Thursday, August 26, 2010

Holiday Season at the Museum

While there is a lot to celebrate this fall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage including new exhibitions, family programs, parties, performances, and baseball season, we’d like you to be aware of our holiday hours before you plan your trip to see us. The Museum will close at 3 p.m. on September 8, 17, 22, and 29 and will be closed on September 9, 10, 23, 24, and 30, and October 1. We suggest you visit early and often, especially if you’d like to shop at the Pickman Museum Shop for something special for the holidays.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Now in 3-D

This post is from our web and technology-savvy colleague Allison.

The Museum’s Online Collection just got a bit more interesting with the inclusion of 3D artifacts and page flipping books. Museum staff chose some of our most visually interesting and powerful artifacts to display as 3D objects. Now you can spin and zoom into this double-decker Hanukkah menorah used by two families during World War I or flip through a chilling children’s book designed to teach anti-Semitism. Discover these and other 3D artifacts and books here. Other improvements to the website include the ability to see if an artifact is on display in the museum, better searching capability, and the option to share interesting artifacts on Facebook, Twitter, or on another social media platform.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Something Old to Look Like New

We’re very happy to announce that the Museum was just chosen for a 2010 Conservation Treatment Grant Award that will go toward conservation of wedding contracts (ketubbot). The treatment is to be done by paper conservator Caroline Rieger at Rieger Art Conservation. A ketubbah can be a simple paper or very elaborate hand-painted work, but they are always precious in the eyes of their owners and to our Museum which celebrates Jewish culture and continuity.

*image: just one of the many ketubbot in our collection. Learn more about this and other items in the collection.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bidding a Fond Farewell

Today is the last day to see Egon Schiele’s “Portrait of Wally,” here at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. After tonight at 8 p.m., the famous painting will be sent to Vienna where it will reside at the Leopold Museum. If you are curious about Wally’s background, there will be a fascinating panel discussion tonight featuring some art restitution experts who will trace the painting’s past and put it into historical context.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Community Service Project

This blog is from Devina, our intern this week.

Every summer, the HSAPS organize and take part in a community service project. This year we met with Holocaust survivors from a group called Self Help for a day of tours, games, and companionship. As we walked through the Museum, my partner for the afternoon told me her story and how she believes that she is the youngest survivor of Auschwitz. I was in shock that she wanted to explore the 2nd floor (which deals with The War against the Jews) of the Museum after I gave an overview of all floors. She doesn’t have any children because she was afraid that they would face the same kind of anti-Semitism that she did . There’s no one to continue speaking about her after she passes, but I told her I would carry on her story and tell those who are willing to listen.

The community service project was a great way for us to interact with and get to know survivors. Throughout the internship, we have heard a survivor speak every week, and there have been so many different views and stories of this horrible time. The project showed me personally that although survivors have been through so much hardship, they can still have a positive outlook . They enjoyed playing Pictionary with us, they were really engaging, and they also shared funny stories. I want to thank the Community Service committee (Rebecca, Javier, Jairo, Freddy, and Mayra) for allowing me and my fellow HSAPs to be a part of their project.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome to A Taste of Our Heritage

This blog is from our HSAP of the week, Laila. In addition to being a big help to the Communications department this week, we very much enjoyed her cooking, too.

This year the High School Apprentices chose to share their heritage in a language that everyone speaks--food!

The 15 HSAPS come from all different countries around the world including China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jamaica, Colombia, Ecuador, and many more. But, since we’re all so busy, we don’t get to learn much about each other.. So, every year the HSAPs plan an event that celebrates heritage. This year, we all brought food that we feel represents our background. We also brought in an artifact and music to complement our food offering. Each HSAP’s display included their traditional dish, the artifact, and the flag of their country, or in my case… flags. I am of Dominican and Egyptian descent. To illustrate both of my cultures I brought in an Egyptian artifact and Dominican food. I brought in a miniature Sphinx because as soon as someone sees a sphinx or a pyramid, they automatically think of Egypt. I also brought mashed plantains with fried cheese to share. This food definitely represents my Dominican heritage because when I go to the Dominican Republic, this is all I eat for breakfast and sometimes dinner. Also, I have tons of plantains growing in the back of my house in Dominican Republic. I was worried that no one would like it but it turned out to be a hit.

I think “A Taste of Our Heritage” took us out of our comfort zones, in a good way. Sampling all of the different foods helped us learn a lot about each other, which was our ultimate goal. Unfortunately, this event leaves us on a bittersweet note since the summer is close to an end, and we will soon have to part from each other. But, as a happy reminder of our global feast, we collected the recipes and created our own cookbook to keep.

Kudos to the heritage event committee: Oseia, Devina, Siddiqa, Haja, and Ollie and our program leaders Jamie and Bonnie.

Photo of the HSAPS. Laila is in front in the red dress.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

September-October Programs Announced

We just announced our September and October public programs, and it is sure to be a thought-provoking New Year at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Whether you enjoy baseball, science, fashion, mah jongg, or kids programming, there is something for every interest. Check out the schedule and purchase your tickets early as many programs sell out in advance.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Who Is That Gorgeous Redhead?

Wally’s arrival last week was very exciting, to be sure. Highlights include seeing the portrait for the first time as it was handed over from Immigration Customs Enforcement to the Leopold Foundation, admiring the delicacy of the brushstrokes, and watching it be hung with the greatest of care on our third floor. We even managed to get a non-flash photo with three of our four staff redheads next to it.

Following the dramatic ceremony held here last Thursday there was a long line to see the painting; it extended far into The Morgenthaus: A Legacy of Service. The week’s activities were chronicled by a documentary film crew that has been working on the film for at least three years. In fact they came here to film in 2008, long before we knew Wally would be visiting.

Members of the staff who attended the ceremony last week told me they felt like they were a part of history, but my favorite line was this: “I went home and told my mom how that moment was going to stay with me.” It was definitely a day that reminded us why we do the work we do.

There has been a lot of press generated by the ceremony, and I invite you to Google, Bing, or Yahoo “Portrait of Wally” to read it. I warn you, however, that if you do an image search of Portrait of Wally on you will be shown an image of Wally from Scott Adams’ cartoon Dilbert, and that just made me laugh out loud. It also made me appreciate that the world is full of interesting connections, including those I would not necessarily make myself.

Photo of speakers from the ceremony held last week. From left: Robert Morgenthau, Andre Bondi, Howard Spiegler, Ray Kelly, Jim Hayes, Preet Bharara, David Marwell. Photo by Melanie Einzig.