Smalltimore

A blog post by JMM’s Director of Development, Tracey E. Dorfmann. To read more posts from Tracey, click here.

Baltimore. It’s taken 18 months, but it finally feels like home. Over my lifetime there have been a few places that I called home. One consistency I have noticed, no matter where I have lived, is that there are many threads of connection between people. I love learning about the individuals with whom I interact, because I’m bound to find a connection. This is indeed what recently happened to me in my neighborhood.

My community is wonderfully eclectic. I live by the northern border of Baltimore City near Belvedere Market. I have wonderful neighbors. One or two hail from Baltimore city and environs but most, like me, are not natives. There is a representative sampling from the mid-Atlantic, a few from the mid-west, and others from the south. Their careers are equally diverse: hospice clergy, architect, health care administrator, fire inspector, costume designer, graphic designer, fabric artist, TV sound production, professional chef, music sound production, attorney, judge, web designer, licensed social workers and even a few non-profit professionals.

I am always eager and excited to share about JMM.  At a recent holiday party, I was encouraging my neighbors to visit the Museum. The last day for the Houdini exhibit is January 21st and I want folks to experience the exhibit before it closes.  One of my neighbors turned to me and asked, “is that where the Lloyd Street Synagogue is?”

I explained that the striking and iconic Lloyd Street Synagogue (1845 –) Greek Revival Architecture is indeed one of the most significant holdings in our collection along with the B’nai Israel Synagogue (1876 – which has an outstanding Moorish Revival interior).  The noteworthy and historic synagogues, two of the oldest in Maryland, flank our Museum building.

My neighbor shared with me that in the late 1970’s she had been a planning assistant at the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation. She remembered working on the nomination paperwork for the Lloyd Street Synagogue so that it could to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. Completely fascinated, she enjoyed learning how pivotal JMM is in the revival of the Jonestown neighborhood, how relevant we make our exhibits, the far-reaching scope of our school programs, and the range of our public programs.

The next day I received a text from her saying that she had joined as a JMM member and would be attending a lecture here in the coming weeks.   A few more days passed I received and email with an attachment. The email message read “look who signed and prepared this application.”

What I opened was a copy of the National Registry of Historic Places Nomination Form from 1976. There on the form in the section “form prepared by” was my neighbor’s name. Smalltimore – I get it now.
Categories
JMM Synagogue Stories Lloyd Street Synagogue Museum Stories World of Museums

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