St. Louis Holocaust Museum Plans $18 Million Expansion
The St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center will begin an $18 million expansion starting in May and ending in 2021.
Sandra Harris, executive director of the museum, said the main goal of the expansion is to encourage more diversity among the museum’s visitors.
Right now, Harris said due to lack of advertising and awareness with the museum, the visitors are mainly school groups who request to visit the museum, and the museum has 30,000 visitors a year.
She also said the expansion will allow them to host larger groups.
“We absolutely hope that having this bigger space and easier visitor experience, everything from how you get here to parking, that more and more people will want to come,” Harris said. “We didn’t have a lot of extra space. When we bring groups through, sometimes it can be difficult for a lot of people to view things.”
Harris said the expansion’s design will triple the space of the museum. She said more space will allow people to explore in lots of physical directions.
Harris said she also hopes the expansion will keep people informed about the Holocaust. She said the Holocaust story, regardless to how it is taught, is not finished.
“We are going to be able to add to the story,” Harris said. “Our focus is really that we’re telling the story and we’re using a lot of firsthand accounts.”
Harris said some of those accounts include a collection of more than 350 recorded oral histories from Holocaust survivors.
“We think that hearing the stories of the survivors is really important,” she said. “Because it’s much bigger, the exhibition will be able to have more and different artifacts that we can change in and out and be able to tell different stories at different times.”
Laura Marie Coverstone, language arts teacher, took some of her students to the Holocaust Musuem this past Monday.
“There’s just something so personal about the Holocaust Museum experience and walking that journey through the exhibit and really challenging yourself to be a better person and find ways to squash hate in our society today,” she said.
Coverstone is looking forward to the expansion of the museum.
Talia Wallerstein, sophomore, is Jewish and visited the museum at a minimum of two times when she was younger.
Wallerstein said the Holocaust can sometimes be hard to talk about.
“It’s a sensitive topic sometimes for certain people, especially when their family has been affected in the past by the Holocaust,” Wallerstein said. “But it’s a really great experience to learn about so you can educate future generations.”
Although Wallerstein’s family moved to America before they could be affected by the Holocaust, the tragedy still left an impact on her.
“In schools, it’s not really talked about that as much as it should be because it was a huge disaster,” she said. “It should be talked about more because if it’s not talked about now, then who’s going to be alive at the point when you have to teach younger generations about it?”
Joshua Hyde, social studies teacher, said information about Holocaust survivors, especially firsthand accounts, is becoming sparse and much more difficult to access.
“As we get further and further from that event in history, it absolutely will be harder because you’re going to have the survivors, and even family members of the survivors, that’ll begin to pass away,” Hyde said. “There may be certain things that go unrecorded because people simply don’t ask the questions anymore.”
The expansion includes a new museum and will be located in the Millstone Campus, which is northeast of Lindbergh Boulevard and Schuetz Road. More information is posted at hmlc.org.
Ella Musial, junior, is a staff reporter for the Messenger. She is a member of the Anime Club. Ella was in Treble Choir during her freshman and sophomore...