JMM Education Goes Virtual!

A blog post by Museum Educator Marisa Shultz! To read more posts from Marisa, click here.

With the public health crisis closing schools, cancelling many in-person summer camps, and moving most educational activities to digital platforms, the JMM education team has been hard at work finding ways to still support students’ learning and teachers’ classroom needs via brand-new digital content.

Over the past few months, I have been working to bring three of our educational programs to the digital classroom. The process of taking an exciting and interactive in-person field trip and converting it into an immersive, engaging, and accessible virtual visit has been at times challenging, but also extraordinarily rewarding. Not only have I learned a ton of new, inestimable skills but the current educational landscape has encouraged me to think “outside of the box,” and look at our programs in a whole new light.

Take these slides from our new Voices of Lombard Street virtual visit.
These slides begin with facts about the medical examinations but then transition to the image of a primary source artifact.

In these slides, I first share some information about the medical examinations new immigrants went through when arriving in America. Then, the students have the opportunity to look at Celia Buchman’s inspection card. Inspection cards were used on the steamships for a lot of different functions, but they were also used after arrival to record that someone had gone through and passed the medical inspection. I walk the students through interpreting this artifact, paying particularly close attention to the three purple stamps from the U.S. Public Health Service, showing that after a delousing, she had passed her medical exams and could enter the country.

On-site, students would be looking at this artifact through an acrylic or glass cover, and while that is an absolutely essential part of preserving our artifacts for perpetuity, it would be harder to see the little details, like the fact that she was ‘deloused’ (see the stamp on the left hand side), and that she came to this country through Ellis Island (see the stamp on the right hand side). While students may not be seeing artifacts in person during their virtual visit, they are getting an up-close and personal look at them, which will help them practice interpreting primary sources.

What’s so encouraging about this process too is that we’re still able to engage with students, asking them questions and helping them forget not only deeper understandings of history, but also a profound connection with the past.

This slide first asks the students to consider their personal experiences and then shares primary source photos to help students make connections to the past.

Also in our Voices of Lombard virtual visit, we discuss the ways new Jewish immigrants to Baltimore began building communities in Jonestown and what institutions aided in this process (like synagogues, and the Jewish Educational Alliance). Before talking about communities in the past, we start by asking students to consider what places are important to their communities, like houses of worship, parks, or community centers. This helps to both contextualize the historical information but also to help students draw a personal connection between their lives and the past.

We’re really excited to share with you some information about the three virtual visits we are currently offering below. If you are interested in scheduling a virtual visit (for a youth group, scouting troop, summer camp, or even a class for next school year), please see our Virtual Visit Request Form. If you have any questions about our current offerings, you can reach me at And be sure to check back here later in the summer, as we’re also developing several more exciting programs that we’re hoping to offer in the Fall!

Voices of Lombard Street: Experience the historic Jonestown neighborhood of Baltimore. Explore tenement houses, sweatshops, and Lombard Street to learn about the immigrant families that called this neighborhood home.

We’re really excited to bring the stories of historic Jonestown to life through this virtual visit presentation!

Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling: Experience one of America’s largest industries, its innovative technology and the stories of the immigrant families that built it. Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling integrates STEM and humanities through topics like immigration, technology, and environmental sustainability.

Students can continue to explore the history of the Scrap and Recycling Industries through this virtual visit presentation!

Holocaust Memory Project: Hear the personal stories of Holocaust survivors through recorded testimonies and the Holocaust Memory Project, a series of primary source collages designed by Holocaust survivors living in MD. Different themes include rescue, hidden children, concentration camps, survival, and legacy.

Students will hear the experiences of Holocaust survivors and learn about the variety of  ways Holocaust survivors have helped preserve and tell their stories.


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