The somber, sobering Holocaust Museum is unlike any other museum in Washington D.C. In remembering the millions murdered by the Nazis, it is brutal, direct and impassioned. Its exhibits leave many visitors in tears and few unmoved. James Ingo Freed designed the extraordinary building in 1993 and its stark facade and steel-and-glass interior echo the death camps themselves.
The Holocaust Museum uses its collection of more than 12,500 artifacts to reveal the Jewish experience in three parts: Nazi Assault, Final Solution, and Last Chapter. Visitors are given the identity card of a single Holocaust victim, narrowing the scope of suffering to the individual level while paying thorough, overarching tribute to its powerful subject.
Apart from the permanent exhibits, the candlelit Hall of Remembrance is a sanctuary for quiet reflection; the Wexner Learning Center offers text archives, photographs, films and oral testimony available on touch-screen computers. If you have young children in tow (the museum recommends not bringing children 11 and under), avoid the permanent exhibits, which are very graphic; instead, opt for Remember the Children, a gentler kids' installation, on the 1st floor.
The United States Holocaust Museum is located at Raoul Wallenberg Place, near Independence Avenue, just off the National Mall. Many people want to visit this museum so expect long lines, especially during the museum’s busiest months, March through August. Expect to spend at least 2 to 3 hours at the museum. If you are bringing children, prepare them for what they will see. There’s also a cafeteria and museum shop.
Tours & Tickets
Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 1 day