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9 cheers for 9 years

dsc0801-version-2Jewish Museum Milwaukee has accomplished a lot in our first nine years—join us in celebrating NINE things that we want to cheer about. Which is your favorite?

1. Stitching History From the Holocaust

This award-winning exhibit has been in five venues, and been seen by tens of thousands of visitors; it earned international media coverage and spun off projects as diverse as a one-act play and designs inspired by Hedy.

2. Over 16,000 student visitors

JMM has worked with students from throughout the state and beyond (as far away as Israel, Germany, China, and Malawi!). With each group tour, we have the opportunity to help young visitors better understand Jewish history and peoplehood. One 8th grade student said, dsc0801-version-2This experience is going to affect me in life, because whenever I see something that’s wrong or I see an individual infecting people’s minds, I will speak out against it and not let it go any further. The lesson I’ll take with me is to not let people control me or anyone.” Multiply this times 16,000 and you can understand the importance of the work we do!

3. Three-time winner of the Governor’s Archives Award

The backbone of the museum is our archives, which has been collecting materials since 1986. JMM’s Archives and volunteers have been recognized three times with the prestigious Governor’s Award for Archival Excellence for documenting local cemeteries done by Penny Deshur, the availability of archival resources on the website, and for Stitching History From the Holocaust exhibit.

4. Published two book – third in processdsc0801-version-2

With the publication of John Gurda’s book in 2009, One People, Many Paths: A History of Jewish Milwaukee, JMM jumped into the world of publishing. This was the first comprehensive history of Milwaukee’s Jewish community that was published since 1963. JMM also published a catalog to correspond with Stitching History From the Holocaust and is in the process of creating a catalogue for the upcoming Adolph Rosenblatt exhibit.

5. Significant Media Coverage

We make NEWS, real news with our eclectic collections and special exhibits. Of course Stitching History generated some interesting national coverage, including features in the New York Times and PBS Newshour. But we have also been highlighted in national Jewish media like Tablet and The Forward. We truly appreciate our local coverage through MPTV ArtsPage, WUWM Lake Effect, the Shepherd Express, and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, all of which drives visitors to our museum and increases our exposure throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

6. More than 300 programsdsc0801-version-2

In 9 years, we have hosted over 300 programs! They run the gamut from the first ever Milwaukee Mah Jongg Tournament to Lost Music from the Holocaust with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, from Bud Selig sharing his baseball history to Bob Reitman talking about Bob Dylan. We have featured academics, artists, and filmmakers. People have shared hidden history, expertise, and personal memories. Thousands of people have come to these events and have left with new information, insight and understanding. This is the cornerstone of our tagline—“Where Conversations Happen”

7. Digitized 15,000 historic images collected from Milwaukee families

With more than three decades of collecting under our belt, JMM has a lot of IMAGES in our collection—15,000 of them to be somewhat exact. Last summer, we embarked on a largescale project to make these pieces more accessible, which started by scanning them all. We now have a number of interns and volunteers working to tag these pieces, with the hopes of getting them up on the internet. Let us know if you are interested in helping with this project.

8. Oral Histories collecteddsc0801-version-2

We have been collecting oral history testimonies for over thirty years. To date, we have over 500 videos that document the evolution of Milwaukee’s Jewish community and continue its traditions. Here are some of the notable names that we have collected: Alfred Bader, Betsy Green, Bob Habush, Sheldon Lubar, Steve Marcus, Esther Leah Ritz, Marty Stein, and Elmer Winter.

9. 20 Special Exhibits

What other museum has highlighted everything from Chagall’s Bible prints to Jews Who Rock, from common knowledge like baseball to undiscovered history like that of Mildred Fish Harnack, the only American executed on direct orders of Adolf Hitler. Each exhibit has allowed our staff and volunteers to develop themes and ideas that strengthen the understanding of Jewish life and the human spirit. Learn more about all of past exhibits here. We certainly will not be resting on our laurels in this arena. Under the leadership of our exhibit committee, JMM recently formalized its calendar for the next two years. Here is your early (cryptic) preview: Adolph Rosenblatt, Shabbat, Civil Rights, Stitching History, Blacklist, Vedem.