The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage‘s director of external relations discusses “Everyday Heroes,” a family-friendly activity center that opens for its second summer at The Maltz Museum on June 4.

Please describe “Everyday Heroes.” What are the biggest draws for museum visitors?

For anyone with young children, we want them to know about the transformation of our gallery space into the Everyday Heroes Activity Center. For three months, we offer this awesome activity center for kids where they can explore values like kindness, sharing and helping. Great for ages 8 and under but of course open to all ages. Kids can enjoy making their own capes and masks, zooming around the good mood movement area, painting kindness rocks to share, building a better world with LEGOs, being the hero of their own story in the puppet theater and so much more. Kids can nominate their own hero and submit for a chance to win prize packages announced each week. There’s also the Everyday Heroes Story Tour: Sarah & Samuel’s American Story. Oversized pages from a custom-created children’s book guide kids through the museum’s core exhibition to discover the heroic qualities of a Russian immigrant family moving to America in the late 1800s. Last year, we not only hosted individual families but also birthday parties, camps, community centers and religious groups. We have fun family programs in our summer lineup, too, from story times to special events.

This is the second year for “Everyday Heroes.” What’s new this year?

New to the Activity Center this year is the Hero Wall showcasing six remarkable young people from Cleveland and around the country who are doing their part to make a difference, including: Christian Bucks, known for introducing the Buddy Bench to American schools (Pennsylvania); Gabe Feinberg, who wrote a book about inclusion for other kids (Ohio); Reggie Fields who started his own lawn-mowing business (Ohio); Cassandra Lin, known for her work in protecting the environment (Rhode Island); Mia Rodriguez, who raises money and gives gifts to police officers on her birthday (Nebraska); and Ella Tryon, who collects and donates crayons to sick kids in hospitals (Ohio). Visitors can add their name to the Hero Wall, which is sponsored in part by Bellefaire JCB.

 Our partnership with Bellfaire JCB is also new this summer. We are celebrating their work as everyday heroes in the community on their 150th anniversary. Together, we are offering meaningful programs focused on vulnerable youth populations, including: “Take a Closer Look, Youth Homelessness Prevention” (June 5 at 7 p.m.); “Talking with Teens, Navigating Difficult Times” (July 24 at 7 p.m.); and “Becoming a Butterfly, Autism & The Monarch School” (Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.). Sean Martin, Ph.D., will join us in the gallery for a daytime talk on “Bellefaire JCB, 150 Years” (July 23 at 11:30 a.m.) and Bellefaire JCB’s art therapy expert will join us for a talk-back after the Israeli film “Wild Kids” (July 17 at 6:30 p.m.).

We are also very excited to offer our most popular group tour as a drop-in guided tour this summer. “Stop the Hate” is available at 2 p.m. every Tuesday, June through August. This is an important, timely tour, and we encourage Cleveland audiences to participate. Hate knows many forms in human history, from everyday acts of discrimination to global terror campaigns. Through the study of historical documents and artifacts, tour-goers are given an opportunity to reflect on their own lives, consider how destructive forces can affect social, economic and political aspects of society, and identify possible solutions for advancing inclusivity. Recommended for ages 12 and older.

What are some of the programming highlights surrounding “Everyday Heroes”?

Our programming categories include: “Family Fun,” “Daytime Gallery Talks,” “Drop-in Guided Tours,” “Documentary Film Series,” “Theatre & Performance,” “Holocaust Remembrance” and a lecture series. We can’t pick just one favorite because within each category are dynamic, compelling programs centered on the idea that within each of us is the power to help someone when they need us, including recognizing when we need help ourselves. We have an intimate theater space that seats 70, so the programs tend to sell out. We highly recommend registration to secure a spot.

How long will “Everyday Heroes” be up and what are the ticketing details?

The Everyday Heroes Activity Center will be open from June 4 through Aug. 18. Attendance is included with general admission. We have special summer rates. General (12+) $10; Youth (5-11) $5; Children under 5 are free. Members are always free. We are also running a summer promotion for new household memberships, which are being offered at just $55, a $20 discount! Members receive discounted or free admission to programs, exclusive store discounts and invitations to private events. For details on programs, please visit our website.

What else can visitors enjoy while they’re at the Maltz Museum?

Our core exhibition, “An American Story,” which chronicles the Jewish immigrant experience to Cleveland, is a fascinating glimpse into our local history; and The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery is the fourth oldest collection of Judaica ritual objects in the country. If anyone wants a deep dive into either of these galleries, we offer guided drop-in tours for both, June through August. “An American Story” will be offered every Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Treasures of The Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery will be offered every Thursday at 2 p.m. Drop-in tours are included with general admission. Simply let the front desk know when you purchase your ticket that you would like to be part of the tour.

Images courtesy of The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.