Holocaust Museum Houston Opens

The Holocaust Museum Houston, is located in Houston, Texas and was opened in 1996.

The museum is located in the Houston Museum District.

The museum is the fourth largest Holocaust memorial museum in the United States. The museum's mission is to make people aware of the dangers which prejudice, hatred and violence brought about during the Holocaust. It also endeavors to remind us that these dangers are still relevant today. The museum promotes understanding, remembrance and education with the goal that both students and the general population stay and become aware of the lesson of these tragic events. This lesson is that humankind must strive to live together in peace and harmony.

A major commitment of the Holocaust Museum Houston is the educational program. This program comprises a teacher program, a student program and an academic program. The teacher program encourages and helps teachers to incorporate the topic "Holocaust" into their classes. The museum’s "Curriculum Trunks Program," which is available for teachers throughout the country, gives teachers of all grades multi-media tools such as videos, posters, CDs, CD-ROMS, artifact kits, maps, classroom sets of books, lessons plans and plans for student activities so that classes are as informative as possible. Teachers may also receive in training on the Holocaust. Training may be related to the curriculum trunks or they may be general workshops. Furthermore, the museum offers contests for students, such as the annual “Yom HaShoah Art and Writing Contest,” as part of their student program.

Members of the Holocaust Museum Houston have access to the Boniuk Library. This lending library has more than 5,000 volumes on the Holocaust, the post-Holocaust era, Jewish history, World War II and other similar topics. The library also includes the HMH Archives and the HMH Oral Histories Project. There is a vast number of artifacts, documents, photographs, and film reels in the archives and there are more than 250 recorded testimonies from Holocaust survivors, witnesses, liberators and a member of the Hitler Youth.

There are permanent as well as temporary exhibitions at the Holocaust Museum Houston. An important part of the permanent exhibition, which is called "Bearing Witness: A community remembers," is the testimony of Houston-area survivors. At the beginning of the exhibition the visitor is given an impression of Jewish life and culture in pre-War Europe. Authentic film footage, artifacts, photographs and documents show Nazi propaganda and the move toward the "Final Solution." Another section in this main exhibit is about resistance efforts, such as the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, prisoner revolts, sabotage, the partisan movement, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s "Operation Texas" refugee effort. At the end of this exhibition, the visitor watches two films of testimony. These films give first-hand accounts of survivors, liberators and witnesses who moved to the Houston area after the war.

In addition to the permanent exhibition there is the Education Center, the Morgan Family Center, the Lack Family Memorial Room and the Eric Alexander Garden of Hope. The Education Center houses the museum’s library. The Morgan Family center includes the administrative offices, two other exhibit galleries for changing exhibitions, the HMH classrooms, and the theater. The Lack Family Memorial Room is a quiet place for relaxation and meditation and the Eric Alexander Garden of Hope is dedicated to the one and a half million children who were killed in the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Museum Houston offers several opportunities for volunteers. Volunteers may work as docents or assist in the library, in the administrative offices, at the reception desk and in the bookstore. Multilingual volunteers like Austrian Holocaust Memorial Servants may also work with original source materials and translate informational and marketing materials.

Charged with educating students and the public about the dangers of prejudice and hatred in society, Holocaust Museum Houston opened its doors in March of 1996. Since that time, impassioned notes, poems, artwork, and other gifts, from school children and adults alike, attest to the life-changing thoughts generated by just one visit to this unique facility.