It’s a historic day in Dallas. Led by local Holocaust survivors and the Mayor of Dallas, the Dallas Holocaust Museum broke ground today on a new, iconic 51,000 square-foot museum in downtown Dallas. The museum will inspire new generations to advance human rights, combating prejudice, hatred, and indifference.
The new museum will open in the summer of 2019. The state-of-the-art facility will be named the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Utterly unique among the nation’s 21 Holocuast-related museums, the new Dallas museum will include an expanded examination of the Holocaust with featuring dozens of video testimonies from Dallas area survivors, along with new, in-depth technology-enriched exhibits on other genocides, human rights issues, and American ideals.
Given the increase in global, national, and local incidents of terrorist attacks, anti-Semitism, hate speech, and hate crimes, the creation of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum has never been more critical or relevant. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), 2016 was the second deadliest year for domestic extremist-related deaths in the United States since 1970—the first year ADL began recording the statistic.
Construction will commence immediately on the new museum, at 300 N. Houston Street in Dallas’ historic West End district, which will quadruple its current size, accommodate more than double the number of current visitors—half of whom will be school students—and feature a Cinemark XD 250-seat theater, two classrooms, a temperature-controlled library and archive, and a special reflection and memorial area for visitors over three floors.
“We need a place that allows us to discuss human rights, diversity, respect for others, and what that means for our city today,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “The new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will be that place. It will become a forum, right here in Dallas, to discuss the effects of hatred and how we as a community, united by understanding and acceptance, can counteract a dangerous history.”
Thanks to the tremendous work of the capital campaign chairs, Rebecca Fletcher, Frank Risch, and Ron Steinhart, the Museum met its $61 million goal and announced that it is extending its fundraising campaign to raise an additional $10 million, or a total of $71 million, to ensure institutional excellence by enhancing educational programming, hosting additional special exhibits, as well as funding for more teacher training, scholarships for students, programs fostering civil discourse and acceptance, technology upgrades, and ensuring its long-term financial stability.
“We are heartened by the tremendous support of our community and incredible donors to make this big dream a reality,” said Mary Pat Higgins, Museum President and CEO. “With our initial goal met to enable the start of construction, we are emboldened to expand our campaign to raise additional funding for enhanced educational programing and to ensure excellence in the years to come.”
Campaign Co-Chair Frank Risch said, “Achieving this major milestone of raising $61M ensures that we can build this new museum. Now, it’s time for us to continue fundraising to ensure long-term institutional excellence and financial sustainability for this first-class educational institution for which this community can be proud. With all that is going on in our world today, the need for such a facility, with its extensive educational programming, has never been greater.”
With the growing need for additional educational programming, the Museum’s expanded goal ensures excellence in the following area for decades to come:
· World-class, Holocaust and human rights-related special exhibitions
· Scholarship funds to ensure access to all students in North Texas
· Compelling programs that will foster civil discourse and acceptance of all people
· An education resource center for Texas and the surrounding states, providing curriculum training to teach difficult but all too relevant subject matters in an accurate and age-appropriate manner
· Adequate funding to maintain the facility and refresh and enhance the permanent exhibition and technology on an ongoing basis to provide a first-class visitor experience
“The new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will allow us to serve more students, teachers, and visitors than ever before, which is critical to our mission,” said Florence Shapiro, Board Chair. “Our goal, through education, is to overcome prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, and the suffering they cause.” The programs will include student outreach, curriculum for teachers, special events, and hosting prominent speakers. Independent research has shown that student attitudes and levels of tolerance are strongly impacted by visits to the Museum, and teachers have reported positive changes in student behavior following a Museum experience.
Ann and Nate Levine, major campaign donors, explained, “Hatred is spreading across the globe and targeting the most vulnerable, making it critical for institutions like the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum to teach children and adults a peaceful and tolerant approach to social interaction.”
In recognizing the contributions of the 20 local Holocaust Survivors at the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Rawlings proclaimed October 10th, 2017, “Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Day” in Dallas, and thanked the survivors for their service and devotion to Dallas and the nation.
OMNIPLAN Architects of Dallas designed the new building; the permanent exhibition is being designed by Berenbaum Jacobs Associates, under the stewardship of Michael Berenbaum, the former Project Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Washington DC Mall; the general contractor is Austin Commercial.
Campaign Gifts of $500,000 or more as of print date:
$10 Million: Ann and Nate Levine
$3 Million: Carol and Steve Aaron
$2 Million: The Brown Family; W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas
$1 Million: Anonymous (1); Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Family Foundation; Alon USA Energy, Inc.; Janet and Jeffrey Beck; Cinemark USA, Inc.; Feldman Foundation TX; The Funk Family; Estate of Lilian Furst; Glazer Family; Lisa and Neil Goldberg; Sherry and Ken Goldberg; The Haymann Family; The Hirsch Family Foundation; Lieberman-Dell Family; Louis and Arlene Navias Foundation; Barbara and Stan Rabin; Frank and Helen Risch; Simmons Sisters Fund of the Dallas Foundation; Weinreb, Glick, and Pearlman Families; Herb and Donna Weitzman; and Mark and Peggy Zilbermann
$750,000: Hillcrest Foundation
$500,000: American Airlines, Diane and Hal Brierley; The Crystal Charity Ball; Drs. Lisa and David Genecov; Elizabeth and Tom Halsey; Hamon Charitable Foundation; Lyda Hill; Hoblitzelle Foundation; The Meadows Foundation; Paul and Lee Michaels, The Moody Foundation; Katherine and Eric Reeves; Betty Regard; Deedie Rose; Larry and Celia Schoenbrun; Marianne and Roger Staubach; and M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation
About the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Independent research data show that the Museum’s educational and cultural programs have a profound effect on people of all ages. In 2016, more than 83,500 visitors toured the current Museum. Thousands of others attended Upstander Speaker events, film screenings, Civil Discourse Panel discussions, and Lunch and Learn gatherings. Exhibits and programs convey the lessons of the Holocaust including the horrors brought on by unchecked discrimination and deep-rooted hatred. Construction will start October 10, 2017, on a state-of-the-art, 51,000 square foot permanent home in the historic West End. Visitors will experience a deeper emersion into human and civil rights, their vital importance to our democracy, and the role they play in preventing events such as the Holocaust from happening again.
More information: DallasHolocaustMuseum.org or call (214) 741-7500.