The Museum of Tolerance and The Swastika
Maria A. Kreit
November 30, 2011
This essay is about my first experience at the Museum of Tolerance. Although the museum was very informative, the one main detail that it did not have was many actual artifacts. It had a few artifacts, but none that were noteworthy or interesting in regards to history. My experience in the Museum of Tolerance mostly focuses on the holocaust exhibit of the museum, which then relates to Anti-Semitism and the Swastika. It then goes in depth about the Swastika and how it came to be.
The Museum of Tolerance, Anti-Semitism, and The Swastika
When first deciding on a field trip, I was unsure which one to go to because there were so many interesting options. Then the idea of going to the Museum of Tolerance came to mind. I had never previously visited the Museum of Tolerance, but I was often told about how it was mostly referenced for its Holocaust exhibit and its message about being prejudice. Just from personal experience, the Museum of Tolerance appeared to be a popular place to visit and a place people often talk about or reference within conversations. Because of its popularity and constant reoccurrence in topics of conversation, I finally decided that it was important I see this specific museum.
Upon entering the museums parking structure, which had been strategically hidden beneath the building, My friend Cameron and I came across a security guard. Before being allowed to enter the structure, he instructed us to open the trunk and show him identification. Strange as it was, we had done exactly as told without question. He proceeded to check the contents of the trunk and Cameron’s ID. Once he was finished, he told us that camera’s were not allowed in the museum along with several other things, and then he let us through and allowed us to park. (Due to this fact, I was unable to take any personal pictures of the museum or myself in the museum.)
After finding a parking spot, we went up the elevator to the lobby of the museum. Right next to the front desk, I noticed that the only way in was through a security checkpoint; a high tech security checkpoint that reminded me of airport security. They had a bag scanner and what I assumed were metal detectors that people had to walk through. For a museum regarding tolerance and prejudice, it was unnerving to have to see that they actually use these machines on a daily basis. Although I cannot begin to imagine what they encounter there at the museum on a daily basis, I hardly think it necessary to use such intimidating machinery just to get into the museum. My theory is that the real purpose behind it is to make us feel unsettled and uncomfortable, as though we were being judged and demoralized just as the Jews had been back in the 1930s. It could also be for security purposes, but it seems odd that a museum with little to no artifacts would actually have a very obvious heightened amount of security when compared to museums like the Getty, which has paintings that are worth millions. Regardless, my experience for the Museum of Tolerance began with a confused and uneasy feeling.
As we moved forward, there was a spiraling ramp going downwards and along the side of the ramp were framed photographs of people; Older people to be precise. At first glance, I assumed that they were contributors to the museum, or possibly even managers that headed the museum. Then after making that comment aloud, my friend who had previously been to the museum told me that they were pictures of Holocaust survivors. It was touching to see that there was a tribute to the holocaust survivors, but it was disheartening to know that it was nothing in comparison to how many had died, which again reinforced that uneasy feeling.
Reaching the bottom of the spiral ramp led to even more confusion. Since I had never been to the Museum of Tolerance before, I had no idea where to begin. I...
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