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Restoring WWII Box Car

After three years of planning and construction, Monday, March 25th saw the arrival and installation of the first major pieces of the new core exhibition of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum at its new location in the Historic West End District of downtown Dallas.

Some highlights of the new exhibition will include a floor-to-ceiling replica of the Brandenburg Gates draped in Nazi flags, as they were during WWII, symbolizing the reign of Adolph Hitler; ten 17-feet-tall, free-standing artistic interpretations of ten modern genocides with each featuring one of the ten stages of genocide such as classification, discrimination and dehumanisation; and a gallery of bullets raining from the ceiling, representing the taking of life that occurred prior to the Nazi death camps.

An authentic railroad box car made in Germany during World War II and brought to the Holocaust Museum in 1984 from Belgium is being refurbished for a walk-through audio tour. The renovations include wood from the era the box car was built acquired from a 100-year-old North Texas barn to replace missing planks. Local artisans (welders, painters, etc.) are meticulously restoring the car to its original integrity.

These exhibits and more will be part of the permanent exhibition displayed in the 55,000 square foot structure. 

Featuring three main sections, the Holocaust/Shoah Wing, the Human Rights Wing and the Pivot to America Wing, “the new structure is five times larger than the current building,” Museum President and CEO, Mary Pat Higgins said.

When asked how long it will take to tour the museum, she answered “there are three types of museum visitors, the skimmers, the swimmers and the deep divers, so length of tour will depend on the visitor.”  However, a 2 ½ hour audio tour is being prepared.

The museum has changed its name from the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance to the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, a change that will encompass even more evils initiated by discrimination.

The new museum is more than a museum.  It is a message to the world that we will never forget the Holocaust and we will do everything we can to make sure that the lessons are taught to future generations.

How do we teach the lessons learned from the Holocaust? 

“By telling the story over and over,” Museum Chairperson Frank Risch said. “And, by telling it to the children,” he added.

The future relies on education and it starts with children. As well as numerous programs for adults at the Holocaust Museum, there are many programs for middle school and high school students and family programs such as “Home School Day” and “Girl Scout Day.”

A visit to the Holocaust museum when taken back to the classroom can be compared to so many discriminatory acts that are practiced every day, often unknowingly.

Located at 300 North Record Street, the museum is currently still under construction but is scheduled to open on September 17, 2019.

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