By Michael S. Glickman, Museum President & CEO
When a visitor walks into the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust—New York’s Holocaust museum—she is walking into an institution that presents the future of Holocaust education. As she’s greeted at the Ann & Abe Oster Welcome Desk, she may choose to learn from an expert Gallery Educator; listen to an award-winning audio tour available in 7 languages; or explore content-rich exhibitions at her own pace.
The Core Exhibition takes her through Jewish Life a Century Ago, The War Against the Jews, and Jewish Renewal. She learns from 800 artifacts and 2,000 photographs that illustrate Jewish history and highlight personal experience of global significance. In the Core, our visitor comes to appreciate the importance of survivor testimony.
The educational value and emotional power of testimony is something she will experience throughout the Museum.
In our current installation of New Dimensions in Testimony℠, created by USC Shoah Foundation, our visitor will have “virtual conversations” with Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Schloss. In an experience that is the first of its kind in New York, she will ask questions, and lifelike projections of Pinchas and Eva will answer her in real time—communicating their experiences across time and space.
Later this year, our visitor may also search survivor testimonies at the new kiosks in our Morris and Fannie Pickman Keeping History Center, where tens of thousands of recordings will be available to her, for the very first time. She will stop to read about and view digitized items from the collection of The George and Adele Klein Foundation, which contains 2,400 pieces of anti-Semitica that will form the basis of future study and research through the Museum’s new Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
Our visitor will then continue on to special installations and exhibitions that remember the lost children of Kloster Indesdorf; honor the survivors who serve in the Museum’s Speakers Bureau and are featured in Eyewitness; and, in Operation Finale, present previously hidden artifacts from the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann. She will see the original bullet-proof booth in which Eichmann sat during his trial.
At this point our visitor might pause for reflection in Andy Goldsworthy’s Garden of Stones, where trees planted by Holocaust survivors and their family members have been growing from stone since 2003—representing the ways in which life has persisted and emerged from the most difficult circumstances.
From there, we hope our visitor will recognize that Museum public programs and presentations by Holocaust survivors will deepen her understanding. If she’s the descendant of survivors, maybe she will inquire about participating in Heritage Testimonies®, a new program by which the Museum is training members of the second and third generations to share their family members’ stories. If she’s a teacher, maybe she will join the more than 24,000 educators who have completed professional development activities here.
Our visitor’s experience—and the fact that she’ll want to return—will have been made possible by a strong, dedicated community.
Editors Note: Click here or on the video image below to watch these remarks delivered by Michael Glickman’s at the Museum’s 20th Anniversary Program held on September 13, 2017.