The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is a museum dedicated to the history of the Holocaust in Skokie, Illinois, near Chicago.
Its mission is to “Remember the Past” and “Transform the Future,” preserving the Holocaust’s legacy by honoring those who died and instilling universal values that oppose hatred, intolerance, and indifference. The Museum achieves this goal by presenting, preserving, and interpreting its exhibits, as well as by promoting human rights and the abolition of genocide through educational programs and projects.
The Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, which runs the museum, began as a small storefront business on Main Street in 1981. In reaction to a Neo-Nazi march through Skokie, where many Holocaust survivors had lived in the decades following the killings, the organization and small museum were created.
On April 19, 2009, the new museum building was dedicated, with Bill Clinton as the main speaker and special guest Elie Wiesel in attendance. Both President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres delivered taped video messages.
The security precautions of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum were enhanced following the incident on June 10, 2009.
Volunteers from the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (since 2009) and the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service also work at the museum (since 2009).
The museum’s Take a Stand Center debuted in 2017. It was the world’s first museum to include cutting-edge technology, allowing visitors to interact with Holocaust survivors through spoken holographic images. The holograph theater is connected to an exhibit about organizations and individuals who have advocated for human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and figures like Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai.
The structure was designed by Stanley Tigerman. The decor and exhibition were co-designed by Yitzchak Mais, a former director of Yad Vashem. The Holocaust exhibition is placed on the first floor, together with the auditorium, main entry hall, information and membership desks, coatroom, gift shop, and library.
The second story houses the memorial portions, the art gallery, the upper half of the auditorium, and offices. The basement houses classrooms, a children’s exhibition, a history museum, and a gathering area.
The building’s main face is divided into two pieces. On the black half, the entrance doors are located, while on the white half, the exit doors are located. Between the two portions of the main front, there are things that look like torches. The main entrance is on the northeast side of a small parking lot on a short lane. A wooded slope separates the museum from I-94. As a result, no one can view the entire front from any vantage point.
The museum sits in Skokie’s northwest corner, west of the Edens Expressway (I-94). The closest exit is Old Orchard Road. To the east of the museum lies an abandoned railroad right of way. The right of way for a proposed CTA Yellow Line extension, which would include a new terminal station near the museum, is now being assessed. The museum is served by several bus lines, including the CTA’s 205 and 54A, as well as Pace’s 208 and 422.
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