New Museum Opens at the Jewish Holocaust Centre

The Jewish Holocaust Centre’s new museum opened in March 2010. The upgrade has been designed to update the method of delivery of the information to appeal to the younger generation, who make up the bulk of visitors, while retaining the musuem’s special ingredient – the opportunity to interact with survivor guides.

The Jewish Holocaust Centre’s new museum opened in March 2010. The upgrade has been designed to update the method of delivery of the information to appeal to the younger generation, who make up the bulk of visitors, while retaining the musuem’s special ingredient – the opportunity to interact with survivor guides.

The exhibition space has been painted white and a new carpet installed to give it a lift. A monochromatic palette has been chosen to express a sense of memorial, with its lightness providing some relief from the darkness of the Holocaust story. The museum guides visitors through the Holocaust in the order in which events unfolded. Angular walls serve to break up the journey and the simplicity of the museum’s design assists visitors to focus on the content. The display cases have been purpose-built to show off some of the incredible documents and memorabilia from the Centre’s archive, painstakingly collected over 26 years.

New MuseumThe museum text has been rewritten and is presented on panels designed to make it easy to read and new photos, including the precious photos of our survivors, have been included. The modern technology which features in our new museum serves to complement but not to replace the displays. Its main purpose is to deliver eyewitness testimony and to ensure that the survivors’ voices remain ever-present in the museum. Of the four interactive computer terminals, three are dedicated to Storypods, telling the stories of our survivor guides and incorporating their photographs, memorabilia and documents. Another two computers enable visitors to explore two important topics in-depth: ‘Acts of Courage’, featuring stories of the Righteous Among the Nations and ‘Fate of Jewish Communities’, a country-by-country exploration of the impact of the Holocaust. We are able to include a wealth of information in these interactive computers and visitors can choose what they wish to look at according to their own interests.

The main imperative of the upgrade is to continue our mission to educate the public, not just by presenting the facts but also by focusing on Melbourne Holocaust survivors who have donated much of the material on display. It is these glimpses into personal stories that we hope will have the most impact on visitors.

A preview opening of the new museum was held on 18 March. Renowned Holocaust scholar, Professor Yehuda Bauer, from Yad Vashem, delivered the keynote address.

The public launch of the museum will be held in July.