The Holocaust & Humanity Center: An Excellent Museum Worth Visiting!
A Holocaust museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, that blends the local story with the larger historical context
by Susan Marie Ward
A Well-Done Museum
Everything about the Holocaust & Humanity Center is well-done. Exhibits. Staffing. Technology. Artifacts. Theaters. Interactivity. It is a museum worth visiting! Even before you enter the museum, as you walk down the stairway to the entrance, the walls are covered with documents representing the lives of Cincinnati survivors - their life in Europe as well as arriving in America.
As soon as you walk into the first exhibit area, you know that this is a well-thought out, well-planned, well-implemented museum. The Holocaust Gallery is filled with letters, photographs, personal items, and more. Interwoven with the artifacts are video stories about Cincinnati survivors of the Holocaust. The stories share the horror that they lived through and the hope that they held onto. The Cincinnati Union Terminal, where the museum is located, was the train station where many of Cincinnati's survivors arrived at for their new lives in America.
More Than History
So often, as horrible as the Holocaust was, much of the information gets shaped into facts, numbers, and summaries of what happened. The Cincinnati Holocaust & Humanity Center shapes both the historical context in Europe and the local context of survivors in Cincinnati, and it becomes personal, relatable, and yes, horrific, yet one is able to step into the lives and learn what happened to families and individuals. You will look with new eyes at the Holocaust.
The Holocaust & Humanity Center carefully combines the stories of local survivors while they lived in Europe, with recognition of their new life in Cincinnati. Also, the museum shares hope and knowledge for all visitors about moving forward from hate and inaction. The first immersive theater uses sound, photographs, videos, and more to provide an overview of the Holocaust and of the Holocaust & Humanity stories. After visiting the Holocaust Gallery, you enter a theater that transitions visitors from the stories of the past to examples of the power of change that is within everyone. The last visitor experiences includes the Upstander exhibit where visitors learn about character strengths that help us to make change, stories of individuals who have made change throughout history, and suggests ways that visitors can leave the museum and make a difference.
A High-Tech Experience
In the Holocaust & Humanity Center, the technology is state-of-the art, and it all works! There are no worn out buttons or switches that are broken. Videos that tell the story of Cincinnati Holocaust survivors are well-edited. Holographic images allow visitors to ask questions in real time. Digital photos are integrated amongst the artifacts. The movies are superbly crafted and portrayed.
The staff are knowledgeable, friendly, adaptable, and helpful. Both my in-person and email communication were what one expects from a professional, well-managed organization. The Cincinnati Museum Center, the building that houses the Holocaust & Humanity Center, has multiple food options as well as lockers that create a general sense of hospitality and welcome.
An important part of boosting our mental wellbeing is through curiosity and concentration. The Holocaust and Humanity Center is filled with ways to be curious, to concentrate carefully, to think about things in new ways, and to feel hopeful.
The whole museum is a delightful surprise! The depth of careful planning and excellent implementation makes it one of the best museums most visitors will ever see. You will look with new eyes at the Holocaust, and at museums in general.
How to visit:
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online or in person at the ticket kiosk inside the Cincinnati Union Terminal Rotunda, the entrance for the Cincinnati Children's Museum, the History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Science, and a theater, in addition to the Holocaust & Humanity Center. The museum is self-guided. The front desk staff are knowledgeable and willing to answer any and all questions.
Website: The Holocaust & Humanity Center.
You will be impressed with the Holocaust & Humanity Center!
It's a museum worth visiting for it's information, well-thought out design, and sophisticated technology.
Have you visited the Holocaust & Humanity Center? What thoughts or tips do you have?