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12 February 2019

Holocaust & Humanity Center Uses Local Stories to Teach Universal Lessons

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) is now open to the public. The 7,500-square-foot cultural institution is the only Holocaust museum in the United States with a positive, authentic connection to its physical location – Union Terminal, where more than 1,000 survivors and refugees arrived by train to rebuild their lives in Cincinnati.

 

The exhibit design, concept, and project management of the museum represented a collective effort of the HHC staff, as well as a unique pairing of two design firms - Berenbaum Jacobs Associates (BJA), and JRA. JRA previously worked with the HHC on their long-running permanent exhibit, “Mapping Our Tears,” while BJA collaborated with HHC and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on the special exhibition, “Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz: 70 Years Later.”

HHC, JRA, and BJA have collectively created a museum that incorporates innovative storytelling, interactive experiences, personal narratives, original artwork, and genuine artifacts to chronicle the courage, strength, and triumph of local survivors during one of the darkest chapters of human history. The exhibits forge an emotional connection with local survivors by depicting their lives from the earliest days of Nazism through the devastation of the Holocaust, concluding with their eventual path to freedom. Throughout the Holocaust Gallery, the museum juxtaposes “bystanders,” those who witnessed injustice and did nothing, with “upstanders,” those who risked their lives to save the lives of others.

In addition to these historical exhibits, HHC houses the Humanity Gallery, which showcases local individuals who have made positive changes in their community and beyond. Visitors have the opportunity to explore what they can do to become modern upstanders, taking action at both a local and global level on topics that affect citizens everywhere.

Within its focus on local survivor stories, as well as its emphasis on using the lessons of a tragic past to build a more compassionate future, the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is unique among cultural institutions of its type.

Posted by JRA (Jack Rouse Associates)

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