Inside the Synagogue, Inside your Screen

From Visitor Services Coordinator Talia Makowsky. To read more posts from Talia, click here.

I write this blog post from my workstation at home, where I have taken over the dining room table. Even though the Museum is not open to the public at the moment, the staff are certainly open, with multiple digital programs each week, blog posts from our volunteers, and, of course, the digital tours I’ve been giving to adult groups.

These tours have quickly become one of my favorite ways to engage with visitors while we’re unable to welcome groups physically to the Museum. It’s been really fun to deep dive into Jews in Space and to build out our Scrap Yard digital tour, to provide the opportunity to experience our special exhibits, for guests far and wide.

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting. Talia, a white woman, is smiling on the rights side, and there’s a photo of the Scrap Yard exhibit on the left.
Just one of the many tours I’ve been giving. This image features our Scrap Yard tour, including a picture of our now shipped out Scrap Yard exhibit.

However, one thing that is definitely missing is tours of our historic buildings, especially the Lloyd Street Synagogue (LSS). I really miss being able to bring guests into the synagogue, to show them the stories of the space, the architectural features up close, and to see people’s faces as we enter the beautiful main sanctuary. And so, we plan to offer digital tours of our Lloyd Street Synagogue, for adult groups!

A PowerPoint slide of the title of the digital tour, which says “Lloyd Street Synagogue: A Digital Tour” over an image of the Lloyd Street Syangogue
A preview of the title slide of our LSS digital tour. Please note, any images of the tour are subject to change in the final version.

This digital tour, which lasts about an hour just like our other tours, is an opportunity to deep dive into the stories of Lloyd Street Synagogue, and the congregations that worshipped in the building. This tour will be focused on LSS, in order to give us more time to explore how and why the Jewish community grew and developed in Jonestown, where the synagogue is located.

Unlike our onsite tours, this digital experience will spend more time on primary resources and artefacts from LSS, objects and materials that we cannot normally show during an onsite tour. It will also be an interactive experience, much like our other tours, in order to create discussion and discourse, and provide audience members an opportunity to personally engage with the stories of the synagogue.

An overhead picture of an excavation site, showing a deep hole in the floor and pipes and bricks in the hole.
Our LSS digital tour will give us a chance to go deep into the history of the synagogue, such as the excavation of the mikvah we did a few years ago! Picture taken by Will Kirk.

Of course, with all the stories and materials that the synagogue has, I’ve been working hard to create a tour that will meet and exceed the expectations of our JMM community. I don’t have the tour completed yet, as I want to provide a polished and exciting presentation, for you to enjoy. The tour will be available very soon, and we’re looking forward to announcing the opening of our tour via social media and our adult group webpage!

In the meantime, enjoy the sneak previews of the tour here. And if you’re ready to book a group tour, you can fill out this online form. Thank you for your patience as I put the finishing touches on the tour and I look forward to hosting you very soon!

JMM Synagogue Stories Lloyd Street Synagogue Plan Your Visit

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