The Holocaust is one of the most horrifying and tragic events in human history. It has continuously shaken generations through history books, survivor accounts, and other media sources. But despite the proliferation of such materials, the question of the Holocaust’s actual occurrence is being questioned by many young individuals. The Simon Wiesenthal Center – Museum of Tolerance aims to remind generations of youngsters about the Holocaust not just through ordinary artifacts and documents, but through hands-on learning via multimedia materials. Aside from reminding, the objective of the museum is to educate people of all ages the root causes of the Holocaust and other similar hate crimes: racism and prejudice.
The Tolerance opened its doors to the public in 1993. About a third of the museum’s annual 350,000 visitors are children. The most well-known exhibit in the museum is “The Holocaust Section.” The visitors are divided into groups and immersed in the events that transpired during World War II to get a feel for how the Holocaust came about. There are also testimonies from survivors who now work as volunteers in the museum.
In the Tolerance center, visitors are not just exposed to every day prejudice issues but they are also tasked to participate in various exhibits. Some of the interesting exhibits are “The Point of View Diner” which recreates a 1950s diner and serves controversial topics on its menu; and then there’s “The Millennium Machine”, a high-tech “time machine” that encourages visitors to come up with solutions on how to stop global human rights abuses.
There’s also the “Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves” exhibit, which features the diverse personal histories of some of the most well-known American personalities like actor Billy Crystal, musician Carlos Santana, educator Dr. Maya Angelou, baseball player Joe Torre, and many more. Through this exhibit, the Museum of Tolerance hopes to bring together a fractured community and make them recognize the underlying unity shared by everybody, regardless of their origins and cultures.