Could not authenticate you.followers
After years of shuttling from one small rented space to another, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) is re-opening in its own, environmentally friendly building in Pan Pacific Park.
The museum, located at 100 South The Grove Dr., will be dedicated in a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. today as part of a week-long series of events that began on Sunday. Entrance to the museum is free and open to the public.
“I’m incredibly excited. For years, we’ve really needed a permanent place to call home,” said Dana Schwartz, a member of the board of directors for the museum. Schwartz, 75, is also a survivor of the Holocaust.
Inside the museum, artifacts, images and documents depict the history of the Holocaust, including interactive exhibits, a timeline of the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, a re-creation of one of the train cars used to transport victims, and a scale model of a death camp.
Schwartz said she would like people, especially students, to be inspired by the experience of visiting the museum to make the world a better, safer place.
“One hopes that it touches the kids and shows them how to be respectful, and prevent bullying,” Schwartz said.
Located between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street, the 27,000 square-foot museum is meant to engage a new generation as well as those who are just curious passers-by, said Mark Rothman, executive director of the museum. Rothman said there were several “drop in” visits this week that would not have happened as easily at the museum’s former location on Wilshire Boulevard.
The “green” building is mostly underground, constructed in a hillside, with rooftop gardens and pathways that visitors can walk through as a continuation of the park’s landscaping.
“We wanted to return as much greenspace as possible,” Rothman said.
The museum’s design, by Santa Monica-based firm, Belzberg Architects, has received the Los Angles Cultural Affairs Commission Design Honor Award and the Los Angeles Business Council Green Building Design Award.
The museum cost about $20 million to build and was funded largely by private donations and grants, Rothman said. The building is next to the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument. Dedicated in 1992, the six black pillars commemorate the six million victims of the Holocaust.
The museum building also holds an extensive archive of documents and other primary source materials from the Holocaust period (1933-1945).
The museum bills itself as the oldest Holocaust museums in the country, since it was founded by a group of Holocaust survivors in 1961.
It was moved out of the Jewish Federation building on Wilshire Boulevard after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Rothman said. Most recently it was on Wilshire Boulevard, in a space half the size of its current location.
“I used to say it was the best-kept secret on Wilshire Boulevard,” Rothman said. “You had to really know where you’re going to find it.”
The new museum’s entrance and underground parking lot can be accessed from The Grove Drive, and people who are already in Pan Pacific Park can walk into the building.
When visitors arrive, they are offered headsets and an iPod Touch — much of the information in the exhibits are accessed through touch screens.
The Survivor Testimonial Wall exhibits stories of Holocaust survivors. Part monument and part informational presentation, the digital display allows visitors to watch recorded interviews with survivors.
Schwartz tells a story about her experiences in the Janowska Road work camp in Poland, where her father died, as did most of her extended family. The camp was adjacent to Lemberg (Lvov), Poland, which was where Schwartz was born. She said 300,000 Jews from her hometown were murdered in the Holocaust.
Schwartz escaped with her mother, and they both eventually moved to Los Angeles, where Schwartz later became an elementary school teacher.
“I was so lucky to have survived,” Schwartz said. “I wanted to give back by educating, and to sensitize people to kindness and thoughtfulness.”
For more information, call The Los Angeles Museum of The Holocaust at (323)651-3704 or visit www.lamoth.org.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.