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New Museum

About the Exhibits

First Floor: 

  • Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers
  • The Rhona and Bruce Caress Gallery, And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide
  • Human Rights Gallery

Second Floor:

  • Samuel Bak Gallery and Learning Center, In Loving Memory of Hope Silber Kaplan
  • Moral Choices Hall and Jerold B. Katz Family Butterfly Loft
  • The Boniuk Center for the Future of Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Studies
  • The Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater

Third Floor:

  • The Boniuk Library

“Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers”  Danish Rescue Boat and the German World War II Railcar

The Gallery is personalized with testimony of Holocaust Survivors who later settled in the Houston area. These incredible individuals lived through a genocidal war that inflicted mass death on unprecedented numbers of innocent civilians. The Gallery features artifacts donated by the Holocaust Survivors, their descendants, liberators, and other collectors.

The exhibit also educates visitors about Jewish and non-Jewish resistance efforts, including the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, prisoner revolts, sabotage, the partisan movement, displaced persons camps and life after the Holocaust.

This Gallery is expanded and enhanced by bringing two of the Museum’s most important artifacts, the World War II era railcar and the 1940's Danish rescue boat, into the Museum facility. Featuring only state-of-the-art exhibits and technological advances, Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers includes the one-of-a-kind Edith and Josef Mincberg Destroyed Communities interactive exhibit and Dimensions in Testimony virtual conversations with Survivors.

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In Nazi Europe, Jewish teenagers wrote in worn notebooks. Far away in America, young people in Japanese internment camps did the same. Decades later, it was children in war-time Sarajevo. More recently, in Iraq and Syria, young writers typed their accounts instead, transmitting messages secretly or posting anonymously on social media. Times change, but the impulse to mark our place in the world endures.

And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide highlights the diaries of young people who wrote during war and genocide. In them, the writers plead to be heard. Their diaries stand as valuable historical documents and remind us that the young have much to say if we are willing to listen.

The Rhona and Bruce Caress Gallery features six interactive diaries stations with 12 diarist stories rotating between them to educate visitors about the very personal stories of the Holocaust, as well as the existing dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy. Students will be able to access and utilize these electronic diaries, providing them with the unique use of interactive, experiential technology. In addition, the Gallery will include a historical exhibit on Anne Frank.

Working with renowned diary expert Alexandra Zapruder and using numerous digital resources, the exhibit space will open doors of inquiry to visitors of all ages, engaging them while evoking reflection and care.

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The Lester and Sue Smith Human Rights Gallery is a primary tool in the teaching and outreach efforts of Holocaust Museum Houston. Human rights are at the heart of the Museum; exhibits and curriculum guides focus on human rights questions and modern issues.

The Gallery features the Interfaith Champions of Hope, part of The Boniuk Center for the Future of Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Studies. This beautiful, tranquil space lends itself to meditation and reflection, encouraging visitors to take the time to quietly think through the challenges that face us, as well as the solutions we can compassionately reach.

The Gallery also features the Call to Action exhibit, seeking to engage visitors to understand the lessons explored at the Museum. Visitors are asked to think critically, understanding intricate and age-old problems. The Museum challenges children and adults to engage with one another, and the outside world, to understand their calling relative to these social ills, and the choices that one single person can make to turn the tide and combat hatred and prejudice.

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Holocaust Museum Houston is exceptionally honored that the Samuel Bak Gallery and Learning Center serves as a permanent, international gallery for his paintings, works donated directly to the Museum by the artist. The Bak Learning Center will help visitors understand the content of his works, as well as the rich symbolism used in his paintings.

Bak was born in 1933 in Vilna, Poland. His artistic talent was first recognized during an exhibition of his work in the Vilna Ghetto when he was nine years old. Bak and his mother survived the Holocaust through the efforts of his father, his aunt and a Benedictine nun known as Sister Maria who gave Bak and his mother shelter in a convent in Vilna. While both Bak and his mother survived, his father and four grandparents all perished at the hands of the Nazis. Bak’s life-and-death experiences inspired his prolific collection of artwork.

Visitors will enter the 1,923-square-foot center through an antechamber focusing on the life of Samuel Bak. The gallery itself is circular, comprised of three intimate galleries with seating and education center. The galleries will continuously display the exceptional work of the artist while teaching children and adults to apply an understanding of the events of the Holocaust and other genocides to their own lives and respond to them successfully by developing social resiliency.

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The new Moral Choices Hall serves as the heart of HMH. Located on the second floor, programs based here remind visitors of the choices they remain free to make and the lives that they can successfully impact. The Moral Choices Hall features the three-story Jerold B. Katz Family Butterfly Loft, where butterflies symbolize the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. 

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The Boniuk Center for the Future of Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Studies will provide a research and scholarly forum to consider how to best educate our community and others around the world about the history and memories of the Holocaust. In light of ongoing genocides and issues of human rights, the Center will provide a venue in which to consider values and how our work shapes society’s citizenry. The Center will explicate questions of morality and coexistence as these pertain to human behavior and decision-making. Located on the second floor, The Boniuk Center will house new and current educational programs, including the Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers, the Spector/Warren Fellowship, Max M. Kaplan Summer Institute, All Behaviors Count, Educator in Motion, Engines of Change Student Ambassadors and Through Their Eyes.

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The expansion includes a new 195-seat Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, equipped to provide a state-of-the-art experience for visitors. The theater will feature a professional performance-sized stage, including an artist dressing room, which will allow the Museum to expand the variety of presentations offered on-site, along with films and musical performances. 

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The Boniuk Library – Third Floor

The expansion of The Boniuk Library, with more than 10,000 volumes and numerous resources for in-house research and education, allows for enhanced public access to its 285 oral testimonies for research purposes and genealogical searches. The Boniuk Library is one of the largest sources of data in the U.S. for communities that were destroyed occurred during the Holocaust.