Dallas Holocaust Museum to Build Larger Facility, Expand Mission

It will also be changing its name to Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

Dallas Holocaust Museum

The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance will build a new permanent home in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas.

The new museum will bear a new name –- the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum –- and an expanded mission.  It will be built on property owned by the Museum near Houston Street and the DART Rail corridor on Pacific Avenue, presently a parking lot, diagonally across from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

“The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will become an architectural icon in downtown Dallas.” 
Frank Risch

“At a time when Texas leads the nation in the number of active hate groups, and the Dallas community is still healing from the July 7th attack on local law enforcement officers, the most violent and hateful act against law enforcement officers since 9/11, we believe the mission of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is more important than ever,” Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins said.

The new museum is being designed by Dallas-based Omniplan Architects, and the permanent exhibition is being designed by Berenbaum Jacobs Associates, under the stewardship of Michael Berenbaum, the former Project Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Washington D.C. Mall.

“The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will become an architectural icon in downtown Dallas, engaging 21st-century audiences by dramatically expanding educational programming,” Frank Risch, campaign co-chair, said. “The state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot museum will accommodate more than 200,000 visitors a year, half of whom will be school students. It will also more than quadruple its current exhibit space.”

It will be unique among the nation’s 21 Holocaust-related museums. In addition to a clear focus on the Holocaust, it will feature new exhibit galleries on human rights and American ideals. It will also feature modern, immersive, and interactive content and technology along with an original boxcar used by the Nazis during the Holocaust to transport Jews and others.

It will include a 250-seat theater, new classrooms, an expanded library and archive, modern technology throughout, additional staffing, and a special reflection and memorial area for visitors.

“We need a place that allows us to have a discussion about what human rights, diversity, and respect for others mean for our city today,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

CONSTRUCTION TO FOLLOW CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

The Museum has already raised two-thirds of the funds it needs to start construction, which will take about two years to complete. More than $43 million has been raised of the $61 million budget. To raise additional funds, the Museum is launching the “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign. Construction will begin as soon as remaining needed funds are raised, Higgins said.

“Education is at the heart of everything the Museum does.”
Ann & Nate Levine

“We have run out of space in our tiny current rented facility,” Higgins said. “We are limited in the number of visitors we can see at one time, and many schools and thousands of students are not able to visit as their class sizes are too large for our current museum. We have been forced to move many of our events to other venues. These are all wonderful problems to have, but we urgently have to address our community’s need for education surrounding the history of the Holocaust and its all too relevant lessons. This need has led our board to unanimously approve the ‘Building a Foundation of Hope’ capital campaign to create the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”

“Education is at the heart of everything the Museum does. Our goal is to change behavior by raising awareness of the dangers of prejudice, hatred, and injustice and what happens when people don’t stand up to threats against humanity,” Ann and Nate Levine have said.

The Levines, who are the museum’s most generous donors, also noted that “the new museum will focus on Upstanders — those individuals who stand up to prejudice, hatred, and indifference — and whose efforts inspire us to make a difference in our community and world.”

COMMUNITY IMPACT 

The Museum recently commissioned an independent academic study to gauge the impact that a visit to the Museum has on students and educators. The results make very clear that student attitudes and tolerance levels are strongly impacted by Museum visits:

  • Understanding that passive actions/bystander behavior have negative impacts increased by 56.8 percent for middle school and 31.1 percent for high school students
  • Capacity to examine their own behaviors increased by 19.4 percent in middle school and 15.7percent in high school students
  • 3 percent of teachers said students are more willing to stand up for others

 

“We need to take the next step for all the people of Dallas to be able to teach more teachers, to educate more students, and ultimately transform Dallas into a city of Upstanders,” says former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, honoree of the Museum’s 2010 Hope for Humanity award dinner and long-time Museum supporter. “This new museum will continue to showcase Dallas as a beacon of hope for our nation and our world.”

The Museum has played an important role in the community for the past 32 years.The new museum, with its dramatically larger facilities and expanded educational and cultural programming, will galvanize North Texans to learn and understand the lessons of the Holocaust, thereby combating hatred and injustice.

BUILDING A FOUNDATION OF HOPE DONORS

The Museum is grateful for the following leadership gifts to the “Building a Foundation of Hope” campaign to create the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum at the time this article was published.

Capital Campaign donors include:

$10 million level 
Ann and Nate Levine 

$3,000,0000 – $4,999,999  
Carol and Steve Aaron

$1,000,0000 – $2,999,999  
Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Family Foundation 
Alon USA Energy, Inc. 
Janet and Jeffrey Beck 
The Brown Family 
Cinemark 
Feldman Foundation TX 
Funk Families 
Estate of Lilian Furst
Glazer Family
Lisa and Neil Goldberg 
Sherry and Kenny Goldberg 
Dot and Basil Haymann
The Hirsch Family Foundation 
Helen and Frank Risch 
Simmons Sisters Fund 
Donna and Herbert Weitzman
Peggy and Mark Zilbermann

To learn more about the “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign, please contact Mary Pat Higgins at (214) 741-7500. For additional information about the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, please visit, DallasHolocaustMuseum.


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