. I learned a lot about determining what factors to take into consideration when planning a program as I searched for potential speakers, performers, and films to host at the museum. I also thought a lot about how to create educational materials and experiences that would be appropriate and compelling for a wide range of students. When doing educational work, we always had to consider how it would illuminate the exhibit in question and make it more accessible to the students hoping to learn from it. We also had to tailor activities keeping in mind students’ level of familiarity with Judaism, sometimes putting together activities that could work for both non-Jewish and Jewish students, as well as separate activities to ensure a more meaningful experience for both types of students. I loved all of this work and can definitely see myself continuing to do it in my future. I love that it requires you to stay on your feet, think creatively, and interact with a wide variety of people.

Our workspace as we get ready for the Summer Teachers Institute

Our workspace as we get ready for the Summer Teachers Institute

As I look back on this summer, a few memories stand out. Erin and I were tasked with documenting the cracks on the very old walls of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. Although sometimes the going got tough, I had a great time posing with our makeshift whiteboard and a yardstick next to a crack on the wall in the heat of the balcony as Erin took photos. I even managed to stave off the temptation to be in every photo. Interacting with student tour groups was one of my favorite aspects of the internship. We recently hosted the junior ambassadors from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and I really enjoyed watching them do the same workshop about Jewish refugees to Baltimore that the interns had done earlier in the summer with Ilene. They had so much important knowledge from their work as Holocaust educators that they were able to bring to the activity. I also loved when the Bell Camp for blind children visited. I painstakingly put together a craft for the kids that would enable them to make stars of David out of popsicle sticks and Velcro. It ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be and not everything went as planned, but it was definitely a valuable learning experience for which I am grateful.

Our display now up in Lloyd Street next to the matzah oven

Our display now up in Lloyd Street next to the matzah oven

One of my proudest accomplishments this summer has been the mini-exhibit that Erin and I designed for the case in the basement of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Baltimore’s Talmudical Academy, Erin and I carefully crafted a display using artifacts from the JMM’s archives. We feature photographs old and new and real artifacts from TA’s earlier years like a fundraising brochure for a new building in the 1930s and a beautiful, miniscule prayer book. As of yesterday, the display is up and ready to be viewed. I hope people enjoy it and appreciate the connection between TA and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, both homes to Rabbi Schwartz. As our last week comes to an end, we are continuing to work on preparing for the Summer Teachers Institute on Holocaust education taking place next week. Erin and I have been working hard coordinating the three-day event’s logistics and it is shaping up to be a great experience with many learning opportunities and compelling speakers. Also looking ahead to the future, Erin and I finished putting together an educational resource to accompany the JMM’s upcoming exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving the Iraqi Jewish Archive. We did our best to come up with ways to teach the complicated history of Iraqi Jews to students of all grade levels in a meaningful and engaging way, and I’m looking forward to this resource being put to good use.

To find out more about my experience at the JMM this summer, check out Erin and I’s podcast We Know What We Did This Summer! (coming soon)


Au Revoir, et Merci

by exhibitions intern Ryan Mercado

Well, here I am 10 week later from my first day back in June. These last 2 months have been full of many long work days and experiences, and I’m happy I got to have this opportunity. I started out this internship as a recent college graduate, I had no prior experience in museums nor did I even have an internship before. Then I found myself working for the Jewish Museum and I could not have been more excited.

All the interns as we walk back from getting delicious desserts from Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. I will miss all of them and the fun times at lunch we had together!

All the interns as we walk back from getting delicious desserts from Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop. I will miss all of them and the fun times at lunch we had together!

I learned a lot about Museums that I honestly did not know before. One thing that continuously sticks with me is the idea of the Museum being like a business. This came from Marvin’s workshop a few weeks back. I see a business in this museum and in others, from Tracie working the phones to Sue planning the Volunteer Appreciation dinner, there are literally so many aspects to a museum! I also learned that as each department works separately from one another, all of them need to be in balance as they work with one another. The Collections Manager needs to work with the Curator, the Curator with Marketing, etc! The Staff depends on one another and when they all work hard they get wonderful results, such as the Just Married exhibition.

“PastPerfect Cubicle A” aka my work station and my home away from how for the past 10 weeks.

“PastPerfect Cubicle A” aka my work station and my home away from how for the past 10 weeks.

I’m leaving this internship having put a small mark on the upcoming exhibit: Belonging(s): What Connects Us, which will open hopefully in 2019. I did three projects this summer: A character profile on a Jewish Socialist, research on the Maryland Jew Bill, and I started what is perhaps the Museum’s first real in-depth research on converts to Judaism. I hope that what research I did, what quotes I catalogued in excel, and even the siddur I donated to the Museum will help the upcoming exhibition in some way. For myself, as a convert to Judaism, to work in a Jewish Museum being surrounded by Jewish History and helping preserve it and even contribute to it has made me immensely proud and affirms my new Jewish identity. I will miss all the interns as we go our separate ways, and I will miss the JMM staff as well. This museum and this internship defined my summer 2017. It’s tough to say goodbye, but I’m ready to move on to grad school and what awaits me in Montreal.


Looking Back at the Summer

By collections intern Amy Swartz

It seems strange to me that my time interning at the JMM is almost over. During my ten weeks here I have learned more about museum functions and have been able to narrow down future career paths. I learned about handling textiles and putting together a traveling exhibit. Prior to this experience I had always envisioned a future career as a curator. This internship has expanded my interest to collections, especially since curators for exhibits can switch in and out and be outsourced. I find that I enjoy working with physical objects more than research sometimes.

The interns at the Just Married opening.

The interns at the Just Married opening.

Some of my favorite memories from this summer include forming friendships with the other interns, planning intern night, and helping put together the wedding exhibit. Joelle and I had fun working together in the basement and I will never forget the daily intern lunch talks and our trip to Vaccaro’s. I also really enjoyed going on a mini field trip to look at a possible accession: two large gilded lions.

The interns after getting cannoli and gelato at Vaccaro’s

The interns after getting cannoli and gelato at Vaccaro’s

Most of the collections projects have been wrapped up – quite literally in some cases. The traveling exhibit is mostly condition reported and packed besides larger items that need specialized crates. Our files have been organized and new accessions have been put into PastPerfect. Our podcast is finished and edited and will be up shortly too. Ultimately, as the summer has been coming to an end so too have been our projects. There is one last remaining thing to look forward to however: The Summer’s Teachers Institute next week; I am excited to learn about teaching the Holocaust and visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C.


My Museum Story

by education intern Erin Penn

In one of the first workshops for the interns, Marvin asked us about our museum story. I have always loved museums whether it was a day trip with my family or a school fieldtrip. They were always a place that made me feel comfortable and excited to learn. Ten weeks later, I have an even richer and more personal museum story. I have been able to help every department in both big and small ways. With Just Married!, I was able to help steam the dresses to ensure they were picture perfect for the exhibit. I was lucky to help create posts for all of the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s social media platforms. My specific work with education and programs has provided me with great lessons about the inner workings of both museum education departments and programs. There, I’ve had projects that ranged from creating curriculum for students to organizing the crafts for family day programs. This internship has added a huge chapter to my museum story.

Here I am with the other Summer interns. Now when I think of museums, each one of them will be included into my Museum story.

Here I am with the other Summer interns. Now when I think of museums, each one of them will be included into my Museum story.

This internship has been full of great and educational memories. I loved helping with intern night gathering the prizes and calling companies. It felt like I was in a race across town to get every last gift card and certificate in a ten mile radius. I also loved being able to sit in on the staff meetings. It was so fascinating to watch the JMM’s staff tackle the upcoming weeks in a fast-paced and exciting environment. I challenged myself to transcribe what each staff member shared. I am excited to look back on the minutes and reflect fondly on the experience of seeing everyone at work.

Harris Teeter was one stop on the hunt for great intern night prizes.

Harris Teeter was one stop on the hunt for great intern night prizes.

With the internship wrapping up, the education interns’ projects are in great shape. Our research for the Iraqi Jewish Archives lent itself over for education tools and activities for future school visits to the museum. Our experimental crafting and googling will be used to ensure Iraqi Family Day and other programs are a total blast! The search for Jewish entertainers and performers will help create an exciting line up for JMM Live in March and April. The Lloyd Street display case is now exhibiting our designed and curated look into Talmudical Academy’s 100th year. Summer Teachers Institute opening day quickly approaches and the education interns are making sure the event runs smoothly creating folders and organizing the resources. While most of the projects from the summer will not go into effect until after the internship is over, they allowed me to dive into museum operations and really give back to the JMM.

A Sizeable Dent

By collections intern Joelle Paull

As the internship draws to a close, it is nice to reflect back on the past 10 weeks. As a recent graduate, I went into this summer hoping to explore different interests and gain new experience. Ultimately this summer re-enforced many of future goals and raised new questions for me.

In the basement, but not forgotten. Our fellow interns made us these name signs!

In the basement, but not forgotten. Our fellow interns made us these name signs!

We have wrapped most of our projects up. Over the past couple months we have inventoried a portion of the collection, packed boxes to send a JMM exhibit on the road, and processed new donations. Inventory is ongoing, but we definitely made some a sizeable dent in the list. It was a fun project to begin the summer with, as it gave us the chance to explore the collection.

Intern Lunch Break!

Intern Lunch Break!

I really enjoyed spending time with the other interns and our daily lunch conversations. Highlights from the summer include taking a small trip to look at a recent accession and planning intern night. I loved having the opportunity to live in and explore Baltimore including visiting other museums and going out to dinner with fellow interns. I am looking forward to the Summer Teachers Institute next week and excited for new adventures!





Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Intern Weekly Response: Get Social!

Posted on July 27th, 2017 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to read a selection of articles on Museums and Social Media, and write a brief response focused on the JMM’s use of social media in a particular channel. We also asked them to recommend other museums’ social accounts and to try their hand at creating their own posts for the JMM’s twitter, tumblr, and instagram channels! To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


The Wonderful World of the JMM Instagram

By collections intern Joelle Paull

Recent JMM instagram posts.

Recent JMM instagram posts.

The JMM instagram @jmm_md shares stories from the collections and exhibits, behind the scenes looks featuring JMM staff, and highlights from programming at the museum. Ultimately it is what you would expect from an institution like the JMM. My favorite recent posts are the series of weddings related to the ongoing Just Married exhibit. Who doesn’t love looking at wedding photos from weddings throughout the decades? They are the perfect way to engage followers with fun stories and share content related to the exhibit.

It would be interesting to see the account taken over by a staff member in a different department, visiting curator, or even a partnership with another museum or institution. Whether a day or a week, it would be a change from the institutional voice of the account and could equally engage long term followers and new users alike.

The Storm King & The Hammer!

The Storm King & The Hammer!

My Instagram feed is often full of posts from museums around the world. Two of my favorites are the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (@hammer_museum) and the Storm King Art Center (@stormkingartcenter). Hammer often posts images of visitors interacting with the exhibits, permanent collection, and their Thomas Heatherwick Spun chairs. Especially during rainy weeks like this one, who wouldn’t welcome images of the beautiful open air museum on their Instagram feed? The incredible views of the Hudson Valley and great art inspire social media envy. The Storm King Art Center, like the Hammer, often reposts posts from other visitors. It is a fun way to see how people interact with the landscape and art in a unique way. Check both of them out!


Tweet a little tweet on twitter!

By exhibitions intern Ryan Mercado

The world of Twitter is a crazy one! Almost everyone is on it expressing opinions, announcements, policies, or winners to contests. It’s no wonder that museums eventually got into this practice too. This week, we interns were asked to look at a social media channel and respond to the JMM’s use of it after reading an article. I got Twitter as my assigned channel, and I read the article, “The Institution as a user: Museums on social Media.” The article is mainly about how social media can make a museum seem more human and personable. Some examples listed in the article include museums responding to questions that visitors tweet at them.

Does the JMM have a specific voice on social media, specifically twitter? Scrolling through the twitter account of the JMM is like scrolling through a current event’s page of a catalog. There are many articles and links to the museum’s website and to the blog. Pictures of images are showcased with beautiful resolution images, and of course, retweets from other institutions!

However, there are some personable tweets that make you feel more connected to the museum. #MapMondays is a weekly tweet of cool maps that I otherwise would not see, #marryingmaryland also appears on the twitter page to showcase stories of weddings, and like any social media account, throwback Thursdays or #TBT are tweeted as well. Those posts are interesting and give me, the user more insight into the museum, and into things I would not normally see in exhibits. The Twitter page therefore does have its own voice, it’s a more personal voice that shows us more of the JMM than what we normally would not see.

Map Mondays is just one of several series of tweets the JMM sends out every week!

Map Mondays is just one of several series of tweets the JMM sends out every week!



The JMM on Tumblr!

By exhibitions intern Tirza Ochrach-Konradi

I like that the JMM posts very consistently on this platform. There is a steady stream of original content going up on the blog.  My favorite post is one that I found got significantly more interaction then most other posts. This was the canoe day post. I think this post did so well because it was photo heavy and text light.  All of the content was readily available, without needing to click through to reach a full text or to follow a link to a different website. I also appreciate the tags used: canoe day, canoes, boats, summer, boating, collections, and museums. Good tags do a lot to get posts in front of people’s eyes.  In comparison tags are doing less work for a post from this past week which links to a magazine article entitled, “Solving the Mystery of ‘La Estrellita,’ the Spanish Dancer who was Really a Nice Jewish Girl from Cincinnati”. The tags on this post are: la estrellita, stella, hurting, dancers, jewish, and tablet magazine.  La estrelllita, stella, and tablet magazine are all relevant tags, but they are not tags that will help the post spread. Good tags to add for this picture could include: dress, beaded dress, sepiatone, San Francisco, California, nice jewish girl, museum, and museums on tumblr.

Posts on Tumblr tagged with ‘sepia tone.’  A lot of our collection would fit right in!

Posts on Tumblr tagged with ‘sepia tone.’ A lot of our collection would fit right in!

I love that the Tumblr site links to the JMM’s other social media, but the theme lacks a search bar. There is a lot of careful tagging of posts which is awesome.  By having a search bar and a list of the tags associated with each exhibition people would be able to search the site to finds all the posts the Jewish museum made about Just Married, Beyond Chicken Soup, or whatever caught their fancy.  One of the museum blogs I’m recommending does this particularly well, Museums on Tumblr. (Although it isn’t strictly a museum Tumblr blog.) It reblogs the best content from museum blogs across Tumblr so you can find a bunch of museum blogs through browsing its archive. This is where it’s search-ability comes in handy. If you want to find all of the posts they have shared from the Exploratorium’s blog you can search for them. My other museum Tumblr recommendation is the Tate Collectives blog. This blog is incredible for its level of interaction with the Tumblr user community. Lots of its content is rebloged for other sources and it also offers young artists the chance to have their art featured on the blog. This isn’t a level of investment that is possible for the JMM, but it’s exciting to see the breadth of what is possible!

Check out the Tate Collectives submission page!

Check out the Tate Collectives submission page!

Damn, What a Gram!

By education intern Sara Philippe

The JMM does a great job of including a great variety of material on its Instagram account. The account consists of everything from professional-looking images from the museum’s archives to casual, often humorous posts that are very clearly from a real person (Rachel, the social media manager), to promotional material for upcoming events at the museum. It is clear, after going through many posts, that there is an effort to humanize the museum through snapshots that provide glimpses into daily life at the museum and the work the staff does, while emphasizing the museum’s principal role as a place that houses valuable historical artifacts, some of which can be accessed through visiting its exhibits, and others of which can best be shared on a social media account such as an Instagram. I really enjoy the posts that give the public access to some of the many of the museums treasures that are not physically available to the public.

A recent collections item featured on Instagram.

A recent collections item featured on Instagram.

For example, this post! It consists of a telegram sent by Henrietta Szold, an important figure in Baltimore Jewish history, congratulating parents on their daughter’s wedding in 1927. I love that this post offers a tidbit of insight into the life of a fascinating historical character while also keeping things current by keeping with the theme of weddings and reminding followers to check out the museum’s wedding-related information and artifacts on display in person at the museum itself. One suggestion I have for the museum’s account would be to post more photographs of visitors to the museum, and to then use this a platform to encourage followers to post their own photos that highlight their trip to the museum. I also would love to see more video posts, which would make the JMM’s Instagram all the more exciting!

Two other great museum's instagrams!

Two other great museum’s instagrams!

The Field Museum in Chicago has a great Instagram account that features beautiful images accompanied by very interesting information about animals, plants, and other items from its collections. The account is full of fun facts and detailed descriptions that make you want to see what else the museum has to offer by making a visit. You really get the feeling that experts are contributing their scientific knowledge to the content of the Instagram. Check out their account here.

I also recommend the Studio Museum of Harlem’s account, which showcases wonderful photos of its artwork, videos of talks and events hosted at the museum, and images of people at the museum, engaging with and enjoying its exhibits. Check them out here.


Getting Social: The Use of Twitter and the JMM

By collections intern Amy Swartz

This week, we learned about social media and museums and read three different articles about the ways a museum can use social media. However, one of the key themes I drew from the readings was about how museums have a dual identity in social media. Often in many social media accounts run by museums there are posts catered to different audiences. There are posts that feature accessions and objects in the collection and there are more personable posts such as blog posts and retweets, and then there are promotional posts such as events. However, museums are increasingly trying to bridge the gaps between the Me/Us/Them or the Museum/Museum Employees/Visitors or Guests.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland (@jewishmuseummd) uses all three forms of content on their Twitter channel. The account frequently displays various accessions, often related to daily holidays and has trending hashtags for exhibits. It also features blog posts from employees and interns in its posts which fulfills the Us in the museum content. However, there are less posts by guests or visitors on the JMM channel. One thing that the JMM account does particularly well is its use of catchy hashtags for exhibits. One of the best examples is the current hashtag #MarryingMaryland and #JustMarried. These are successful for two reasons. Firstly one is the name of the exhibit and the other is catchy (the use of alliteration is often successful as a hashtag) and can be used by anyone married in Maryland.

Recent posts from High Clere Castle and The Met.

Recent posts from High Clere Castle and The Met.

Two other great museum accounts to follow are the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Twitter account @metmuseum and Highclere Castle’s Twitter account @HighclereCastle which not only provides cool background looks into its collections but also caters to current pop culture. The best example of this was a recent post that the Met posted regarding a recent series of tours centered on the 50th anniversary of the well-known book “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”  The Highclere Castle account also caters to pop culture, fully accepting its identity as the place where the tv show Downton Abbey was placed, using the hashtag #TheRealDowntonAbbey and hosting events related to the series.


Terrific Tumblr

By education intern Erin Penn

Some recent JMM tumblr posts.

Some recent JMM tumblr posts.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s tumblr serves as a great site to display all of the happenings of the museum. As a one-stop shop, JMM’s tumblr contains recent blog posts, interesting articles, and photos from the JMM’s collections. I really enjoy the range of posts and the continuous flow from pages. There is a culmination of posts directly related to the museum and pieces for all museum lovers. For example, “Ink for the Arts” hangs next to an intern blogpost.

NYPL and GW Textile Museum Tumblrs!

NYPL and GW Textile Museum Tumblrs!

Other museum tumblrs use this social media platform to share exhibits and show behind the scenes of museums. I recommend the George Washington Univeristy Textile Museum and The New York Public Library. The GWU textile Museum tumblr page shares not only great high-resolution images but also shows close up shots on how the employees manage and display these textiles.  This website even has several posts showing the storage units—a real behind the scene treasure! The New York Public Library’s tumblr is great for several reasons. I personally love seeing their book suggestions for subway reading. It’s cool to picture scrolling through this tumblr while riding public transit from your smart phone.

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