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Legislative Jewish Caucus Announces Funding for Holocaust Museum LA
Published courtesy of California Legislative Jewish Caucus
October 21, 2021

Funding Will Support the Museum’s New Learning Center Pavilion; Includes Cutting-Edge Technology as Part of the Museum’s “Building Truth” Campaign.

Today, Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, announced $2.5 million in state funding to support the expansion of Holocaust Museum LA. This funding builds on $6 million that the Jewish Caucus secured for the Museum in the 2019-2020 state budget, and will support the construction of a new learning center pavilion that will enable the Museum to reach more California students—primarily from underserved communities—and create new programming for younger learners. “The Jewish Caucus is proud that the state budget includes funding to expand and enhance the critical work done by Holocaust Museum LA,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “In too many places, and especially for too many young people, the Holocaust is fading from view. At the same time, acts of antisemitism—and other forms of hatred and bigotry—are rising at an alarming rate. Education is a powerful tool, and one of the strongest antidotes to antisemitism, hatred, and bigotry of all forms.”

“I am humbled to have been able to help provide this support to Holocaust Museum Los Angeles. My constituency includes a very large number of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Every survivor I have known has enriched my life,” said Assemblymember Bloom (D-Santa Monica), “Similarly, the education and programming done by the Museum and the survivors enriches our diverse community. I am grateful for the efforts of HMLA and know that this funding will help ensure that our future generations are equipped with the historic record and tools that can be used to defend against antisemitism and bigotry.”

“The work of Holocaust Museum Los Angeles is always vital but its work feels especially timely now considering the significant uptick in anti-Semitic incidents and other hate crimes we’ve seen over the last few years,” saidSenator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), former Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “Members of the Jewish Caucus and I knew how impactful this state funding could be, and we are so pleased to be presenting this check today as we invest in a brighter,  more tolerant and understanding future for California.”

Visitors have increased by 400 percent since the Museum opened its permanent home in 2011. Holocaust Museum LA CEO Beth Kean noted, “Museum space is at capacity, particularly during school hours – and requests for student tours and public workshops continue to increase. As a result, we are forced to turn away schools and tour groups.” The expansion will allow the Museum to increase visitor capacity to 500,000 by 2030, including 150,000 students. Kean continued, “We are so grateful to the California Legislative Jewish Caucus for their advocacy work and commitment to fighting antisemitism and increasing much-needed opportunities for Holocaust education in our state.” 

In order to plan for the future and meet the increasing demands for Holocaust and genocide education and engagement, especially with the increased awareness and focus on social justice, Holocaust Museum LA is expanding its footprint and building a dedicated learning center adjacent to the existing building for specialized programs. The museum expansion will include never-before-seen exhibits and access points to history for California schools, including: the USC Shoah Foundation’s “Dimensions in Testimony” permanent exhibit that allows visitors to have a virtual conversation with a Holocaust survivor using a holographic capture and voice recognition software; a 200-seat theater for survivor talks, lectures, film screenings; two state of the art classrooms for teacher training and Holocaust education programs; 2,500 square feet for special exhibits to provide unique and timely content; an authentic boxcar found outside of Majdanek death camp in Poland; and contemplative spaces to further realize and reflect upon the knowledge and concepts students gain from tours and educational programs. The new learning center and box car pavilion will accommodate large student groups, more visitors, special exhibits, and special events.

Photo credit: Belzarch, Wikimedia Commons

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