One of the newest DC sightseeing destinations, The Holocaust Museum DC is the United States" national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as the national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
The experience of visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington DC was designed to be intensely moving. Everything down to the architectural details was created to evoke emotion. The outside of the building is meant to resemble a German industrial plant. Inside, James Freed"s design seems flawed: rooms do not always have right angles, and the windows are different sizes. The cracked floor, the uneven bricks used in construction, and variations in the color were all utilized to create the feel of a world gone mad, as in Nazi Germany.
At the holocaust museum DC, visitors travel aboard a cargo train, like the victims did, whilst listening to an audio montage of survivors" stories. Exhibits track the rise of the Nazi machine and, in a more positive display, the heroic efforts of others in Europe to save Jews from being caught up in the destruction. When you enter, you will be issued an identity card of an actual victim of the Holocaust; at several points in the tour, you can find out the location and status of person on your card -- by 1945, 66% of those whose lives are documented on these cards were dead.
The second floor is more upbeat: exhibits here show
how non-Jews throughout Europe saved distressed Jews,
often risking their lives to do so. Denmark -- led by a king who swore that if any of his subjects
wore a yellow star, so would he -- managed to hide and
save 90% of its Jews. Next, there are presentations on
living conditions in the camps for Displaced Persons,
the emancipation of the camps by the Allies, the exodus
of Jews to Israel and America for new life, and the long-awaited
trials for justice in Nuremberg. An outstanding part of
the exhibit at the Washington DC Holocaust Museum is the
film "Testimony" featuring storytelling by survivors of
the camps. At the end of the tour, you can pause to reflect
or light a candle in the six-sided Hall of Remembrance.
The museum notes that most people take 2 to 3 hours on
their first visit, which allows for more DC sightseeing
in the area while you are there.
The Permanent Exhibition The Holocaust is the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington DC's main exhibition and spans three floors. It offers a complete holocaust history using relics, photos, films and stories from survivors and witnesses. The tour is self-guided, but with timed tickets allowing entrance every 15 minutes, to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic and to increase the privacy of each person's experience. Every day starting at 10 a.m., tickets are distributed for the first 1500 visitors to arrive. Tickets are limited to ten per person.
The Museum is close to the National
Mall, just south of the intersection of 14th Street
and Independence Avenue, SW, and is between 14th Street
and Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, a block away from the Washington
Monument. The Washington DC holocaust museum offers
no parking lot of its own, and street parking is increasingly
limited on the mall around so many security-conscious
federal buildings. The easiest way to get to the Museum
is by cab or Metro (Washington's subway system). The closest
Metro stop is Smithsonian.