New museum installations around the world are meant to encourage the public to notice the connection between the atrocities of the Holocaust and other current events. Creators of these exhibitions hope to personalize the story of the Holocaust.
According to Jacobs [educator and leader], there is a need for Holocaust museums to “expand the narrative” to meet increased public demand and encourage people to become upstanders — those who stand up for victims.
Contrary to a frequently heard claim, there is not widespread “Holocaust fatigue” among the public, said Jacobs. Museums are receiving a record number of visitors, and requests for Shoah education from schools is exceeding the available supply of specialized teachers and other resources, he said.
To perpetuate Holocaust memory, the next generation of museums is symbolically connecting the genocide to events that took place in — for instance — southeast Texas, or on the streets of Skokie, Illinois. For museums built far from Europe, this shift helps localize, and personalize, the narrative of the Holocaust, said Jacobs.