June 1, 2011
Today was the first day of my internship at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. It was orientation for the new interns. But before I could get started the JMM, I had to go see a man about a parking permit. I went and got another contract with the address on it and a letter from my landlord saying that I do indeed live there and I am not a crazy woman trying to take random parking spots. I then headed down town. I got there and there was only one person before me! Good sign number one! When I got up to the counter I was very nice and explained what I needed. The lady was super nice, so much better than the grumpy pants I had yesterday. Once I had my permit in my hand (its now on my car window!!), I headed out for my museum. I was a little early, but anyone who knows me knows that I have to be early for everything, so it was ok!
Once in the boardroom we made nametags and picked a pencil from the colorful pencil jar. I chose the breast cancer one because I love pink and Nancy and Oma both beat it. I also figured they would ask why we picked the pencil so I wanted a good story. Avi the director of the museum talked to the interns before we got started. He seems very nice and he was interested in all the new interns. After Avi’s talk, Jobi who is in charge of collections and the interns went over the standard rules, regulations, and expectations. The staff and interns then went around and introduced themselves. It seems like the museum has a good group of people to work with. The assistant director then told us about the boardroom in which we sat. It had apparently been a boardroom/ office in an old Jewish ice cream factory. The owner did sold the paneling to the museum to renovate the room. The former room had once held the ice cream owners porn collection (which he sold to China). This was pretty funny, but made even funnier when we saw in the exhibit that the street that the board room is on was at one time the Red Light District of the Lower east side of Baltimore.
After the meet and greet the interns went down stairs to see the archives, photo collection, and the collections storage. Once down in the collections we were able to walk around and look at the objects in collection. There was so much cool stuff! I wanted to pick up everything, but then I would have broken the first rule of orientation. Look with your eyes and only touch with gloves on. After looking around we had our first workshop: how to pick up an object. It was a good lesson on how to handle the boxes, getting things out of boxes, touching objects, and putting them back in the boxes and back on the shelves. Then it was time for lunch. Today I brought my lunch, but there is a good Jewish deli right down the street. So I may try that on Friday. After lunch, we went on a tour of the two synagogues, which are Lloyd Street Synagogue and B’nai Israel Synagogue. These are both kept by the museum and the B’nai Israel Synagogue is still in use today. They are beautiful. At the bottom of the Lloyd Street Synagogue is an exhibit called The Synagogue Speaks. It is about the transformations that the synagogue has gone through since it was built in 1845. It was first a synagogue, then a Lithuanian Catholic Church, and then it was restored to a synagogue. After touring the synagogues, we headed back to the museum (which is right next door) and were able to look at the two exhibit halls in the museum. Right now, the museums’ main exhibit is called Voices. It gives the story of the people who lived in the neighborhood from the beginning through the time people started to move out (the 60’s and 70’s, I think). It is a very nice exhibit. There are many things for kids and bigger kids to look at and touch. I really liked that the museum has family packs at the front desk for families to take around the exhibit with them. Inside is a scavenger hunt, a book, and plastic food to recreate Seder. It is something that I think families would really enjoy doing together. I mean I wanted to take the bag around and do all the stuff, but we did not have time ;(. The other exhibit is in a smaller gallery and is of a local artist. Loring Cornish is an African American man who takes everyday objects and turns them into these huge murals. There are some very cool pieces in this show. He took apart shoes and made a huge mural that spelled out Montgomery Bus Boycott. His art is about the black freedom movement and how it can be connected to the plight that the Jewish people have also faced over the years. After we looked around, it was time for pie and last minute comments and or questions. Jobi and Rachel (both staff) gave a talk about the synchronized swimming plays that a group puts on in Baltimore that they are both apart of. They want the interns to participate! I am thinking about doing it. It sounds fun but I am not sure I want complete strangers to see me in my bathing suit! So far, I think that this is going to be a great experience. I believe that the museum is going to really show me how to work in a museum.
When I got home this afternoon, I took a nap! At Converse, I became the queen of naps. It was so nice to take a nap in a cool room. I am not used to this sweating in my living room. I don’t know how people stand it with out air in all rooms! I guess I am just pampered. Tonight I made potato salad for lunch tomorrow. It turned out pretty good if I do not say so myself. Good golly it’s late! Well to write again tomorrow.
This is where they said the interns had to go to the bathroom....