Museum of Tolerance

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Museum of Tolerance
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, March 2008.JPG
Established1993
Location9786 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States
TypeHolocaust memorials, racism and prejudice museum
Visitors350,000 annually
Websitewww.museumoftolerance.com

The Museum of Tolerance (MOT), a multimedia museum in Los Angeles, California, United States, is designed to examine racism and prejudice around the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. Established in 1993, as the educational arm of human rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center,[1] MOT also deals with atrocities in Cambodia and Latin America,[2] along with issues like bullying and hate crimes.[3] The MOT has an associated museum and professional development multi-media training facility in New York City.

Los Angeles[edit]

The original museum in Los Angeles, California opened in 1993, built at a cost of $50 million by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor.[2] The museum receives 350,000 visitors annually, about a third of which are school-age children. The museum's most talked-about exhibit is "The Holocaust Section", where visitors are divided into groups to take their own place in some of the events of World War II. These experiences are then discussed afterwards. The museum also features testimonies of Holocaust survivors, often from live volunteers who tell their stories and answer questions. People also get cards with pictures of Jewish children on them and at the end of the museum trip, it is revealed whether the child on the card survived or died in the Holocaust.

Protesting L.A. museum expansion

In addition, the museum features a "Tolerancenter" that discusses issues of prejudice in everyday life, a Multimedia Learning Center, Finding Our Families – Finding Ourselves, a collection of archives and documents, various temporary exhibits such as Los Angeles visual artist Bill Cormalis Jr's "A" Game In The B Leagues," which documents through paintings, the Civil Rights movement during the segregation of colored people in Major League Baseball, and an Arts and Lectures Program.

A classroom visit to the museum is featured in the 2007 movie Freedom Writers, based on the real-life story of high school teacher Erin Gruwell and her students. The museum was parodied in an episode of South Park called "The Death Camp of Tolerance".

Criticism[edit]

One of the primary criticisms of the Museum of Tolerance is that its exhibits use excessive multimedia technology to appeal to and manipulate the emotions of children. The museum uses fast-paced skits, dioramas, films, and interactive computer-controlled exhibits in an effort to make an emotional impact on visitors. For most of the tour, actual historical artifacts are absent, and a select few are shown at the end.[4]

History[edit]

The birth of the museum was related to the leadership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization named in honor of famed Nazi hunter, the late Simon Wiesenthal. With the impetus to promote tolerance and understanding among today's world and to educate more young people, the Simon Wiesenthal Center made a decision to create a museum. In February 1993, the Museum of Tolerance opened to the public, which carries the mission to not only remind us of the past, but remind us to act. It soon received both national and international acclaims, and became a “must-see” attraction in Southern California. Today over 250,000 people visit the MOT annually, including 130,000 students.

Exhibits[edit]

The Holocaust

A seventy minute dramatic presentation that takes visitors back to the period between 1920s and 1945 in Nazi-dominated Europe. Each visitor receives a photo passport card with the story of a child living during the Holocaust. As visitors explore different areas, such as a recreation of a Berlin Outdoor Café and a specially designed Hall of Testimony, the passport cards keep updating with the drastic changes in the children's lives. At the end of the tour, the ultimate fate of the child is revealed. Some artifacts of Auschwitz are displayed.

Tolerancenter

Visitors focus on the major issues of intolerance in daily life through seven exhibits: the Point of View Diner, the Millennium Machine, "Ain't You Gotta Right?", In Our Time, GlobalHate.com, We the People, Making Your Mark. These exhibits feature some recreations of historical places, films, visual walls, writing forums.

Anne

Exhibit of Anne Frank's life and legacies through rare artifacts, unique documents, and photographs presented with multi-media technology. Visitors can experience the 260-degree filmic dramatization of Anne’s room in the Secret Annex. In the Interactive Action Lab visitors can reflect on what they have learned, relate the historical issues back to today's world, and write a pledge to share on social media through multi-touch tables. A reproduction of Anne's original diary and facsimile of handwritten loose leaf sheets are displayed.

Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves

The exhibit showcases several noted Americans with diverse personal histories. Their journeys examine those family members that inspired them, and encourages visitors to seek out their own histories, mentors and heroes.

Para Todos Los Niños / For All The Children

This exhibition shares the story of the landmark struggles of Latino families in Southern California and shows the history of segregation and discrimination in California that targeted all non-White citizens, in housing, jobs, and schools. Visitors can learn of those, including Mendez v. Westminster, who battled segregated schools for all.

Education[edit]

Many major  corporations, educators, police agencies, and professionals from throughout the region have experienced the MOT’s specialized programs. The MOT’s unique interactive exhibits provide a hands-on learning experience that inspires visitors of all ages to learn from the past, engage in the present and assume responsibility for the future through the exploration of the meaning of tolerance.

MOT's customized Youth Programs include introduction about the Holocaust and anti-bullying workshops, specially designed for different age groups. Special Speakers section offers an opportunity of daily presentations for visitors to hear live personal testimonies from Holocaust Survivors. MOT also provides online Teacher Resources to help teachers optimize the learning experiences for their students as well as sustain the learning long after the Museum visit, which includes lesson plans, vocabulary, bibliographies, and much more. Professional Development Programs challenges adult learners to see the world differently and redefine their roles in it. Lifelong Learners Programs include arts and lectures events, special exhibitions, and volunteer training education. Library and Archives facilitates more in-depth research about the Holocaust and offers rare collections, a digital archives, and reference staff and volunteers who offer support. Since the opening of the museum, collection of materials has expanded to include tolerance, racism, multiculturalism, civil rights, and human rights.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About us
  2. ^ a b "Los Angeles Journal; Near Riots' Ashes, a Museum Based on Tolerance". New York Times. February 10, 1993.
  3. ^ "Teen court program tackles bullying, hate crimes". Los Angeles Times. July 22, 2012.
  4. ^ Marcuse, Harold. "Experiencing the Jewish Holocaust in Los Angeles: The Beit Hashoah – Museum of Tolerance", Other Voices, February 2000. Retrieved on April 12, 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°03′13″N 118°24′06″W / 34.05361°N 118.40167°W / 34.05361; -118.40167