My organization is the Sydney Jewish Museum, which focuses on the history of the Holocaust along with Sydney’s ties to the Jewish religion. They are educators, helping to teach their visitors about the rich culture and religion of Judaism through both permanent and feature exhibitions, memorials, collections, events, and even through local survivors. I was interested in working with the SJM because I myself am Jewish and it is an essential part of my identity, upbringing, and ancestry. I have taken a few Religious Studies courses and one on the post-rhetoric of the Holocaust which still may be the most interesting class I have taken to date. I enjoy studying the Holocaust and have been to many museums, monuments, and memorials in Germany, Israel, and Washington D.C., and I was curious to learn how Australia, and specifically Sydney, was impacted by this period of time. Moreover, I knew I wanted to work with this museum, because while we toured the institution during class, I thought the place was beautiful, the curators were incredibly intelligent, and I was emotionally moved by much of what I saw while I was there. I genuinely think it is an exciting place, and I am excited to work with them.
When I showed up to my meeting with Breann and the Head Curator Mrs. Roslyn Sugarman at the Sydney Jewish Museum, I was excited to see which avenue of Judaism and/or the Holocaust I would be pursuing for the remainder of the semester. When they informed me that they wanted me to create a campaign surrounding the museum’s internal sustainability, I was hesitant to say the least. After hearing them out though and doing some initial work of my own, I realized just how big of an impact I can have on this museum in the short time that I am able to work with them. Mrs. Sugarman was telling me about a conference she recently attended in which the two of the biggest trends in museums currently are ideas surrounding accessibility and environmental sustainability. She told me that museums are leaders in helping to set a precedent for change, as people view museums as moral and ethical institutions.
My plan is to write a proposal to the Board and to create a presentation to educate and pitch to them the changes that I would make. My goal is to show them the impact that they can make without reaching deep into his pockets, and to get him to sign off on the changes that I am proposing. Simply, I am acting as a consultant for the Sydney Jewish Museum. To tie this into the study of History, I am going to take a Museum Studies approach by evaluating what some of the other local and international museums that are helping to lead this environmental campaign. Some of my initial ideas include: calculating the museum’s Carbon Footprint, creating a Green Team, setting goals for the near and distant future, and to help educate the staff.