United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Updated: Jul 29
Location: Washington, D.C.
Overview: Never Again
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located just south of the National Mall, is a learning center and memorial to the Holocaust and associated atrocities committed during World War 2. Established in 1993, the museum is dedicated to the memory of those lost during the Holocaust, the pain of the survivors, and the prevention of future genocides and has accumulated over 40 million visitors from across the globe.
With over 12,000 artifacts, 1,000 hours of video footage, a list of 200,000 survivors and families, 9,000 oral testimonies, and 49 Million archival pages, the United States Holocaust Museum is one of the foremost museums on the Holocaust in the world. Renowned author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was placed as the chairman of a Board to establish the museum in the late 70s. Architecturally, the building is omnious with purposefully built design as to give the visitor no escape from the atrocies lining the walls.
The Destination: US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Located all one building, the Holocaust Museum consists of three different sections: the museum, the memorial, and the education center. The Museum is set up in chronological order from the beginning of persecutions up through the Nuremberg Trials and the aftermath of the Holocaust. Many of the interactive exhibits such as a replica Holocaust train car, four theaters showing film footage, and a large station of audio testimonies heavily increase the impact on visitors and immerse themselves into the nightmare faced by those persecuted at the hands of the Nazis.
Among numerous other important portions of the museum is the tower of faces which is a tall hall filled with over a thousand portraits of jews murdered from one small Lithuanian town. A large mass of shoes confiscated from victims of the concentration camps is another featured exhibit. Finally, a glass bridge etched with the names of victims of the Holocaust hovers above the museum below.
Located at the end of the museum, the Hall of Remembrance is the official memorial to the Holocaust and is a solemn place for reflection. Visitors can light candles in remembrance of the victims and reflect at the eternal flame. Inscriptions of death and concentration camps fill the side walls while the back wall features a quote from Deuteronomy stating, "Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children's children."
The Museum is ususally crowded so it is best to arrive at off peak hours to have a more peaceful and personal experience. If you are trying to fit this site into your travel plans, allocate about two hours to go through the entire permanent exhibit and to have some time to reflect in the Hall of Remembrance. In addition to the permanent exhibit which was described above, the museum often has a few other temporary displays. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is an immensely moving and impressionable institution on the past that will leave you saying “never again.”
100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024