JMM Insights: Community Arts at the JMM

Posted on February 20th, 2015 by

ilene

This month’s JMM Insights is brought you by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon and focuses on some exciting upcoming displays and events here at the Museum.

Spring is just around the corner- and soon more people will be “out and about” to see what is going on in their neighborhoods after  a very cold winter.  This spring, the JMM should be one of your first stops to see just what is happening around town when we exhibit some community arts projects done by students and young adults around town.  The JMM is an institution that fosters discovery, community dialogue, discourse and creativity, and our Museum provides a perfect setting to display local community  artwork.

CHAI Photog exhibit Sept 3, 2014-1041

The Girl’s Photography Project

In late February, The Girl’s Diversity Photography Project will be on display at the JMM with a reception taking place on Sunday, March 1st from 2-4:00 p.m.  The exhibit features 33 photos that capture intimate interactions and daily snapshots between 15 African American and Orthodox Jewish girls from Northwest Baltimore.  The exhibition was sponsored by CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., in partnership with Wide Angle Media., The project is part of CHAI’s (Comprehesive Housing Assistance) – Community Conversation Series and the project was designed to destroy stereotypes and foster respect between the two diverse groups. The girls participated in a series of workshops, including photography lessons,  that enabled them to learn about each other’s perspectives and life experiences.

my Family Story

Following the Girl’s Diversity Photography Project, eighth grade students from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School will exhibit their works in connection with an exciting education initiative, My Family Story.   This initiative in partnership with  The International School for Jewish Peoplehood Studies (ISJPS) at Beit Hatfutsot – The Diaspora Museum located in Tel Aviv  is intended to be a meaningful, experiential, and multigenerational Jewish heritage program  that has been generating excitement and interest in Jewish family legacies over the past 20 years.

Beit Hatfutsot designed My Family Story to counteract the trend of Jewish indifference impacting the younger generation.  This international program was launched as means of encouraging students to research and present their family stories and explore their collective Jewish history.  Students make significant discoveries about who they are and where their families have come from as they learn about historical events that have affected their families and discover how they are connected to a larger community.  Students and their families explore their family roots in depth going beyond the development of the typical family tree.  It connects the younger generation to personal stories, family stories and the story of the Jewish people.  The exploration culminates in an artistic installation created by the student to represent their own family’s personal history.

As part of the installation, each students write artist statements about their creative works based on their independent exploration. Through their participation in the program, students are empowered to creatively “tie together” their new found discoveries using art as the medium of expression.

Support from the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Fund for Jewish Education has allowed the JMM to bring My Family Story to the Baltimore Jewish community.   In 2014 more than 12,000 students from Israel, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada and the United States participated in the program.  Participation in the program is only available through educational institutions and community centers. Beginning this spring, Baltimore Jewish families will be represented for the first time.

With the help of Beth Tfiloh’s creative teachers, Mrs. Liz Shrier, Mrs. Shelly Spector along with the incredibly talented Arts department, students have been working hard throughout the school year.  On the evening of Thursday, March 12, 2015, the students will celebrate their work and the My Family Story exhibition at a private reception. The works will be on display through Monday, March 16th.  Following the evening, two displays will be chosen to represent the school and those projects will be sent to Beit Hatfutsot according to their guidelines.  In mid-May, Beit Hatfutsot will notify the international winners and those students will be flown to Israel to participate in the official My Family Story ceremony and official events that take place later in June.

making art

Creating Braille Art

After celebrating the students at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, the JMM will exhibit Learning Your Letters: Braille Art.  This exhibition, presented by the JMM and the Braille Art Gallery, features braille drawings of artists of all ages and all abilities, to promote braille literacy.  The exhibit will be open to the public in the lobby of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, from April 15, 2015, through May 3, 2015.  A reception will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

Be sure to make your way to the JMM this spring to see what’s happening in our community and to celebrate the creativity of our youth.  If you have any questions, about any of these exciting programs, please contact the JMM’s Education Director, Ilene Dackman-Alon, idackmanalon@jewishmuseummmd.org or 410.732.6400 x214.

 

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JMM Insights: There Were Doctors in the House

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by

On Thursday, January 22, the JMM, in partnership with the Associated, hosted a special event for medical professionals to learn about our upcoming exhibition, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. The goal of the event was to spread the word about this landmark exhibit among medical professionals and also as an opportunity for the exhibition team to gain feedback about the exhibition that can help inform its development.

Drs. Ira Papel and Robert Keehn check out the displays.

Drs. Ira Papel and Robert Keehn check out the displays.

Beyond Chicken Soup explores the interplay of cultural beliefs and medical practice and contributes to the contemporary conversation about health and medicine in America by illuminating the social meanings and values intrinsic to medical interactions. While national in scope, the exhibition focuses on many local stories and highlights the central role that our local community has played in the medical arena. To that end, the exhibition team has been actively seeking stories and artifacts to help flesh out exhibit themes. Having so many medical professionals from across the spectrum – including surgeons, pediatricians, pharmacists, orthopedists, ob/gyns, nurses, and even a mohel! – gave JMM staff the chance to learn about the experiences of a diverse group of local professionals.

Marvin shares details of the upcoming exhibit.

Marvin shares details of the upcoming exhibit.

40 people attended the program and enjoyed having the chance to interact with the exhibit team. Curator, Karen Falk and collections manager, Joanna Church, created a temporary display of several fascinating objects and photographs that will be featured in the exhibit.  These included such iconic items as “Mr. Bones”, a model skeleton created by Leon Schlossberg (courtesy of the Chesney Medical Archives), a medical artist, as a teaching tool at Hopkins; historical pharmaceutical tools from the collection of Adolf Ed Baer, a pharmacist who practiced in western Maryland; a doctor’s bag belonging to Dr. Morris Abramowitz who practiced medicine in East Baltimore in the first half of the 20th century; a silver tea set used by Sinai Hospital nurses; and a diploma from Louis Hamburger, who was among the first graduating class at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in 1897. Staff members positioned at each of the display areas were armed with questions to ask guests about their specific experiences. Attendees were encouraged to provide answers to thought provoking questions such as “Why did you decide to become a doctor?” and “Do you ever pray with your patients?” designed to inspire conversation around topics that will be explored in depth in the exhibit.

Trustee Rikki Specter with some doctor friends!

Trustee Rikki Specter with some doctor friends!

The event was hosted by four JMM board members who are also doctors – board president, Ira Papel; board vice president, Robert Keehn; Sheldon Bearman and Crystal Watkins Johannson. Remarks were presented by Ira Papel who thanked exhibition donors and encouraged attendees to spread the word about the exhibit. JMM executive director, Marvin Pinkert, further elaborated on why Beyond Chicken Soup is such an important project of local, national and even international significance.

Researcher Alicia Puglionesi collects stories from attendees.

Researcher Alicia Puglionesi collects stories from attendees.

Thursday evening provided the JMM with our first opportunity to showcase Beyond Chicken Soup to an important constituency. We were delighted by the enthusiastic response we received by everyone in attendance, including several people who had never visited the JMM previously. We look forward to following up on many of the leads provided that will help enrich the exhibit’s content. Please help us continue to spread the word about this exciting project.

EventTag1

Have something to share? Call or email Curator Karen Falk! 410-732-6402 x227, kfalk@jewishmuseummd.org

 

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JMM Insights December 2014: Dear Abby, the Holiday Edition!

Posted on December 19th, 2014 by

Our “Dear Abby” feature gives us a chance to answer commonly asked questions about how to get the most satisfaction out of your JMM visit.  These questions are often asked of our Visitor Services Manager, Abby Krolik, thus, the name! (Any resemblance to a syndicated feature with a similar name is purely coincidental.)

 

1) Dear Abby,

Time flies so fast, and I’ve just realized that winter break is right around the corner! I love my kids, but the thought of having all three of them home at once, with nothing to do, for a week and a half, fills me with dread. What can I do with them to keep them from each other’s throats and to keep me from tearing my hair out? Oy vey!  There’s only so many times in a row that I can watch Frozen before “Let It Go” becomes permanently stuck in my head.

Please, please, please tell me that the JMM is open during the holidays!

 

Sincerely,

Avoiding Cabin Fever

 

Dear Cabin Fever,

We will be open for much of the holiday season, but with a few exceptions to allow our staff to enjoy some time with their families. We will be open at our regular hours except for New Year’s Day, when we will be closed completely, and we will have early closings December 24th (closing at 3pm), December 25th (closing at 4pm), and December 31st (closing at 3pm).

As always, there is something to do here at the JMM for all ages! Kids and the young at heart have delighted in the maze in The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit (while the adults at heart enjoy the content), and the Voices of Lombard Street and The Synagogue Speaks exhibits have several hands-on portions. In addition to our interactive exhibits, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on our programs calendar, which you can find on our website, on Facebook, and on many local online calendars (such as The Baltimore Sun and The Jewish Times). We strive to have programming for all ages, from lectures for adults, to the rocking Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights concert we had for kids just a couple of weeks ago!

We’ve got you covered this winter break (and every school break) when it comes to entertaining your family!

 

Best Wishes,

Abby

 

2)  Dear Abby,

I’m the kind of man who thrives on staying busy—especially if it’s a task that will bring a smile to a kid’s face. I’m a real sucker for a kid’s big, toothy grin. Right now, I’ve got a great job in a factory up north that’s going through its annual crunch time this season. I love it! The only problem is that our only day off from work is Dec. 25, when everything is closed. And I know what you’re going to say—why don’t you go see a movie and have some Chinese food? Those are always open on Christmas Day. But like I said, I enjoy being busy, and watching a movie or devouring chicken lo mein doesn’t count as busy in my book.

I happen to be pretty close to my boss, so I was telling him about my problem, and he told me that he and the missus often come to your museum on Dec. 25 because you’re one of the few places open, and that you guys always have a great program. It sounds like a good idea to me, but I thought I’d check in and see what exactly you guys are doing that day.

 

Happy Holidays,

Your Friend from the Great North

 

Dear Great North,

It’s always nice to hear that someone had such a good time at our museum that they recommended us to a friend. Please tell your boss that we would really appreciate it if he and his wife could leave us a review on our TripAdvisor page. You should do write one too, once you’ve come to visit us!

We do have a fantastic program planned for December 25th, a.k.a “Mitzvah Day.” We are collaborating with Jewish Volunteer Connection to participate in the city-wide Mitzvah Day program. From 10:00am to 1:00pm, we will be decorating puzzles and putting together fun gift packages for children who have to stay in Sinai Hospital over the holidays. Sounds like a perfect fit for you!

If you’re wondering why puzzles, it’s because of our current special exhibition, The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen. Mendes Cohen spent much of his life trying to piece together his complex identity, much like putting together a puzzle. And who doesn’t love puzzles, anyway?

Then, at 1:00pm, our renowned local historian, Gil Sandler, will further explore the topic of identity building in his talk, Becoming American in Jewish Baltimore. He will share the story of how many early Jewish Baltimoreans got their start.

It should be a great day, and we would love for you to join us!

Best Wishes,

Abby

See you on the 25th!

See you on the 25th!

3) Dear Abby,

I’m from out of town, but my son lives in Baltimore, and I’ll be visiting him during Chanukah.  Since you work at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, you must know everything there is to know about Jewish Baltimore! The first and most important thing I must know is …where is the best place to go for Chanukah shopping? I still have several people left on my holiday gift list—which brings me to my next question. My husband is a dreidel enthusiast. He collects dreidels of all kinds. I’d like to buy one for him to add to his collection, but every time I see some in the stores, I realize he has at least one of each kind there. I need to find him a unique dreidel. Is there some kind of dreidel emporium in Baltimore?

The next important thing I need to know is…which is the best deli in Baltimore? Is it Attman’s, Lenny’s, or Weiss’s?

 

Happy Hanukkah!

Mrs. Dreideleh

 

Dear Mrs. Dreideleh,

I see you have your priorities straight! I’m more than happy to answer your questions—and the first one in particular. It just so happens that the best place in Baltimore to go to for all of your Chanukah shopping needs is…the JMM! We are currently having a Chanukah Madness sale, which means that everything in the shop that is Chanukah related is 25% off until the end of December.

Joseph's Coat Menorah

Joseph’s Coat Menorah

Do you need a menorah in the shape of a trolley car? We’ve got it! Do you need Chanukah candles? We’ve got it! Do you need more gelt than you can possibly eat in a life time? We’ve got it! We also, of course, have our usual array of Jewish books, art, games, and jewelry that are perfect for that special someone on your holiday gift list.

Safed Candles from Israel

Safed Candles from Israel

Which brings me to your second question: do we have a supply of not-your-everyday dreidels? Of course we do! We have metallic dreidels, wooden dreidels, and we have plastic dreidels that you can fill with candy. We also have a whole case full of decorative dreidels that come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. I couldn’t possibly describe them all, so you’ll just have to come down here yourself to take a look.

And while you’re down here, you can sample the three delis of Corned Beef Row and decide for yourself which one is best.

 

Happy Shopping,

Abby

 

4) Dear Abby,

I hate winter.  I hate the snow and the slush and the cold winds. I especially hate driving in this weather—people are just crazy when the weather turns bad! The whole season makes me wish I were a bear with lots of fur and nice warm cave to hibernate in. But if I can’t sleep the season away, I might as well keep myself entertained, and I do enjoy the exhibits and programs that you have at the JMM.

However, the last thing I want to do is battle the elements and idiotic drivers to get to the museum only to discover that it has closed because of the weather.  How do I find out ahead of time whether the museum has decided to close or open late (or close early)?

 

Sincerely,

Waiting for Spring

 

Dear Waiting for Spring,

I’m glad you asked that question because it’s a very important one. There are times when the weather outside is frightful and we do have to close the museum. The first place you can always check for this kind of information is our website:  www.jewishmuseummd.org .  If we have plans to close the building, it will be posted on the middle of the front page.  We try to make sure we’ve posted our decision by 9am so that you can make plans accordingly.  If it’s a weekday, our policy for the first day of any weather event is to go along with whatever the Baltimore City Schools are doing. After the first day, however, we make the decision ourselves based on the conditions of the roads and on the ability of the folks who clear the sidewalk and secure the building to make it to Lloyd Street.

We’re a hardy group, so we try not to close unless it is really necessary!

 

Best Wishes,

Abby

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