Council of American Jewish Museums
         E-News | August 2011 
In This Issue
Next conference theme
Next steps for Wolf and Leavey
Independence for CAJM
Quick Survey
Honor to LA Holocaust Museum
CAJM is ...
Jewish art and history museums, historic sites, historical and archival societies, Holocaust centers, synagogue museums, Jewish Community Center galleries, children's museums, and university galleries ...  the professionals and volunteers who work in them ...  the children, adults, and families who visit them ...  the patrons who support them ...  the organization that keeps them vital.


Our next CAJM conference will take place in Detroit, a city central to twentieth-century America in both its ascendance and its spectacular demise.  As noted in national media such as The New York Times, however, Detroit is definitely making a comeback. The theme for the conference, Place and PurposeDetroit skyline: Jewish Museums and Community Renewal, will embrace this storied landscape, awash with industry, energy, culture, and conflict, and allow us to explore Jewish museums' shifting roles in American communities - from the metropolis to the exurb.  Conference Co-Chair Josh Perelman notes that "wherever they are situated, our museums must negotiate complex issues of race, class, economics, religious diversity, representation, and culture, and frame these issues in a Jewish context."  Detroit is an ideal location for discussions about place, purpose, and their impact on museum practices.  As previously reported here, we will also have a chance to visit many of Detroit's vibrant and diverse cultural institutions.  Save the date:  February 26-28, 2012.



ConnieWolf Wolf, who has led the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco since 1999, will become the John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University in January 2012.  Wolf successfully transformed the CJM from a small community-based organization in a modest space to a major museum in a landmark 63,000-square-foot building designed by Daniel Libeskind. Wolf oversaw an $85 million fundraising campaign, as well as hundreds of innovative exhibitions, education initiatives, and public programs at the CJM. This Stanford alumna can look forward to another significant architectural project:  the national firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro is designing a new building for the University arts center.  And on the opposite coast, Jane Leavey has announced that she will be stepping down from her position as Executive Director of The William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum in AtJane Leaveylanta.  Leavey has served the museum with dedicated leadership for 28 years, establishing it as a significant regional institution chronicling the history of the Jews of Georgia.  The Breman is also an important national resource, known for its substantive and popular exhibitions, many of which have traveled to peer institutions across the country.  Of particular note are Seeking Justice:  The Leo Frank Case Revisited; ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books,1938-1950; and Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures.  The museum, which also features a permanent Holocaust gallery and extensive historical archives, hosted a memorable CAJM conference in 2005.  Warm wishes to both colleagues on their new endeavors.



The Council of American Jewish Museums has met a long-held goal of obtaining its own non-profit tax-exempt status.  The 501(c)3 designation caps our transition from being, initially, a program of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture to becoming an independently administered, funded, and incorporated entity.  CAJM is extremely grateful to the Foundation for Jewish Culture for serving as its fiscal sponsor in recent years.  CAJM embarked on its path to independence with the ratification of its first strategic plan in 2004, the subsequent hiring of an Executive Director, and the opening of its own office.  Generous funders, dedicated board members, and a committed membership have made possible its evolution from a volunteer-run consortium to a professionally directed national organization. A new strategic plan was approved this year, and CAJM stands poised to expand its programs and services and to launch new initiatives, serving as a vital resource and enabling its member institutions to better fulfill their missions.



Many of you will have seen the recent New York Times article that looked at museums' use of websites and social media to promote audience engagement.  Among those profiled wSocial media logosas Shelley Bernstein, the Brooklyn MuseuSocial media peoplem social media maven who made so many of us at CAJM sit up and take notice about opportunities offered by new technologies and software for visitor-museum interactions ... online, as well as on site. The subtitle of this fascinating article is "The Spirit of Sharing," and in that spirit we encourage you to please complete our very short survey.  It will help reveal some of our shared challenges, as well as our best practices, as they pertain to Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and other vehicles for visitors to discover and engage with our institutions. 



The Media & Technology Committee of the American Association of Museums awarded this year's Gold Muse award in the audio tour category to the Spatial Audio Guide employed at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.  The system replaces all text labels in the museum with interpretive LA MOTH guide

audio information, including narrative descriptions of artifacts and soundtracks for all videos playing throughout the museum.  Created by Potion Design and 

Variate Labs, the guides can track user behavior, provide metrics, and make quick changes based on user-data.     In the words of one AAM judge, "this device encourages and enables visitors to have a private and contemplative experience worthy of the subject matter."  Kudos to the  museum for this award and for its use of the pace-setting technology.

CAJM Puts the Spotlight on YouLBI

CAJM offers resources for learning all year round on our website and at our annual conference; models professional standards; offers opportunities for informationexchange; and works on behalf of Jewish museums and museums with Jewish content, like the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History in New York (right).
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