Friday, July 31, 2009

The Secret Lives of Interns: Week 7

As always, week 6 was a busy one! For collections interns, there was a sigh of relief as we finally moved the (now significantly weeded) Baltimore Hebrew University Archives into the JMM. More than 160 boxes made there way into our archival storage on Tuesday (Sean was very excited about driving the truck). Watch out for a special BHU blog post in the near future, recounting the whole endeavor!

Wednesday gave the interns a break from the JMM, sending them out on the second GBHA sponsored field trip to the West Side of Baltimore – visiting the Sports Legends Museum, The B&O Railroad Museum and Mount Clare House.

The highlight of the Intern Field Trip for me was the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, which surprised the heck out of me because I'm not really a huge sports fan! It was neat to see what the museum staff did with the space they had and how they operated behind the scenes. Greg and Shawn were great tour guides and focused on telling us the good as well as the bad of museum management - including which exhibits are a construction or operation "nightmare" and what to keep in mind if ever designing a museum (remember room for slop sinks and ample storage!). We got to hold one of Babe Ruth's bats and heard the story behind the Japanese headdress with the Emperor's personal markings that is part of the museum's collection. – Heather

This week we took our second intern field trip! Whoo! It was very insightful and taught me a lot more about Baltimore's history. Seeing as I'm not from around here, it was great to learn some more background about where I am living. We attended the Sports Legends Museum first and I really liked their facilities. They have a great gallery as soon as you come in set up like a train and you can sit and the videos play scenic woods and such. They do all sports history from Babe Ruth to Michael Phelps. They are also very smart with attaining cases for their galleries from other museums and recycling them for their own purposes. They love interaction on their tours which was great to hear; I feel as a museum professional that is to be first and foremost. They had fiber optic lighting which was different to see, it had its good and bad qualities. The Peabody does their music which was an interesting note, because their ambiance was terrific. They also have a very secure facility with electronic locks and lock-locks on others. We got to hold a 1923 Babe Ruth bat! Which was completely amazing! I touched, with gloves, the best ball player's bat! Being a Yankee fan, it truly meant a lot. We also learned about some funky things they had in their storage like ashes as well as a samurai helmet. It was a great environment and institution.

Babe Ruth’s Bat was a REAL favorite!

The B&0 was where we went next and it was just big! Everything was huge and interesting. They have 210 historic structures, as dubbed by the State. They have high expenses and very intricate preservation and conservation methods. Lastly there was Mount Clare. Their ambiance was a CD player and a computer speaker "hidden" in the corner. They had a good docent but he told us everything that the video we had just seen had told us. Overall the experience was eye-opening and interesting. I had a good time. – Sean

My recent activities include: leading youngsters from the McKim Center through "Voices Of Lombard Street" on Monday, researching and developing ideas for exhibits in the Lloyd Street Synagogue, learning lots at the Intern Field Trip on Wednesday, and meeting with the LSS team about the LSS exhibit media - such great artistry - it's going to be awesome, you'll just have to wait and see! – Heather

Having grown up with a Jewish family, gone to Jewish day school for nine years, had a bat mitzvah, etc., I thought I had a pretty good handle on points of observance and ritual. However, working on the Chosen Food exhibit has exposed me to some nitty-gritty details of Jewish observance that I had no idea existed! Some are interesting to consider, but a few seem simply absurd. The most recent example doesn't actually have to do with food, but with keeping the Sabbath. During the Sabbath, we are commanded to refrain from doing any kind of work that is related to the 39 categories of labor (which were used to build the temple). This includes lifting certain weights, cooking, and tearing. With the passing of time, the laws have been interpreted so that they relate to modern life, with the result that strictly-observant Jews do not tear toilet paper on Shabbat! Ultimately, every Jew has to choose for her/himself which practices are most meaningful, but, in the sage words of Karen Falk, "everyone draws the line somewhere!" And, clearly, this is where I draw mine. When I'm not pondering Talmudic interpretations of modern life, I am poring over cookbooks and food-related books/articles, making me crave knishes and stuffed cabbage. – Abby

This week, I spent most of my time researching programs of other Jewish museums across the country. I found it interesting that museums of our size in many different states had similarly structured websites and program initiatives: book talks, speakers, and children’s art projects. Larger museums (with larger budgets) have numerous programs 5-6 times a week over a variety of different themes. Which makes me 1) angry that we don't have more money and 2) excited about the potential we could reach if and when we do acquire more money. Ka ching! - Rebecca

I was gone for the first half of the week, visiting friends in New York City and photographing for the Jewish foodways grant application. I found several long lists of most of the kosher restaurants in the city and spent several days wandering, photographing, and collecting take-out menus. While there, I also visited the new gourmet kosher grocery store pomegranate. I’d never photographed in a grocery store, and certainly got some strange looks from the customers and employees (though i did get permission to do so), but it was a good experience. Sampling their rugelach was also pretty enjoyable. Since I’ve been back at the JMM, I’ve been doing miscellaneous research to help Karen and Rachel fill in some of the sections on the foodways grant. – Shelby

*Sports Legend and B&O photos by Heather and Kim!
*New York Food photos by Shelby!

1 comment:

sean said...

That was a very interesting fieldtrip. The pictures say it all.fantastic blogpost!