Posted on September 17th, 2013 by Rachel
Opening October 13th!
Everyone at the JMM is very excited for our upcoming exhibit, Passages Through the Fire: Jews and the American Civil War. Karen and Jobi are preparing the gallery while Rachel and Trillion are putting together the advertising and logistics for our various programs, and Ilene is creating new curricula and activities for the schoolchildren to do, and Esther is buying all the Civil War tchotkes you could ever want to buy. Meanwhile, Marvin has been developing a brand new tour of a very familiar space: the Lloyd Street Synagogue circa 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War.
Docent training begins.
The new tour will enable our visitors—especially our return visitors—to see the Lloyd Street Synagogue through new eyes. The extension of the synagogue in 1860 isn’t only significant because it covered up the original mikveh, but, more importantly, it demonstrates just how quickly the city of Baltimore—and by extension, its Jewish population—was growing. However, that same growth of the Jewish community created new problems that came to a head during the Civil War, as our visitors will learn on this tour. Visitors will also gain an intimate understanding of how Jews justified taking either the Confederate or the Union side of the conflict by hearing excerpts from contemporary writings by two prominent Baltimore rabbis (Rabbis Illoway and Einhorn, of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and Oheb Shalom, respectively).
Marvin holds up one of our cast of characters!
It won’t be easy for us and our volunteer docents to learn a whole new tour in just a few weeks, but we’re all eager for the challenge! Last week, we invited our docents to see the new tour, and we received some excellent constructive feedback in return. Marvin led us through the synagogue, giving us tips on how to guage the knowledge and interest of our groups by using a Civil War-era kepi as a shibboleth, and showing us how different parts of the synagogue illustrate the various issues that were important to the Jewish community here during the Civil War.
Marvin with the docents.
We will be premiering the 1861 Tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue when we open the new exhibit on October 12th for the Members Preview and on October 13th for the Public Opening. At the openings, the tour will be offered twice, and after that it will offered once a day in the place of the regular 3pm tour (all other daily tours will be the regular overview tour of the two synagogues).
We encourage you to come and “experience the Lloyd Street Synagogue you never knew!”
A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik. To read more posts by Abby, click here.
Posted on June 5th, 2013 by Rachel
We’ll be giving you a much more in-depth introduction to the young professionals making up our 2013 Summer Internship Class in a few weeks, but for now, enjoy these photos of their first 2 days here at the Museum!
Rules & Regulations – there’s a lot of information on an interns first day!
Touring the Lloyd Street Synagogue with Executive Director Marvin Pinkert.
Welcome to Collections!
Collections Handling Workshop with Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.
Examining the interior of a hat.
Proper support of two dimensional items.
Front Desk Training with Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik.
The hands on portion of our digital camera & object photography workshop!
Discussing exhibitions with Curator Karen Falk.
Jobi Zink teaches Past Perfect.
Posted on March 18th, 2013 by Rachel
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin.
On Monday, March 18, JMM staff members and volunteers gathered for an oral history training workshop.
The training session was led by senior collections manager Jobi Zink.
An eager group of students gathered in the board room for the workshop.
With more than 700 interviews in our collections, oral histories form an important part of the JMM collections. Like the artifacts in our collections, JMM oral histories are eclectic in nature and range in topic from major historical events like the Holocaust and civil rights era to more mundane subjects such as shopping in Jewish owned businesses and daily life in Maryland’s small towns.
The goal of this workshop was to teach proper techniques for conducting interviews as well as the mechanics of using our recording equipment.
Esther Weiner practices how to properly use the digital recording equipment.
When I first started working at the JMM, we used cassette recorders that were considered top of the line when they were originally purchased. Today we use digital equipment that allows for greater flexibility in how interviews can be used. While the new equipment produces interviews that are higher quality than the older models, the technology can also be intimidating to volunteers (and to staff as well).
Here you see Jobi “patiently” answering a question posed by curator Karen Falk with one of her trademark stink eyes!
Hence the importance of our training.
Oral history interviews provide listeners with the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of specific historical events. As listeners of the acclaimed Story Corps project are aware, the subjects of interviews do not need to be famous – nor do the topics under discussion need to be momentous events from long ago – in order for the interview to be compelling. (To learn more and to listen to archived interviews, visit storycorps.org/)
A search through our oral history database turns up interviews with Jewish business owners, former residents of East Baltimore (whose memories can be found in our Voices of Lombard Street exhibit),
Three separate oral history quotes greet visitors as they enter the exhibit gallery and help set the exhibit’s tone.
This colorful quote helps bring the Lombard Street market section to life.
and food mavens (whose favorite Jewish food traditions and recipes helped inform the recent Chosen Food exhibit.) We also have on file interviews with Jacob Beser who discusses his World War II military career that included flying in both missions that dropped atomic bombs on Japan (OH 0141 and OH 0331)and Mitzi Swan (OH 0658) who participated in the protest to integrate the tennis courts at Druid Hill Park.
Excerpts from Mitzi Swan’s interview can be found in the 2004 edition of Generations that focused on the theme of Jews in sports.
Oral history interviewees are sought as part of the research for each new exhibit. Some of my personal favorite interviews were conducted with young campers, whose enthusiasm for their camping experience helped shaped the look and feel of Cabin Fever: Jewish Camping and Commitment (2005).
At the entrance to the exhibit, visitors encountered a quote expressing the magical feeling that campers experienced as the camp bus approached the entrance to camp.
Exhibitions, programs, and publications are all enriched thanks to our vibrant oral history program. We are so excited to have a new corps of trained oral history interviewers who are now capable of collecting new fascinating stories to add to our collections.