Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington Launches Its Online Archives!

Archivist Wendy Turman speaks about the launch of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington's online archives / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

So how’d you spend your lunch hour yesterday? :P Me, I jetted down to the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum to hear archivist Wendy Turman talk about the launch of a digital project years in the making.

The pews were packed with board members, museum and cultural professionals, and other enthusiasts that staff of JHSGW documented on their own blog here. They provided drinks and cookies as a respite from the seriously blinding heat outside—over 100 degrees in Washington!

Turman displayed slides that showed the various ways that one could find their materials online—everything from a random search that will pull up a page of various artifacts, to highly specific field searches based on object name, collection, subject, donor and more. Each scanned and catalogued image of this growing collection comes with tons of descriptive data entered in by the tireless staff.

JHSGW live-tweeted the event and shared info on all of the specific artifacts we saw on the slides, including pictures from Giant Food, founded in DC by Nehemiah Cohen and Samuel Lehrman in 1936,to 1950s camp bracelets and political pins from the 1980s/90s vigils for Soviet Jewry, and much, much more! It’s all there in the digital collection!

As someone who worked on archiving projects at the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum and Moment Magazine these past several years, I sat in fascinated, nerdy awe during this hour-long presentation. I’m starting a graduate program in Library Science at UMD this fall, and I can’t wait to learn more about how this is all put together!

The event concluded with a special lunch to honor the collections committee and chair, Janice Goldblum, for her 20 years of service.

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