Permanent Holocaust Education Center Set to Break Ground in 2024
PHOENIX, Nov. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Arizona Jewish Historical Society (AZJHS) is pleased to announce the launch of a $30 million dollar Capital Campaign to create the Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center in the heart of downtown Phoenix, Arizona. This new project is spearheaded by major gift from the Steven J. Hilton Foundation. Additional funds have been received from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the City of Phoenix, the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany, and other private donors.
Phoenix is currently the largest U.S. metropolitan area without a permanent Holocaust Education center or museum. The new project will focus primarily on students, with a goal of creating an emotional connection to the events through the use of innovative new technologies as well as original artifacts and local survivor stories.
"The new center is extremely timely," says AZJHS Executive Director, Dr. Lawrence Bell, "We are currently seeing a resurgence of antisemitism on both the left and right of our political divide. Now more than ever, we need to teach students and public alike about the dangers of radicalization, and show them where such incendiary rhetoric will lead. It leads to hate, it leads to violence, it leads to war, and eventually it leads to genocide."
The Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center will consist of a 27,000 square foot new building on the current campus of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. This new facility will include a permanent state of the art high tech gallery dedicated to Holocaust Education as well as an area dedicated to traveling exhibits on other genocides and closely related topics. The goal of this center will be to inspire visitors to learn from the Holocaust, to become upstanders, and to work toward a world without hatred and bigotry.
The AZJHS has contracted the internationally renowned firm of Gallagher and Associates to design content and exhibits for the new center. Other significant projects by G&A include the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the Spy Museum in Washington D.C., the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel. Architect Robert Graham of Motley Design Group is overseeing building plans of the new center.
"Our goal is to bring in as many Arizona students through The Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center as possible to educate them about the Horrors of the Holocaust and the impact of Hate in our society" said Steve Hilton "Holocaust Education is now mandated by state law for students in middle and high school, and we hope to be a safe space for learning and growth in regard to this topic."
The Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center will serve a critical function in providing educational resources for students in conjunction with a recently passed Arizona state mandate to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides twice between 7th and 12th grades. According to a recent study of American millennials, over 60% had never heard of the Holocaust, and over 50% could not name a single Nazi concentration camp. The over 10,000 square feet of Holocaust and genocides exhibits will be designed to primarily engage the student audience plus other visitors. Jewish heritage exhibits in the historic 1200 square foot gallery put the Holocaust in context of the Jewish people and the Jewish experience.
For more information about the Capital Campaign please visit www.azjhs.org.
About Arizona Jewish Historical Society
The Arizona Jewish Historical Society preserves and celebrates the rich heritage of Arizona's Jewish communities, educates the public about the Jewish historical experience including the Holocaust, and promotes awareness of our state's diverse history through arts, culture, and educational programming.
SOURCE Arizona Jewish Historical Society