Living It Again
To educate millions of people about the dangers of hatred and the importance of preventing genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was founded in Washington D.C. in1993. It is ironic how the museum is located among monuments and museums that symbolize freedom on the National Mall. The “Holocaust which occurred elsewhere but which is of universal significance” (Ruffins) was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews in Europe. The mission of the museum is “is to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum). The memory of the Holocaust is a mix of sad emotions and the way the main exhibition is presented to the visitors makes them feel like they were one of the victims. The architect James Ingo Freed, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, visited some camps and examined their material, and then he was able to build the architecture of the museum and transform the exhibition in a kind of Holocaust metaphor. According to the Holocaust Museum website, “Freed wanted visitors to experience the Museum building “viscerally,” to make their own interpretations, with the building’s subtle symbols and metaphors serving as vehicles for thought and introspection”(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) and he succeeded with his expectations. During my visit to the museum, I could get some ideas about the suffering and experiences the victims of the Holocaust went through. The way the main exhibition is presented is unique and it makes the difference in the way the visitor understands and absorbs the information. “Just as the Holocaust defies understanding, the building is not meant to be understood intellectually. Its architecture of sensibility is intended to engage the visitor and stir emotions. ‘It must take...
Cited: Lennon, J. John, and Malcolm Foley. "Interpretation Of The Unimaginable: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., And `Dark Tourism '." Journal Of Travel Research 38.1 (1999): 46. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Ruffins, Fath Davis. "Culture Wars Won And Lost: Ethnic Museums On The Mall, Part I: The National Holocaust Museum And The National Museum Of The American Indian." Radical History Review 68 (1997): 79-100. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. Web. 12 Mar. 2014
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