Event to feature Holocaust History Center expansion plans

The new entrance of the Holocaust History Center, sharing a plaza with the Jewish History Museum, will allow for easy traffic flow from one museum to the other.

On Wednesday, May 20, designs for the expanded Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum will be presented to the public. The event, “A Beacon and a Hope,” is an opportunity to learn about conceptual approaches that will be implemented in the expanded exhibition prior to the June 1 start of construction, says Bryan Davis, JHM interim director.

The program will be held at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program from 6 to 7 p.m. Speakers will share architectural renderings and exhibition plans for the center. Superintendents, principals, teachers and students from several school districts and the University of Arizona will discuss the importance of Holocaust education. Ray Davies, a retired Tucson Unified School District middle school teacher who serves on the Alumni Education Council of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will be honored as a pioneer of Holocaust education in our community. Davies is an honorary chair of the expanded center’s construction campaign.

“In 2015 we know that the central thrust of a Holocaust education center should be to impact, not simply to inform,” says Davis. “We want visitors to be changed by their experiences at the center. The Holocaust was a watershed human rights catastrophe of the 20th century, and our objective is to make this institution the central location for addressing human rights issues in our community. In order to make the Holocaust, a seemingly distant history, immediate and pressingly relevant, it must be presented as the warning siren, the always-present past, and the devastating and terrible truth of man’s potential for cruelty.

“How will this be accomplished in the renovated and expanded center? Space will be designated for addressing ongoing human rights abuses. A memorial garden will be created for quiet reflection. Most importantly, the testimonials of those who survived the Holocaust will be presented as the centerpiece, the voices of conscience that will share what they endured and implore us all to do better in the future.”