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Museum Musings

8.18.17: Interns' Favorite Objects, Part 1

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By Lila Currie, NMAJH Summer Intern

This summer, college and graduate students from across the country came to the Museum to gain valuable experience in a variety of departments. It’s safe to say each intern left their impression on the Museum in some way, and certain Museum objects left an impression on our interns! Below is Part 1 of the interns’ favorite objects, along with how and why they were moved by them…
Cleveland poster

Gabriel Weinstein, Intern for the Executive/CEO:

I am drawn to the “Many Peoples, One Language” poster on the third floor. I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and always enjoy learning about Cleveland history. A few of the schools listed on this poster still exist today. I grew up driving through the neighborhoods where several of these schools were located. Many of my grandparents’ friends lived near these schools and a few even attended some of the listed high schools. The poster is a reminder of how Cleveland has both changed and not changed over the past century.

Delaney Kerkhof, Academic Liaison/Special Projects Intern:

 My favorite object in the museum is Estée Lauder’s executive planner from 1974. It is currently flipped open to a week that includes important business meetings along with reminders to buy chicken for Seder. I still swear by owning a physical planner, so it was entertaining and inspiring to see Estée Lauder’s and witness how she was able to balance her personal and professional life in a time when women were emerging as business leaders.

Jessica Jaskot, Academic Liaison/Administrative Intern:

Freedom Riders binderMy favorite object in the Museum is the binder that contains the photos and names of the Jewish Freedom Riders on the 2nd floor. As a History teacher, I have taught students about the Freedom Riders in 1961 who challenged the Supreme Court decision Boynton v. Virginia, which segregated interstate transportation facilities. Having taught this topic, I thought I knew a lot about these civil rights activists. I was amazed to learn that there were Jewish participants in the Freedom Rides! This object exposed me to a new perspective on history that I thought I knew well. It is a testament to the Museum and its ability to provide an engaging lens on American History.

Stephanie Vettese, Applebaum Family Intern for Curatorial Department:

My favorite object in the Museum is Albert Einstein’s pipe, which can be found on the 1st floor in the Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame. I think it’s amazing that the Museum has something of such personal value that belonged to a well-known individual such as Einstein himself. According to some Museum staff, when they received the pipe, they could still smell the scent of tobacco emanating from it! These funny stories and interesting facts about various objects within the Museum make me truly believe that history is still alive.

Wedding dressCarly Hossler, Marketing/Communications Intern:

My favorite object is the wedding dress made out of a parachute used during the Second World War, located on the Museum’s 3rd floor. I think it shows a not-so-dark side of World War Two. When you hear about World War Two, it’s mostly about the horrible things that happened. Seeing something that came from a horrible place turned into something beautiful is really meaningful.

Francesca Reznik, Curatorial Intern:
I liked the wedding dress made out of the parachute because I thought it was a really touching story and the quote that was included with the dress. The woman who wore the dress basically that if the parachute hadn’t saved his life, then they couldn’t have met and got married and it was just such a great sentiment.

Jamie Frederick, Curatorial Collections Intern:

My favorite object lately has been the dress made of the parachute from the Second World War, it’s got a pretty incredible story…

Lea Eisenstein, Curatorial Intern:

My favorite object is the ACT UP pin, which is the last artifact you see as you leave the 2nd floor gallery. I study the history of medicine and health as it relates to gender, and am particularly captivated by the history of the AIDS crisis. I find myself both intrigued and amazed by the LGBT community's capacity to rise up and "ACT UP" in the 1980s and 1990s to advocate for their own health in the face of government inactivity and public apathy. Although the AIDS epidemic affected (and continues to affect) LGBT folk of all religions and backgrounds, the pin is a reminder that the Jewish spirit of activism was in many ways central to queer activism and the formation of groups like the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (i.e. ACT UP) and others.

 Sewing machine
Jasmine Bennett, Facility Rentals Intern:

My favorite object in the Museum is the Singer sewing machine on the 3rd floor. As a fashion student, seeing the differences between what they used back then and what we use now gives me a better perspective on how fashion has changed over the years.

Interested in interning at the Museum? Visit for more information.

Please note that some of the objects in our permanent collection rotate on and off view for conservation purposes. Therefore, some of the objects mentioned in this story may not be on view when you visit the Museum. You can always contact Visitor Services at 215.923.3811 x160 to find our whether a specific object will be on view during the time of your planned visit.

Images, top to bottom:
1) Poster, Americanization Committee and Board of Education, Cleveland, 1917. National Museum of American Jewish History, 2006.1.1128
2) “Jewish Freedom Riders” binder
3) Wedding gown made from a nylon parachute, worn by Belle Rabinowitz at her wedding to Lt. George Weisfeld, Beth Sholom Synagogue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 29, 1945. National Museum of American Jewish History, 2006.1.1128
4) Sewing machine of Ruben Mazer ca. 1905, Peter H. Schweitzer Collection of Jewish Americana


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