-Amid rising antisemitism, tens of thousands of students and hundreds of school groups visited Museum pre-pandemic to learn key lessons from Holocaust history-
(New York, NY) – For teachers missing the canceled field trips that provided experiential learning beyond the classroom, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will launch new, virtual field trips for school groups in November, as well as new and engaging lesson plans, professional development workshops, and an oral histories podcast.
“We believe that by approaching study of the Holocaust from the perspective of the victims and survivors, we can move students from misunderstanding or indifference to empathy,” says Elizabeth Edelstein, the Museum’s Vice President for Education. “Museums provide vital connections for young people to engage with the world, and with history. We are proud to continue facilitating these connections online during the pandemic.”
“We have seen some truly terrible acts of antisemitic rhetoric, vandalism, and violence in recent years,” says Museum President & CEO Jack Kliger. “Now, as the nation grapples with disease and a depressed economy, we must actively guard against the scapegoating and bigotry that have historically surfaced in response to such crises. Education is key to that effort.”
The Museum’s Education Department will be providing the following resources and opportunities, which can be accessed online at https://mjhnyc.org/education/:
Narrated Field Trips (FREE): Teachers can choose from two, pre-recorded digital tours, which are available for use at any time and at no charge.
“Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust” utilizes the Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. exhibition to teach about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust.
“Love Thy Neighbor: Immigration and the U.S. Experience” teaches from the Museum’s Ordinary Treasures exhibition, featuring artifacts from the Museum’s collection and the Jewish immigrant experience. Through explorations of language, work, community, and social activism, the tour will encourage students to draw connections to other immigrant community experiences and is particularly suited to middle and high school-aged students studying immigration in their social studies and U.S. History classes.
Interactive Tours with Museum Educators: Groups of 10 or more students may participate in a digital tour with a Museum Educator in real time, to be scheduled in advance by a teacher, allowing for live interaction. The tour can be paused at any point for questions, answers, and reflections. These tours, too, will focus on life during the Holocaust and immigration.
Holocaust Curriculum with Interactive Lessons (FREE): Students may participate in interactive lessons drawn from the Museum’s renowned Holocaust Curriculum available on the Museum’s website. They can choose from live sessions or engage at a later time with lessons available “on demand,” at no charge for either option.
First launched in February 2019, the curriculum was developed by the Museum’s Education department with support from the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Social Studies and includes 10 flexible lesson plans for use across grade levels and subject areas. Additional lessons are also available online, including The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm and Coming of Age During the Holocaust.
Professional Development for Teachers (FREE): The Museum will provide regularly scheduled, professional development opportunities for teachers online at no charge, including a focus on developing content knowledge and best practices in pedagogy.
In addition, the Museum’s Collections & Exhibitions department is offering:
Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust (FREE): Produced in cooperation with the Fortunoff Video Archive, this is the only oral history podcast featuring firsthand testimony from Holocaust survivors, liberators, and witnesses and is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
For individuals and families able to make an in-person visit, the Museum reopened to the public in September. For health and safety measures, it is only open three days per week, from 10 AM to 5 PM, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, allowing for the deep cleaning of all public spaces. In addition, it has opened at a limited, 25% capacity to ensure social distancing and is offering general admission, timed-entry tickets that grant visitor access to all galleries.
Visitors to the Museum will be able to view its current exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away., which first opened in New York City on May 8, 2019 after a successful run in Madrid and has been extended to run through May 2, 2021. Before temporarily closing due to the pandemic, the exhibition had already seen about 50,000 student visitors.
Produced in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and the international exhibition firm Musealia and curated by an international team of experts led by historian Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, this is the largest ever exhibition on Auschwitz. It was recently awarded the 2020 European Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for “Education Training and Awareness-Raising,” the most prestigious award in the field of European heritage.
Of particular interest to students and educators, included among the exhibition’s more than 700 original artifacts are 10 from the Anne Frank House, which are on display in North America for the first time. One artifact, dried beans discovered lodged between the cracks of stairs in the home where Anne Frank hid from the German Nazis in Amsterdam, has never been displayed anywhere, ever.
The items on loan from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam include family photographs of the Franks, an original drawing Anne made as a student (before going into hiding), and a wooden handle that the family used to rotate the bookcase that kept them and four other Jews hidden from the Nazis for more than two years.