Maltz Museum Prepares to Bring History to Life

The public is invited to become beta testers for the newest addition to the Maltz Museum’s permanent collection. Using state-of-the-art technology, the Museum partnered with StoryFile to capture the courageous life story of Cleveland icon and civil rights activist, the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss Jr, as an Interactive Conversational Biography.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. poses next to the A.I. version of himself, an Interactive Biography created by StoryFile now in beta testing at Maltz Museum

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. poses next to the A.I. version of himself, an Interactive Biography created by StoryFile now in beta testing at Maltz Museum

An A.I. version of Rev. Moss can answer audience questions in real time, mimicking an actual conversation. The beta test is currently underway. To make the technology the most effective, audiences are needed to ask their own questions at a rate of approximately 150 per week. Visitors who want to participate in the beta testing phase can attend at no cost, now through October 22, 2022.

Date and time slot options are available on the Museum’s website. To register for your free visit and to be part of making history as a beta tester call 216.593.0575 or visit www.maltzmuseum.org/moss

About the Interactive Biography of Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr.

In June 2021, the Maltz Museum collaborated with founding board member and legendary civil rights activist, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., to be filmed in Cleveland by StoryFile, a production company that specializes in interactive conversational video digital storytelling. Through advanced filming techniques, specialized display technologies, and natural language processing, the experiences of Rev. Moss were preserved in a format that will allow audiences to interact with his image as if he were present in the room with them.

To inform the process of capturing Rev. Moss’s memories, the Maltz Museum engaged the services of a content consultant, scholar Dr. Sharon Milligan of Case Western Reserve University, to formulate questions and pursue themes relevant to Rev. Moss’s life that will engage audiences of all ages, with a particular focus on his life-long work for civil rights in the United States.

Rev. Moss’s recorded answers were processed through StoryFile’s proprietary artificial intelligence program, and his interactive biography is preserved on their platform. Equipment including an HD monitor, speakers, microphone, local computer, and Ethernet connection will be installed at the Maltz Museum for beta testing of the interactive biography by staff, volunteer docents, and visitors to refine its ability to respond appropriately to questions.

After beta testing, through the collaboration of the Museum’s staff and the StoryFile team, the interactive biography will be permanently installed at the Museum in the fall of 2022. Visitors for generations to come will be able to see Rev. Moss in high definition, hear his voice, absorb his eyewitness accounts of history, and draw inspiration from his courage and commitment to non-violent change.

About The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr.

“Otis Moss is a bridge to a glorious part of American history in ways that nobody else is. He’s that transition from the 1950s and the civil rights era to the hip-hop generation that his son now embodies. Nobody can tell those stories firsthand like he can.” —The Rev. Marvin McMickle, former pastor of Cleveland’s Antioch Baptist Church(Now at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School)

Born in rural Georgia and orphaned at 16, Moss attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and a Master of Divinity degree. He absorbed the non-violent civil rights message at Morehouse, learned from college President Benjamin Mays, and befriended the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Moss helped lead sit-ins at lunch counters and public buildings, pushing for desegregation.

In 1954, he became a pastor. Moss served at several Baptist churches in Lagrange, Georgia, and Atlanta until 1961, when he became pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in the Cincinnati area. He marched with Dr. King in Selma and Washington, and in 1971 took a break from Mount Zion to co-pastor Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church with the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. In 1974, Moss moved to Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, then Ohio’s largest black church, with a membership roster of community leaders.

Well connected to preachers and politicians, Moss continued to be a sought-after speaker and influential figure in social justice movements: he was an advisor to President Jimmy Carter, befriended such figures as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jesse Jackson, and inspired Oprah Winfrey to speak at—and donate to—Cuyahoga Community College. Moss has repeatedly been named one of America’s most influential black preachers by Ebony Magazine. Now in his nineties, he continues to preach and lecture around the U.S. and the world.

Rev. Moss is a Maltz Museum Board Trustee Emeritus and a long-time supporter of its mission to teach diversity and inclusion. 

About the Maltz Museum

Located approximately twenty minutes from downtown Cleveland in the suburb of Beachwood, Ohio, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is housed in an award-winning building crafted from Jerusalem stone, uniquely set into its landscape. Rooted in the Jewish value of respect for all humanity, telling universal stories of courage and resilience to educate and inspire a more just, civil, and inclusive society, the Maltz Museum offers two permanent collections plus a gallery dedicated to presenting world-class special exhibitions.

Visitors can experience history come to life through the Interactive Biography of Cleveland Holocaust Survivor, Stanley Bernath (as featured on 60 Minutes). And coming soon, the Interactive Biography of Cleveland Civil Rights Legend, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr.

Through the museum’s flagship program, Stop the Hate, student visitors explore the history of bias and discrimination and take opportunity to reflect on injustices they have experienced in their own lives as a path to recognizing and preventing the spread of hate in the present and future.

To Visit the Museum

Located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood, Ohio, the Maltz Museum hours as of September 1st will be Tuesday through Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, open late until 9:00pm on Wednesday, and closed Monday. Museum admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+) & students (12+), $5 for youth (5-11), and free for children 4 & under. Museum Members are free.

Reduced prices available for adult groups of 10 or more. Additional discounts offered for K-12, including free admission and transportation for Cleveland Metropolitan School with pre-registration, and free transportation for any school with 50% or more of its students participating in the National School Lunch Program, up to $700. Contact tours@mmjh.org for more information.

Free visitation for beta testers through October 22. Register at www.maltzmuseum.org/moss

Maltz Museum is proud to be part of Museums for All. We offer free general admission to individuals and families with a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card or a Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) card. Visitors must present valid form of photo ID. To claim free tickets, call 216-593-0575.

Connect with the Maltz Museum online www.maltzmuseum.org, call 216-493-0575, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the handle @MaltzMuseum