United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of material chronicling the planning, creation, and activities of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The collection contains Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust publications, material pertaining to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, newsletters, photographs, press releases, conference material, teaching guides and educational curricula, and fundraising and membership material.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Organization)
Language of Materials
The collection is in English.
The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.
Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
Historical Note<extptr actuate="onload" altrender="USHMM logo" href="http://digital.cjh.org/webclient/DeliveryManager?pid=2288284" show="embed" title="USHMM logo"/>
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter created the President's Commission on the Holocaust to study and report on the establishment and maintenance of a national memorial to the millions of people who perished in the Holocaust. The Commission, headed by Elie Wiesel, consisted of 34 members from a variety of backgrounds, including Holocaust survivors. In 1979, the Commission issued a report with their final recommendations. The report enumerated the following recommendations: that a national museum and memorial be erected in Washington, D.C.; that the museum should have an educational foundation; that a Committee on Conscience should be appointed to study and monitor acts of genocide throughout the world; that the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust be proclaimed in perpetuity to be held annually; that the United States should ratify the Genocide Convention; that the United States should investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals in America; and that the funding of the museum and memorial should be based on a public-private partnership involving government funding and private fundraising.
In 1980, the United States Congress voted to establish a national museum and memorial to the Holocaust to document, study, and interpret Holocaust history. The task of establishing a memorial museum was given to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. The museum was built on 1.9 acres of land along the National Mall that was donated by the federal government. Architect James Ingo Freed (1930-2005), of Pei Cobb Freed and Partners (formerly I.M. Pei and Partners), was the lead designer. Freed was a native of Essen, Germany of Jewish ancestry who immigrated to the United States with his family in 1939. As a child, Freed experienced the terror of Kristallnacht first hand in November 1938. Freed wanted to design a building that could be experienced viscerally; a building that would become a "resonator of memory" and "take you in its grip." To accomplish this, he visited Holocaust sites in Europe, including concentration camps and ghettos, to gain an understanding of the structures and materials used in these settings.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened to the public in 1993. Visitors enter the Museum through the Hall of Witness, a sky-lit, three-story gathering place that leads to the Museum's exhibitions. The Museum also features the Hall of Remembrance, a quiet area that provides visitors a space for reflection. The Museum's permanent exhibition, called The Holocaust, takes visitors on a self-guided exploration through three floors of exhibition space. Along with the permanent exhibition, the Museum also holds special exhibitions throughout the year; offers public and school programming; creates and disseminates educational material and curricula; and collects and preserves material evidence, art, and artifacts. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies is also located within the Museum. The Center offers academic programs, hosts scholarly presentations, and publishes studies, reports, and the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945. As of 2014, more than 36 million people have visited the Museum since it opened in 1993.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Newsletter, May 1988; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection; I-413; box 3, folder 2; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.
"About the Museum." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed August 25, 2014. http://www.ushmm.org/information/about-the-museum
"United States Holocaust Memorial Museum." Pei Cobb Freed and Partners. Accessed August 25, 2014. http://www.pcf-p.com/a/p/8627/s.html
1.5 Linear Feet (3 manuscript boxes)
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was created to advance and disseminate knowledge about the Holocaust, to document and interpret Holocaust history, and to serve as the nation's permanent living memorial to the Holocaust. The collection includes newsletters, Days of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust publications and printed matter, photographs, press releases, conference material, teaching guides and curricula, and fundraising and membership material.
This collection is arranged into two series.
Located in AJHS New York, NY
Portions of the collection were donated to AJHS in separate accessions from 1993 to 1994. The majority of the collection was compiled by AJHS staff.
The collection was previously partially processed and a box list was created, date and author unknown. In 2014, processing was completed and a finding aid was created by Patricia Glowinski. During the final processing a small amount of duplicate material was discarded.
- Guide to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection 1979-1996 I-413
- Processed by AJHS staff and Patricia Glowinski.
- © 2012
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Processing made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.