Noticing Narratives: An Evaluation of Holocaust ‘Lessons’ Portrayed By American Museums

Name: Rachel Ginsburg
Major: History
Minor: Chinese
Advisor: Dr. Joan Friedman
This study focuses on identifying and understanding the narratives displayed by American Holocaust museums. Specifically, this is a case study of the historical narratives portrayed by the Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC), the United States Holocaust MemorialMuseum (USHMM), and the Museum of Tolerance (MOT). After I observe each of these museums, I apply a master criterion set to each institution and which then determines its quality. I contend that a quality Holocaust museum portrays the Nazi genocide in a way that emphasizes its distinctiveness from other genocides. In light of museum construction and American Holocaust museum scholarship, along with the application of my criteria, it is my determination that the HMC is the best Holocaust museum of the three because of its portrayal of concepts such as antisemitism, the Nazi regime, the relationship between the Holocaust and WWII, and the avoidance of asserting pluralistic lessons.

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Rachel will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST 9-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on March 30, 2021.