Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time 4.30.10

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 Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 4/30/10

PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.1215

Status: Unidentified. Tay-Sachs testing table at the JCC, 1977

Monday, August 30, 2010

Installing "A Blessing to One Another" Part I or How did you fit ALL THAT into THERE?!?

It’s 7:30 AM Monday August 16 and the Museum is already a bustle of activity. The fork lift has arrived and Mark Ward and Associates are ready to begin work. Bob Shelton, the site manager is reviewing floor plans with the crew. Right on time the first of two 53-foot tractor trailers carrying A Blessing to One Another exhibit arrives.

Mark Ward and the fork lift.

The truck is packed to the gills with crates and casework. The process of unloading begins.

Tetris skillz were used to pack this truck.

It takes a lot of teamwork and communications to remove the crates using the fork lift. The crates are then opened and each panel is removed and brought into the gallery.

Lowering the crates onto the sidewalk.

The color-coded panels are placed in the gallery in approximate layout position.

Finally, after lunch the crew can begin setting up the panels around the perimeter of the gallery.

Karen, intern SPS & Darrell take a look at the early stages of installation

Tuesday morning we start the process over again when the second truck arrives!

By Wednesday the crew was making significant progress—
sections were beginning to take shape.

Pete Leatherwood carries one of the graphic panels.

Stoney and Patrick put in the wiring for a video monitor.

The entrance way to the exhibition is all set up.

By Friday morning, all of the panels, graphics, lights, monitors and sound stations were installed. James Buchanan (the exhibition curator, not the former president) came in from Xavier College in Cincinnati to walk through the exhibition with Bob Shelton, Karen Falk, Anita Kassof and myself to make sure everything was up to par.

Not this James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States.

James explained how he and his team developed and fabricated the entire exhibition in less than one year – a miracle! He also told us stories of how excited he was when the artifacts he asked for actually came to him from the Vatican. I couldn’t wait to open up the crates and see the items that would be included in the show.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BLOG: A Dramatic Miniseries, Writing an Event Post

Beginning in September, staff members of the Jewish Museum of Maryland will all be required to contribute to our online presence. As a way of easing them into this new frontier, the web mistresses created this miniseries. We hope you enjoy the first installment!

After sitting on the 1-83 for an extra twenty minutes, Amelia arrives to work in a tizzy. She chucks her lunch in the fridge, evades small talk, powers up her email, and is greeted with an outlook reminder "BLOG POST TODAY!"

Amelia: Blergh. I really need to work on my Generations article. But the web wizards will kill me if I don't get this done, so I guess I'm blogging. What should I write about though?

Amelia picks up the phone and calls her buddy Sven. He always has good ideas, being from Svedan and all.

Amelia: Yo, Sven.

Sven: Jah?

Amelia: I have to write this stupid blog post today and I'm drawing a total blank. Ideas?

Sven: Well, I wrote one last week about an article I read on mythical Svedish unicorns. But that makes sense because my job is cryptozoologist at the Karlstad Zoo. Since you're an archivist, why don't you write about something in your collection?

Amelia: Genius! I just finished processing a manuscript collection. Thanks, Sven. This was totally worth the long distance call to Svedan. Next time you're in town we can hit the Ikea meatball counter. My treat.

Now that Amelia has an idea, she needs to do some information gathering. First, she pulls up a finding aid.

Amelia: This biographical data is pretty well written (go me!). It'll make a great base for my blog post.

Amelia scans the finding aid and picks out a couple of interesting documents to use as examples of the collection. Next she checks if there are any objects or photographs included.

Yay! Amelia has found one related object and three great photographs.

Amelia: Perfect! I'll use the bio paragraph and then write a few sentences about the object and photos. I better go take a picture of the object.

Amelia photographs the object in question and scans the photos. She writes out her blog post, checks it for errors, and places everything in the appropriate folder (after naming it, of course).


Boo! Amelia has not been able to find any related objects. She decides to look on the interwebs for related material.

Amelia: Oh! Here's a great picture on the Pratt website. As long as I credit the image and link back to it, this will be perfect for my blog post.

Amelia writes her blog post, checks it for errors, and places everything in the appropriate folder (after naming it, of course).

Be sure to check back next Friday for the second installment of our miniseries.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Secret Lives of Interns: Field Trip to the Baltimore City Archives

Last Field Trip of the Summer: The Baltimore City Archives

A Blog Post by Kristin Davidson

Last Friday August 20th we had our last field trip of the summer to the Baltimore City Archives at its new home on Matthews Street. At this point many interns had completed their 10 week internship, so our group of interns had dwindled down to me, Melina, and Brittney. Rachel Kassman and Jennifer Vess accompanied us, and Intern Sara came back for the occasion.

“I wanted to go! This semester marks the beginning of my research for my Master's Thesis, on a topic directly related to Baltimore City's history. This was a great opportunity for me to have an introduction to the archives where I will be doing some of that research.”

We were told to recognize the building by the “Southern Steel Shelving Company” sign. When we arrived at the Baltimore City Archives, we were welcomed by Dr. Papenfuse, the Maryland State Archivist and the staff at the BCA.

Dr. Edward Papenfuse, archivist of the State of Maryland!

Dr. Papenfuse told us the history of how the BCA came to be house in this warehouse. It was a long story beginning with the Works Progress Administration, Historical Records Survey in the 1930s, which hired people to survey and catalog records of America’s history, and ending with the archives removal to its current location after being housed in less than optimal conditions.

Or as Brittney stated, “The BCA almost disappeared altogether, but with the help of Dr. Papenfuse and other dedicated individuals, the important records of Baltimore City have been saved and are in the process of finding a home and in the early stages of being made available for public research.

We also got to take a tour of their scanning room which has five super special scanners for scanning all shapes and sizes of materials!

Look at all those scanners! Positively drool-worthy.

Then Dr. Papenfuse took us back into the WAREHOUSE…

Entrance to the storage area.


That's us, aaaaallll the way down there in the middle!

Dr. Papenfuse talks to us about the issues involved in storing
collections as massive as the Baltimore City and Maryland State Archives.

And Rachel Kassman found some interesting photo opportunities.

An interesting perspective - fly on the wall...or maybe box on a shelf?

Overall it was a great last field trip for the few of us interns left. We learned a lot about the history of the city and its archives. But Sara’s favorite part was watching the archivists: “Even more amusing was seeing the way our two archivists on the trip, Rachel and Jenn, got excited over the scanning machines. If you ever want to excite an archivist, just talk about organization methods and document scanning!”

Jenn speaking excitedly about scanning and digitization!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time 4.23.10

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 4/23/10

PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.1196

Status: Unidentified. Men and women in a hot tub. Jewish Community Center (JCC) Collection.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Secret Lives of Interns: Superkids!

A blog post by Lindsay Waskow.

Due to the fact that the SuperKids camp focuses very much on enriching the reading skills of the many Baltimore City Public School students involved, we have come up with activities that help them practice this skill. By creating scavenger hunts and activity books that relate to the synagogues and exhibits here, we are not only encouraging them to read, but are also helping them learn about new aspects of Judaism, while making sure that they are having fun at the same time.

This year the SuperKids camp began coming to the museum on Tuesday June 29th, and have continued to come with a new group of kids every Tuesday. It is a six week program, and will therefore end on this coming Tuesday, August 3rd. Since there is a new group of children every Tuesday, the activities we have created remain the same from week to week. Every week there are new counselors that come with the children and assist in leading them through the different activities. There are also three general counselors, Bridgette, Eric, and Matt, that come every week to help supervise the children’s visit and assist in helping the kids through the activities in any way they can.

Throughout the hour and a half to two hours that they are here, the children are broken into two or three groups, depending on the number of children that are there are that week, and rotate through three different activities. One of the activities includes a trip to Lloyd Street synagogue, where the children are introduced to what a synagogue is and learn briefly about the history of this particular synagogue. In order to help them understand the different parts of the synagogue, Julia and I created a “Lloyd Street Scavenger Hunt”. On this worksheet, we guide the children and help them find different objects in the synagogue such as the Ark, a specific pattern on the wall, a Menorah, the Eternal Light, a Star of David, the columns, and the stained glass windows.

While some of the directions only aid the children to find the specific object, there are also questions that ask them to count how many of a certain object they can find. In addition to the different questions we ask, we also provide them with a black and white picture of the object to further assist them in finding them. Although I have never supervised the Lloyd Street synagogue activity, I have heard from Lois and Elena, who have taken turns supervising it, that it continues to be a success as it not only helps the children learn about the different parts of the synagogue, but also encourages much discussion among them. This is particularly true with our new idea to laminate the scavenger hunt, which eliminates the need for the children to write their answers down with pencil, and instead promotes more conversation and discussion.

A second activity in which the Superkids participate is a scavenger hunt of the “Voices of Lombard Street” exhibit. Julia and I usually lead at least one of the broken up groups through the exhibition with the help of a scavenger hunt. Before the group enters the exhibit, we usually give them an introduction and let them know the kinds of things they are going to see as well as hear. We also ask them and make sure they know what the terms “immigrant” and “synagogue” mean, as these words are important in understanding the exhibit.

After this introduction, we then ask the children to find a partner, and each pair gets a clipboard with a scavenger hunt attached to it as well as a pencil. Each pair usually goes around the exhibit with a counselor to help them, or if there are not enough counselors, then sometimes we have a counselor take two or more pairs through the exhibit. Either way, the counselor makes sure the two children take turns reading and writing down the answers to the questions. Since the children who come are usually going into 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade, the questions are fairly simple, but do allow the children to practice their reading skills. While some of the scavenger hunt asks direct questions that the children can answer by reading the panels in the exhibit, some questions allow the children to be more creative. For example, when they enter the house, the children are asked to play with the cooking utensils on the table and then have to write down what they pretended to make. They also get to draw their own interpretation of the gefilte fish in the bathtub after seeing the bathtub and reading the panels above it that have to do with this story.

One of the other aspects that the SuperKids like in the exhibit is going into Attman’s, playing with the pretend food, and then writing down what they pretended to order. In my opinion, the scavenger hunt seems to be the perfect length for these children and does a good job at highlighting what life was like one hundred years ago on Lombard Street.

The final activity that the SuperKids partake in is “The Golden Land” station. Julia and I usually lead this section for all of the groups and in my opinion, it seems to be the most fun of the stations for the children. After asking them about their visit to the “Voices of Lombard Street” exhibition and reviewing the terms “immigrant” and “synagogue”, we introduce the station and tell them that they will have a chance to act out what they saw in the exhibit. Julia and I then break the group into three smaller groups to go to three separate activities within the room.

Making a pretend "Shabbat dinner."

Before letting them go to their first station, we explain all of the stations in general. We usually talk about the pretend food on the back table first and explain what a Shabbat dinner is to them and encourage them to make their own. We then address the box of clothes, shoes, and vests on the floor and invite the children to dress up like people dressed one hundred years ago. Finally, we explain to the children that they will all be getting an activity book about “The Golden Land” that they will be able to color.

Dressing up!

We then send them to their first stations, and after about ten minutes send them to their next stations, and ten minutes later send them to their final stations. Throughout these three rotations, Julia and I usually supervise the coloring activity and make sure the children write both their first and last names on the front page, while the other counselors split up and monitor the other two activities. I like watching the children color and find it interesting to see what color marker they decide to color in each object. (For example, I’ve seen some children color in the faces of the people blue and color their skin green.) When time is up, and the children have completed both the scavenger hunts of Lloyd Street Synagogue and “Voices of Lombard Street” as well as the three activities in “The Golden Land”, they all go outside with their counselors to the courtyard to eat snack while they wait for the bus. Julia and I usually take some snack for ourselves as well, which the counselors do not mind at all!

Coloring in Golden Land.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Love the Archives

This one time, long long ago (in Canada), the Discovery Channel released a commercial that went viral.


Then, XKCD (the awesome site of awesome) made this comic:

In their honor (because the internet loves XKCD) this video was made:

Later, the archives webcomic, Derangement and Description, written by Rebecca Goldman, made this comic about how she loves the archives:

The JMM, inspired by the whole process (and the love of archives), could only do one thing: make an awesome video.

I Love the Archives from Jewish Museum of Maryland on Vimeo.

Based on the comic by Derangement and Description (based on the concept by the Discovery Channel), the Jewish Museum of Maryland's staff and interns (from archives, collections, and education) bring you this short video. An ode to the archives, if you will.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time 4.16.10

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 4/16/10

PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.1181

Status: Identified. Junior High Basketball Champions 1972 Purim Bowl. Back Row L-R: Gary Sorin, Theodore (Teddy) Sapperstein, Michael Abrams, Alan Summerfield, Steven Hurwitz or Jay Rombro, Coach Eddie Malin Front Row L-R: Alex Malin, Sandy Hiken, Neil Frater, David Malin

Special thanks to: Doris and Eddie Malin, Alan Summerfield, Gil Weisman, Joan (Bers) Cantor, Jodi (Malin) Stappler, Richard Kuntz

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Teachers Institute

The first week of August the JMM, in conjunction with the Baltimore Jewish Council, presented its 6th annual Summer Teachers Institute. The goal of the STI is to help teachers, through intensive lectures, programs, and discussion, how to teach the difficult subjects that surround the Holocaust.

Teachers listen to Dr. Marshall Stevenson at the RFLM

This year (my first year at the JMM) a fourth day was added to the program. The first day we began (after breakfast, of course) with a lecture about camps and ghettos from Dr. Joseph White of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. White spoke about the large number of camps and ghettos that were created during the Shoah in Europe, and their conditions. Dr. White was followed by Louise Geczy who spoke about the children in the ghetto of Terezin, particularly about the artwork that they created. Terezin was considered a “propaganda” camp that functioned to show the Red Cross that living conditions in Nazi ghettos were humane.

A teacher uses resource materials at RFLM

After a lunch at Lenny’s Deli, we headed over to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. There we treated to a lecture by Dr. Marshall Stevenson about the past and future of Black-Jewish relations. Afterwards we were given a moment to walk through the temporary exhibit Beyond the Swastika, an exhibition that is co-sponsored by the JMM.

The Vienna Emigration Chart, courtesy of USHMM

On the second day we headed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). After a few hours to explore the galleries on their own, we heard from Dr. Ann Millin of USHMM, who took us through the steps museum professionals take in researching and identifying an object. The “Vienna Emigration Chart” shows statistics about Jews in Austria along with the official process for Jewish emigration. The chart shows how difficult (and expensive) it was for Jews to try and leave Austria. Dr. Millin took us through the process of identifying the different components of the chart, names, dates, facts.
Teachers discussing life after the Shoah

On the third day we discussed spiritual resistance of the Holocaust. Our first presenter, Myra Perel, showed art that was created during the Shoah at camps like Terezin, and by survivors after the Holocaust. Myra’s presentation was followed by a presentation of photographs of Baltimore area survivors taken by photographer Lisa Shifren. We jumped right into a presentation by Erika Schon, the director of the Baltimore Hebrew Institute. Her presentation about the music of the Shoah had teachers singing and interacting.

Mr. Rubin Szatjer, telling his Holocaust survival story

After a hearty lunch we discussed Literature of the Shoah with Patricia Marlatt, followed by a survivor testimony by Rubin Sztajer. Mr. Szatjer spoke of his experiences first with his family in a ghetto, the work camp Markstadt, and later Bergen Belson. A powerful speaker with an emotional story, Mr. Sztajer had the room in complete silence.

Teachers reflect on the week long institute

On the final day we began with a liberator’s testimony by Mr. Sol Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein spoke about his experience as a solider in the U.S. Army, and how his troop liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp. Mr. Goldstein was followed by Dr. Russell Spinney from UMBC and Dr. Valerie Thaler, who spoke about life after the Shoah for survivors, including displaced persons camps and how they transitioned (over the course of many years) back into society. Our final presentation for the week was Dr. Arthur Abramson, the Executive Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. Dr. Abramson spoke about the State of Israel and the history of the state. Dr. Hanna Bor of the Baltimore Hebrew Institute lead a reflections session with the teachers and after a long, intense week, we said goodbye.

Summer Teachers Institute from Jewish Museum of Maryland on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time 4.9.10

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or

Date(s) run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 4/9/10

PastPerfect Accession #: 2006.013.1160

Status: Unidentified. Six young adults performing a kick-line dance enjoying Purim festivities, wearing or holding hats with a three-stripe ribbon around top circumference. On the front a circular logo is sticking up, but held in place by the ribbon. Circular logo has a Star of David make with a heart and surrounded by the words: "Israel, We Need You!" Second from left is Danny Kaye. Purim '75.

Special thanks to: Lynn Baklor

Monday, August 16, 2010

Secret Lives of Interns: A Visit to the new Suburban House

A blog post by Rachel Ellis.

My fondest memory of the old Suburban House is how they used to make me a matzo ball soup without the broth. A single matzo ball in a bowl, because I was 10 years old and vegetarian, and wanted to avoid the chicken broth.

Always a backdrop in Jewish Baltimore, S&H was the place to see and be seen, the place for Jewish food and social life. My grandmother admits to going about once a week—surprisingly infrequent compared to some patrons.

After a fire on July 8, 2009, Suburban House closed, and we all wondered when they would ever reopen.

Now, about one year later, the Pikesville staple has opened their doors for business. The restaurant occupies a new location: 1700 Reisterstown Road in Pomona Square, where Fuddruckers formerly stood.

Entrance to Fuddruckers

Fuddruckers leaves an amusing footprint on the doorway

They have not had their official grand opening, but are currently in a “soft opening” with reduced hours (7 am – 6 pm most days).

Last Thursday, I went with my brother and grandmother to check it out.


Intern and grandmother enthusiastically await lunch

We waited half an hour to be seated, and even longer for our food to arrive. Clearly, this is a new place, still working out the glitches. And yes, the rumors are true: a soda costs $2.59.

Some things are the same. Beloved waitress Mitzu was flying around from table to table, hugging customers who had missed her in the past year. And of course my grandmother ran into a billion people she knew. Not to mention the desserts remain old favorites.

Despite being there for over two hours and encountering some mistakes with our orders, we enjoyed Suburban House. We’re glad its back.

Still delicious, courtesy of suburbanhousedeli.com

However, this experience left me with some questions: will this new S&H maintain its position as the go-to Pikesville deli? How will it fare in its new location? Can a new space, menu, and atmosphere still be a classic? What happens when a tradition changes?