Volunteers Turn Hate to Hope by Teaching the Dangers of Hatred, Prejudice and Apathy

HOUSTON, TX (May 10, 2006) Teaching the dangers of prejudice and hatred against the backdrop of the Holocaust would be an almost impossible task without the assistance of volunteers who help educate the thousands of visitors to Holocaust Museum Houston each year.

And with the Museum’s attendance growing and increased public interest in the Holocaust stemming from recent news events in France, Egypt, Iran and elsewhere, more and more volunteers are needed to help guide students and the general public through the Museum, teach about its lessons, explain its exhibits and answer questions about the Holocaust.

During the school year, almost 30,000 students in middle school, high school or college will tour the Museum and almost 60,000 adults from around the world will visit. Tours are conducted every day, and as many as three or four schools may be represented on any school day.

In preparation for this fall’s busy tour schedule, Holocaust Museum Houston is now accepting applications for tour guides, commonly called docents, to help with those tasks. More than 120 docents are needed each year to handle the volume of public tours.

Volunteers will be trained in the history of the Holocaust and taught to give tours during six weeks of classes. One class begins Aug. 15, and meets from 7 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. A second class begins Aug. 22 and is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

The deadline to apply for training as a docent is Aug. 8.

All classes will be held at Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District.

"Volunteers need only a desire to learn, an interest in public speaking and a commitment to helping change our future by teaching the lessons of the past," said Suzanne Sutherland, the Museum’s director of visitor and volunteer services.

"Visiting Holocaust Museum Houston is an adventure in learning for many students. Often, a visit will be the first time for a student to come face to face with the dangers of racial prejudice or religious intolerance. Our docents are trained to respond to their questions regarding the history of prejudice and current attitudes today," said Sutherland.

Docents must commit to giving tours for a one-year period. Weekday docents generally give one two-hour tour per week, while weekend volunteers typically give one tour every other week.

For more information on becoming a docent, contact Sutherland at ssutherland@hmh.org or 713-942-8000, ext. 102.

The Museum also has openings for front desk volunteers, assistants in the Museum library and volunteers to assist with administrative duties.

Front desk volunteers are trained to manage the Museum bookstore and greet patrons. Those volunteers work in shifts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend shifts are available from noon to 2:30 p.m. and from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Training for front-desk volunteers is done individually and can be completed in about two hours.

Holocaust Museum Houston promotes awareness and educates the public of the dangers of prejudice, hatred and violence against the backdrop of the Holocaust by fostering remembrance, understanding and education.

Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston's Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.

For more information about Holocaust Museum Houston, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

Media Contact
For media inquiries, please contact:
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
Tel: (713) 942-8000, ext. 103
E-mail: news@hmh.org

Our Public Relations team is eager to assist you in coverage of activities at Holocaust Museum Houston.

All requests for interviews or on-site photography or videography by members of the media must be coordinated in advance through our Public Relations office by calling 713-942-8000, ext. 103 or e-mailing news@hmh.org.

Address and Directions
Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

Hours and Admission
Museum Hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Museum Admission:

$12 for adults
$8 for active-duty military and AARP members
Free for children, students and college-level students with valid ID
Free admission on Sundays

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