On Sunday, many gathered for an heirloom appraisal event hosted by the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning to have their family possessions and collectables appraised by experts. The program, “For What It’s Worth,” attracted many community members and allowed for family histories to be uncovered throughout the day.
The event began with presentations by Dr. Peggy Pearlstein, Head of the Hebraic Section of the Library of Congress, and Marvin Pinkert, Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Dr. Pearlstein discussed Hebraica at the Library of Congress and Pinkert shared treasures of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in his presentation.
After the presentations, attendees stood in line to have their items appraised by the various experts that were in attendance. Among the appraisers was Nancy Gibson of Gabriel Gibson Decorative Arts and prior textile curator at the DAR Museum in Washington, DC. Gibson appraised an assortment of belongings brought in by visitors, which included antique beaded bags and paintings.
The Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer, James Hyman, was thrilled with how the event was received and hopes to make it an annual program for the Partnership.
“It was amazing to watch as people began to understand the story these heirlooms told of their family’s histories,” said Hyman. “By learning about where these pieces came from, people were able to understand their own journeys, and the paths taken by their parents, grandparents and sometimes great grandparents. These treasured items were pieces of personal stories of the journeys people took over hundreds of years. It brought history to life in a very personal and exciting way because people were able to learn what was valuable and meaningful to ancestors that lived, in some cases, three centuries ago. ”
By the end of the program, the experts had appraised a large number of items, and the community left with their sentimental items in tow along with new understandings of their family history and past.