Last week I had the pleasure of attending a museum education workshop put on by the American Association for State and Local History. The training session drew a wonderful and diverse group of participants from museums around the country, and it was facilitated by effective and enthusiastic teachers from the Creative Learning Factory. I left with some great ideas for future museum programs, and I highly recommend looking into their workshops!
As an added bonus, the workshop was held at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore. Having met members of their staff at past Council for American Jewish Museum conferences, I had looked forward to visiting the museum, which shares a campus with two historic synagogue buildings.
Alas, I was too busy making new friends and learning new skills to thoroughly document my trip, and I only took one photo. It’s from the Voices of Lombard Street exhibit, and something about this man with the chickens just yearned to be shared.
My favorite part of the tour was a wonderful exhibit called the The Synagogue Speaks in the basement of the Lloyd Street Synagogue. The building, built in 1845, is one of the oldest standing synagogues in the United States. In recent years, renovation and preservation projects have led to new discoveries about the history of the structure, which has housed three different congregations over the centuries, including one that happened to be Catholic. The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s exhibit displays fascinating artifacts, videos and interactive stations that explain the process of uncovering the history. Our visit to the recently excavated temple mikveh prompted interesting discussion among the majority non-Jewish group.
While Maryland is not part of our territory, the museum tells a story that shares a number of topics and themes with the Southern Jewish history that we work on ourselves: immigration and acculturation, economics and business, congregational transitions, regional food and culture, and so on. It is always a treat to see the great work being done at Jewish museums around the country!
Do you have a favorite Jewish museum?