Performance Counts – January 2014
WE ARE NOT ALONE
At last count the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) had 82 members, from the Alaska Jewish Museum and Cultural Center in Anchorage to the Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles. CAJM includes a handful of accredited history and art museum, like the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and dozens of institutions that in some ways share characteristics with museums as centers for culture in their respective communities. These include galleries at JCCs, Holocaust museums and centers, synagogue museums, and community archives. CAJM aims to strengthen the field of Jewish museums by serving as a central body for information exchange, professional development, and advocacy.
JMM has played an important role in the development of CAJM for more than two decades. Today, Deborah Cardin serves as Vice Chair of the organization. The Chair of CAJM is former JMM curator, Melissa Martens Yaverbaum and the Treasurer of CAJM is Avi Decter. While every institution that belongs to CAJM has a unique mission and a distinctive audience, the opportunity for sharing ideas in this cultural community remains very valuable to us.
Each year CAJM holds an annual conference in some part of the United States bringing together its diverse body of professionals. This year the organization is taking a year off from the usual museum conference format to hold what we are calling a “Retreat/Forward” at the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center, here in Marriottsville, MD from March 23 to 25. Though it is not quite Baltimore, JMM is serving as the official host institution (with Marvin Pinkert taking a leadership role as host chair). Since the “Retreat/Forward” is open to staff, trustees and Museum volunteers (that is, most of you who receive the Performance Counts newsletter), we thought we would share the link to the event with all of you.
The program will feature:
• Cutting-edge thinkers and practitioners on participatory culture and emergent learning trends
• Frank discussions about audience expectations, civic engagement, and changing community structures
• Workshops, charettes, and small group discussions that will make the retreat an engaging, active experience for all participants
• A dance demonstration and group exercise by MacArthur Fellow Liz Lerman, founder of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and a lively talk, “From Holy Land to Graceland,” by former Walters Art Museum Director Gary Vikan
• Remarks from Ford W. Bell, President of the American Alliance of Museums; Marsha Semmel, former Acting Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and Steven M. Cohen, advisor to the recent Pew Research Center study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans”
Single day registration as well as full conference registration are available at the website.
STILL MORE SHARING
Not all of our collaborations with other Jewish museums happen at conferences. Next month we celebrate the role of Lincoln and the Jews in the Civil War. In addition to Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War, we will be using our orientation plaza to display Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City, an exhibit developed by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington.
We will share exhibits and we will also “exchange” directors. Laura Apelbaum, Executive Director of JHSGW will speak on Lincoln at JMM on the afternoon of February 9th and she is bringing a tour group from her Board, staff and volunteers with her. Ten days later, Marvin Pinkert will head down to the JHSGW’s Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum to give his final presentation on Jews and the Civil War.
You may have noticed that we now carry news about the Small Museum to our membership through Museum Matters and Laura distributes information about upcoming programs at JMM. It’s just one of the ways that it is better not to be alone.