Ancient Egypt at the JMM

Posted on May 18th, 2015 by

I became involved in the development for The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen as I have a background in Egyptology, it isn’t something I ever expected to use when I started working at the JMM but recently it has been put to good use. In addition to working on the exhibit I have been able to plan a few programs that also draw on this knowledge.

Last month we held an Ancient Egypt family day here at the Museum. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the usual discussion of mummification but something that would teach some of the skills needed by an early Egyptologist like Mendes. We planned a series of interconnected activities that showed some of the process an archaeologist follows.

Excavation

Excavation

Understanding how to excavate was our first aim, everyone received their own archaeological dig to excavate. We started by carefully dividing the site into sections, these would be essential for recording our finds accurately . As we dug we also spoke about the importance of stratigraphy and how it helps to date a site and the objects we find.

Due to some careful planning everyone found the remains of two ceramic vessels which were carefully recorded and collected for the next stage.

ancient 2

Finds Analysis

This was an important part of the day that really taught some practical skills. We examined the pieces we found, discussing rim sherds especially. We looked at how they can be used to create a better impression of how a vessel may have originally looked, especially the size of the vessel. We also discussed why ceramics are such a common find on archaeological sites and what they can reveal.

Reconstruction

Reconstruction

Once we gathered as much information as possible regarding our sherds we stared the process of reconstruction, this took a lot of patience and a little creative thinking, but eventually we were able to reconstruct our precious artefacts!

Hieroglyphs

Hieroglyphs

The one thing that no Ancient Egypt day would be complete without is of course hieroglyphs. All of the materials that were excavated came ready inscribed with their ‘original’ contents, including bread, beer, cobras and fish. Once the translation was done we took the opportunity to do some writing in hieroglyphs ourselves.

Grave Goods

Finally we explored some of the types of object an archaeologist might discover. Most of the material that survives from Ancient Egypt, including all of the antiquities on display in The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, were originally intended for a funerary context. So we decided to make a few grave goods of our own including this fantastic death mask and some shabtis.

If you missed out on Egypt Day don’t worry! We have another great family day planned for June 14th, the closing day of The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen and Flag Day.

Trillion BremenA blog post by Programs Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion click HERE.

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Once Upon a Time…01.03.2014

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Deborah Cardin at 410.732.6400 x236 or email info@jewishmuseummd.org

 

1994205054Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  January 3, 2014

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  1994.205.054

 

Status:  Identified! Josh Kaplan’s Bar Mitzvah, July 1959.

Front Row (L-R) A. Esther Sabbah (Louis Kaplan’s sister; founded the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC) B. Helen Kaplan (Josh’s mom)  C. Ann Marcus (was married to Ben Marcus’ brother, not in the photo)

Back Row (L-R) 1. Josh Kaplan (son of Nathan and Helen) 2. Louis Kaplan (already identified)  3. Etta Kaplan (Louis’ wife) 4. Nathan (Nat) Kaplan (Josh’s dad)  5. Ben Marcus  6. Lillian Marcus  (younger sister of Louis Kaplan)   7.  Judy (?) Kaplan (daughter of Lillian)

 

Special Thanks To: Ephram Potts and Debbie Potts!

 

 

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Kicking off the Electrified Pickle!

Posted on July 16th, 2014 by

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a room full of little kids jump off their seats to go inhale from a smoking beaker full of blue liquid—that may have, if my memory serves me well, been described as “carbon dioxide burps.”

Kids and adults alike had a grand time at our opening for The Electrified Pickle! Although the smoking beaker of blue liquid didn’t happen until the end of the event, with the spectacular Extreme Jean show, the whole day was full of new experiences for our visitors.

More than just a pencil...graphite is a great conductor!

More than just a pencil…graphite is a great conductor!

From 11am to 3pm, we had three stations set up for experimental demonstrations that showcased the myriad ways to harness electricity through common household items. Our wonderful volunteers from the world of engineering made pencils into sliding light dimmer switches, potatoes into batteries, and, yes, pickles into glowing sources of light (and smell)!

Look at that pickle glow!

Look at that pickle glow! Many thanks to “In A Pickle” for donating these de-LIGHT-ful dills!

In addition to the demonstrations, we had hands-on stations where visitors could “get stuck in” conductive and insulating play dough and origami flowers and frogs that lit up with the help of LEDs and batteries.

Testing the difference between insulating and conductive play dough.

Testing the difference between insulating and conductive play dough.

Creating light up flower boxes!

Creating light up flower boxes!

GirlsRISEnetLogoBigSome of the funding that helped us put together the activities for the day came from a grant awarded to us by GirlsRise Net—an organization dedicated to encouraging girls to become interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.  There was no way we were passing up the opportunity to combine a day dedicated the power of electricity with Girl Power! Fortunate for us, the Baltimore metropolitan area has a wide network of female scientists and engineers, which we tapped into for volunteers to help explain the science behind the demonstrations. While we didn’t want to exclude boys from the day’s activities, we did want to strike an emphasis on the presence of women in science and engineering fields.

Potatoes as....batteries? Yup!

Potatoes as….batteries? Yup!

Inside the exhibit itself, visitors of all ages delighted in trying out scientific interactives that we had borrowed from one of our partners, the National Electronics Museum.

Checking out the interactives on loan from the National Electronics Museum.

Checking out the interactives on loan from the National Electronics Museum.

They're fun (and fascinating) for everyone!

They’re fun (and fascinating) for everyone!

MECU-Neighborhood_0At 5pm, we transitioned from our daytime activities to our evening Electrified Pickle Community Kick-off Party, generously supported by a MECU Neighborhood grant! We started the evening with the scientific stylings of Extreme Jean. She demonstrated some wacky aspects of science, such as manipulating air streams to enable her to fill out a 5 foot plastic bag with just one breath. And what science show would be complete without having some fun with dry ice?

Fun with dry ice!

Fun with dry ice!

It's a scientific playground with Extreme Jean!

It’s a scientific playground with Extreme Jean!

After the show, representatives from another one of our partners, Mosaic Makers, got us started on our community art project. With a little help from our friends and visitors, we will be making a mosaic that will be used to decorate our newest building at 5 Lloyd St. The mosaic will be out for visitors to add to for the next 5 weeks, as we continue with The Electrified Pickle.

Hard at work on our neighborhood mosaic!

Hard at work on our neighborhood mosaic!

Come check out the exhibit and more exciting workshops and demonstrations this Sunday, with Print This! For more information about the day and about the following three Sundays, check out the “Events” section of our website!

PRINT THIS! on Sunday, July 20th, 11am - 3pm.

abby krolikA blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. For more posts by Abby, click HERE.

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