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What: We will create a multi-functional facility which will act as museum, education/resource center for students and teachers, and community gathering space. Our new home will include a dynamic and interactive, multi-media exhibit, a 5,500 square foot primary exhibition hall, a 400 square foot secondary exhibition space, a state-of-the-art dedicated classroom/theater, a 500 square foot gallery, and new administrative offices.
Where: The new museum will be located on the campus of Rockland Community College, in Suffern, New York. The college serves a diverse population of almost 8,000 students and is visited by 200,000 people a year. It will be easily accessible by more than 2.5 million residents of the tri-state area, including Rockland, Orange, Bergen and Westchester Counties. The museum will be the only resource of its kind north and west of New York City.
When: We are poised to commence construction and complete this project within 18 months. We have a binding commitment for the college space and official plans for an unprecedented immersive, educational experience including advanced technology prepared by world-renowned designers and vetted by national leaders in Holocaust education. Our detailed plans are complete with approved budgets and timelines.
Why: Intolerance and hatred are as virulent as they have ever been. Antisemitism is rearing its ugly head around the world, even in countries where it recently would have been unthinkable. As happened before, politicians and rabble rousers are using religious, racial and ethnic differences to justify heinous crimes against humanity. It is more important than ever to have more people understand and learn the lessons of the Holocaust. They are relevant, and even necessary, to the safety and health of our global existence. The museum has allied with other organizations in order to share our message more broadly. It is also incumbent on us to influence a broader population in our own community. The college campus setting allows us to reach students of many backgrounds, who can become natural ambassadors for tolerance and respect. In this light, student invovlement will amplify our message and multiply our impact for good throughout the entire community.
How: We can achieve enhanced relevance and impact by interpreting the Holocaust as a human story. Victims, bystanders, perpetrators and rescuers were all human beings. The new exhibit and associated museum programs will raise ethical questions, praise rescuers as models of behavior and help people find sources of strength, hope, resilience, identity and renewal. We will view the Holocaust as more than just a historical event. By exploring the parallel experiences of other ethnic, racial and religious groups it enables us to broadcast a universal message of understanding and mutual respect for all peoples and to embrace and celebrate each other’s diversity. This new and dynamic learning experience will allow us to reach and influence many more students and other visitors’ values and their future opinions and behaviors.