Volunteer Spotlight on: Sylvia Nudler!

Post by Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis. Periodically we highlight one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, send an email to Sue Foard at sfoard@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443-873-5162! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

As a girl, Sylvia Nudler used to dream of working in museums, but her life initially took a different path.

For a number of years, she was employed by Sheppard Pratt at their Education Center and Conference Center. She then became the Chief Operating Officer for the Council for Quality and Leadership (CQL), an international organization that sets standards for services for people with disabilities. Sylvia related that this organization had employees all over the country that worked from their homes; much earlier than today’s normal acceptance of telecommuting. Upon retirement from CQL in 2013, she was finally able to fulfill her dream by joining the volunteer team at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

Sylvia’s current project at the Museum is typing and organizing translations of German letters from the 1930s and 40s.

She finds it fascinating how on some letters, the paper is rotated in order to add sentences in the margins and in other letters space is left at the bottom for another family member to add a message. From when Sylvia began volunteering at the JMM in 2014 until recently, she has worked on hundreds of photographs in the collection.  She has written descriptions of them including who the people are that are pictured, where the photos were taken and the subject matter so that the photos can be found by different data searches.  Some of the photos were taken as early as the late 1800’s.

She calls herself an arm-chair traveler as she has sorted through the many photos that were travel-related. One photo that came to her mind was of a nanny, a baby carriage and the grandmother on a ship.

Another was of Baltimorean Harry Greenstein in Mexico photographed with Trotsky, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo. The men were already identified, and Sylvia was able to add Frida’s name to the list.  (JMM 1971.20.55)
But Sylvia is not just an arm-chair traveler.  She has already visited all 7 continents and 48 countries.  Her goal, to see 50 countries, will be reached this spring when she travels to Croatia, Bosnia and other countries that previously made up Yugoslavia.

Sylvia began her international travel at age 3 ½ when she moved to Baltimore.  She was born in Wels, Austria at a displaced persons’ camp.  Her parents, who were both originally from Poland, met at the camp.  When they moved to Baltimore, they developed an extended “family” with other immigrants to stand in for the family that was lost in Europe.

Sylvia stays pretty busy in retirement.  In addition to her work at the JMM and her traveling, she also finds time to volunteer for several other organizations – the Maryland Association of Nonprofits and the House of Ruth.  She recently added ushering at Everyman Theatre to her calendar.  Whew!

Sylvia is one of our many appreciated volunteers at the JMM.  We are grateful for her time, her expertise, and her friendship.

jewish museum of maryland Volunteers

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