Council of American Jewish Museums
          E-News | June 2014   
In This Issue
Intriguing Conference Theme
A Merger for OJM
Cheers for JHSGW Director
Developments in OK and NY
Registrar to Rosenbach
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.



The 2015 CAJM Conference, Open Source: Jewish Museums and Collaborative Culture, will convene in San Francisco, March 8-10, 2015. Taking our inspiration from the Bay Area's leadership in technology, we have planned a program that focuses on the process of open collaboration, in which a variety of contributors (each with its particular agendas and needs) work in parallel to develop a new service or product. "Open Source" thus becomes a metaphor for our field, responsive both to our local communities and global trends. The conference will explore how, in a hyper-connected world, audience expectations for maximum participation and shared authority impact our exhibitions, programs, collections, fund-raising, marketing, personnel skills, and strategies. An array of pace-setting thinkers and practitioners will discuss new models of participatory programming, civic engagement, and strategic collaboration, punctuated by presentations from artists, writers, and performers. Find out more.



On July 1, 2014, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, organizations that have existed in Portland since the 1980s, will merge to become the unified Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. As part of its mission, the organization will interpret the Oregon Jewish experience, explore the lessons of the Holocaust,  and foster intercultural conversations. A valuable oral history collection, as well as Holocaust-related program previously sponsored by the Center, will now come under the auspices of the expanded museum. The OJM also becomes steward of the Oregon Holocaust Memorial in Portland's Washington Park (right, the Memorial includes poignant scattered bronzes of everyday personal objects). Executive Director Judy Margles, a former CAJM Chair and current AAM Board Member, explains, "We all feel the painful and immediate reality that we approach the time when Holocaust survivors and other eyewitnesses will no longer be among us. This merger further emphasizes our distinctive role as a public repository of memory."



Next month, Laura Cohen Apelbaum will be celebrated at an event marking her 20th anniversary as Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Poet Davi Walders and Jewish historian Dr. Jenna Weissman Joselit will be speakers at the special program and luncheon, scheduled for July 24th.
Apelbaum, a former CAJM Chair, worked as an attorney in local and federal government before joining the JHSGW and its Lillian and Albert Small Museum in 1994. Since then, she has worked to preserve the 1876 Adas Israel synagogue (and other local Jewish landmarks, like the mural pictured to right), expand programs and outreach, build the community's archives, and plan for the museum's new location, as detailed in previous issues. A Professional Development Fund will be established in Laura's name. We congratulate our colleague on her superb work and many accomplishments. 



One of our member institutions opened a brand new space this month, and another has expansion plans in the works. On New York's Lower East Side, the Museum at Eldridge Street launched a new visitor center that has transformed 5,000 square feet of space on the museum's lower level.
Photo by Ben Kracauer
The space features a new permanent exhibition (left) that integrates integrates Judaica, Yiddish signs, other artifacts, and interactive media displays to tell the story of the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue and the immigrant community from which it emerged. Across the
country, The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, OK recently broke ground for a new entrance-way and two new galleries, one devoted to education. (Above right, symbolic groundbreaking on a rainy day in May.)



Congratulations to Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager at the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore for the past 15 years. She will soon be taking on new challenges as Registrar at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia. Said Rosenbach Curator and Director of Collections Judith Guston, "Having a registrar as experienced as Jobi will be a great asset for the Rosenbach, but will also be beneficial to our new collaboration with the Free Library of Philadelphia. We are re-thinking all aspects of our work together in special collections and programs, and we know that Jobi will bring ideas and energy to that process."



CAJM offers resources for learning all year round on our website and at our annual conference, models professional standards, offers opportunities for information exchange, and works on behalf of Jewish museums and museums with Jewish content. One is the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, which preserves and presents the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrates the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture. Currently on exhibition there: Jews Who Rock, which explores the 60-year history of Jews in Rock and Roll, from Tin Pan Alley to CBGB.


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