My Family Story: Online!

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

Ellie B.’s project “The Berlins of the Beth El Bima,” depicts the life-cycle events her family celebrated at Beth El Synagogue, including her father’s Bar Mizvah and her baby naming ceremony. Each life-cycle event has a hand-made sculpture representing the members of her family. The figures for the last life cycle event, which happened in 2020, even feature small tie-dye face masks. Ellie B.’s project is one of the winners of the My Family Story project at JMM and will be moving onto the international portion of the program.

Each year, JMM partners with ANU: The Museum of the Jewish People (formerly Beit Hatfutsot), and several local Jewish day or congregational schools on My Family Story. This year, we were delighted to work with the teachers and students at Krieger Schechter Day School and Ohr Chadash Academy!

Engaging in this project gave students at these schools an empowering opportunity to dive into their own family histories, cultivate their Jewish identities, and expand their knowledge and idea of Jewish peoplehood. During this project, 44 middle school students researched their family histories and each created a piece of artwork and wrote a curator’s statement to illustrate and share their families’ experiences and stories.

Tamar G.’s project “The Journey Home,” is a large, hand-made globe with many markers labeling the different places her ancestors once lived, including Russia, Bulgaria, Iraq, and Egypt. Each of these markers are connected with string, but Israel and Maryland are both marked in a different way, with small star icons. Tamar G.’s project is one of the winners of the My Family Story project at JMM and will be moving onto the international portion of the program. 

The projects are then looked at by a series of judges, who select one or two projects from each participating school here in Maryland to move onto the international competition, in which 50 projects from around the world are selected to be displayed at ANU: The Museum of the Jewish People.

In non-pandemic years, we would normally gather the projects at the Museum for an exhibition in our gallery and invite the students and families to a celebration of the students’ hard work. While we definitely missed seeing everyone in person this year, we were delighted that we could continue this important and empowering project in the virtual world and are so deeply grateful to the hard work of the students, teachers, organizers, judges, and donors who made it possible.

Aliza R.’s project “All for the Boss,” has a detailed, hand-made clay figure sitting on a bench The bench is resting on an open book called All for the Boss, which was written by one of Aliza’s relatives about her great-great-great-grandfather.  In the background of the scene, there is a family tree with images of the family members. Aliza R.’s project is one of the winners of the My Family Story Project at JMM and will be moving onto the international portion of the program.

In lieu of an in-person celebration, this year we had the amazing opportunity to invite students to a digital unveiling of our online My Family Story exhibit. At this event, the students heard from Sol Davis, their teachers, and Shula Bahat, the CEO of the American Friends of ANU.

Yair S.’ project “Zion,” has a model of a steamship made from clay and paper on two surfaces painted to look like the ocean. There is a map of Morocco and a map of New York on either side of the steamship, and on small stands around the ship there are also historical images of family members and objects. Yair S.’ project is one of the winners of the My Family Story project at JMM and will be moving onto the international portion of the competition.

Students then got to see all of the projects on display on our digital My Family Story exhibit which can be accessed at https://myfamilystoryjmm.tumblr.com/.

I am also delighted to officially announce the winners of the My Family Story 2021 competition at JMM! You can see more images of their projects and read their curator’s statements at the links below:

My Family Story at the Jewish Museum of Maryland is generously supported by the
Ronnie and Alli Russel Charitable Foundation.

Categories
Digital Exhibits Education

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *