PaperCity Magazine

November 2019- Dallas

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A new beacon of h o p e e m e r g e d i n D o w n t o w n 's historic West End in September: the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. The museum was more than 40 years in the making, with roots dating back to 1977, when the fi rst meeting of Holocaust survivors of Dallas was held at a private home to propose a monument and educational programming. The glorious copper-clad building designed by OMNIPLAN Architects is projected to accommodate more than 200,000 visitors annually. The endeavor was a lesson in Dallas' fundraising might: The amount required to build the museum was raised before ground was broken and the overall fundraising goal was exceeded by more than $10 million. On its opening day, more than 1,000 visitors fl ocked to the museum — a testament to the community's commitment to the organization and its expanded mission, which not only teaches the history of the Holocaust, but also expands awareness of human rights in an effort to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference for any marginalized group. There are many poignant spaces within the museum, but a contemplative space of note is the central courtyard, with a DALLAS' MIGHTY HOLOCAUST MUSEUM HAS HUMAN RIGHTS IN ITS NAME FOR A REASON BY BILLY FONG. PHOTOGRAPHY JASON O'REAR. sculpture by Texas native James Surls. The monumental work, This Place, Everywhere (2019), created specifi cally for the space, is a massive bronze-and-steel piece featuring 18 fl owers that represent chai, which means life in Hebrew. The six petals on each fl ower stand for the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Another interesting facet of the new institution is the Dimensions in Testimony Theater — one of only two such spaces in the world, developed by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation; it provides an interactive experience though high-definition holographic imagery of Holocaust survivors, who share their stories when prompted by questions from visitors. As one sits on a sparse bench, the screens on all sides of the room reveal a re-creation of what one might assume was a typical apartment in pre-war Poland or Germany. The front screen lifts to reveal 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Max Glauben. As he recounts the trauma of life during the Holocaust, the surrounding room slowly deteriorates, with the furniture becoming threadbare and the wallpaper peeling. Another artistic centerpiece of the museum is the Ten Stages of Genocide Gallery in the Human Rights Wing. Here, visitors are asked to remain quiet as they absorb 10 fl oor-to-ceiling islands, each representing a specifi c country's genocide. In our often turbulent times, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is needed more urgently than ever. Texas is the state that leads the nation in the number of active hate groups; according to FBI data, anti-Semitism and other hate crimes climbed for the third straight year in 2017. But in Dallas, the fact that close to a third of the donations to the museum's capital campaign came from outside of the Jewish community shows that a majority of our city is coming together to support human rights for all people. Furthermore, the museum hopes to inspire upstanders — individuals who stand up to prejudice, hatred, and indifference. "We hope our visitors will be inspired to become upstanders by volunteering through the resources we provide in our Call to Action Gallery," says museum president Mary Pat Higgins. Indeed, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is not just a place to be observed, but a space that interacts with visitors and serves as a much- needed catalyst to action. Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, 300 N. Houston St., James Surls' This Place, Everywhere Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

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