As our program has grown we have been fortunate to add many exciting aspects of museum studies. Our students have opportunities to intern in museums, and each year we work to provide them with opportunities to curate special projects and traveling exhibits.
In 2014, our students worked with the Carl Lutz Foundation to create a traveling exhibit, which presents different ways to teach the Holocaust to multi-cultural audiences around the world. One of six selected students, Stacey Campbell, shared the experience of participating in this special program, saying:
“This semester six students were given the opportunity to develop educational lesson plans inspired by the story of Carl Lutz. Our journey began on the 25th of March when we were fortunate enough to have Tami Rich, an expert on museums, lead a daylong seminar. Tami helped us design lesson plans and guided us through the creation of our posters. Though this day was at times frustrating, it was extremely informative and we each learned an immense amount about education and how to present information. This seminar was followed up by another meeting two weeks later that helped us put the finishing touches to our lesson plans. During the Passover break, we were able to work on the creation of our posters with the help of graphic designer Orly Hatzofe. This process was both extremely intense and stimulating. Through several adjustments and editions, we each created our final posters.
Flash forward to the first of May and it’s the day of our presentations. Both the Swiss Ambassador and the head of history for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came to the University to oversee the opening of the exhibition. Our day began with an interesting panel discussion that detailed current Holocaust education in Switzerland and humanistic education within Israel. However, the most fascinating panel session featured Agnes Hirschi, the step daughter of Carl Lutz. She told us a personal story of her father in a way that enabled us understand the rescue operation on a more individual level. This was inspirational, and it allowed us all to see the importance of using his story in an educational environment.
Throughout this process, I learned a lot about the curating and museum studies. As an aspiring Holocaust educator, this was an invaluable experience for me. I’m extremely grateful that we were given this opportunity, and I am very proud to have been part of it.“
This year our students also have the opportunity to work with Tami Rich in a special project at Atlit Detention Center Heritage Site. Its aim is to introduce students to the world of historical representation in exhibition and museum spaces. The course is comprised of three main components, designed to develop curatorial skills in the historical space.
The first module will explore the historical background of Holocaust survivors’ struggle to immigrate and integrate into the Land Of Israel, after the war. Students will study the period of Aliyah B, with an emphasis on the Ha’apalah Movement under the British Mandate and the Zionist Movements’ involvement in leading the refugees to settle in Palestine. The second and third components of this course will focus on developing practical skills in curating museum exhibitions. Students will learn a variety of methods essential for working in museum spaces.
From conservation of objects and artifacts, to developing exhibition spaces in both museums and heritage sites, students will gain a solid set of skills required for pursuing a career in this type of institution. Throughout the semester, students will be required to develop either an educational program to accompany an exhibition at the Atlit Detention Camp Heritage Site, or design a new exhibition space for designated areas of the camp. Additionally, each student will develop an exhibition-style poster, representing the key aspects of their project. Students will present their program at a public event at the conclusion of the semester.
Our students also have the opportunity to learn about museums through the course ” Holocaust Museums: Three Continents, Three Generations” taught by Dr. Stephanie Shosh Rotem. The course will explore the history, exhibitions, and design of various Holocaust museums around the world as well as their social, cultural and political agendas. This examination will reveal their role and responsibility in Holocaust commemoration. Throughout the semester the course will also welcome museum practitioners from around the world who will present their work and point of view, and lead discussions concerning the most pressing issues and dilemmas of Holocaust commemoration in museums. This unique course will allow students to better understand the different ways museums present information, and the challenge of working with different narratives. You can read the course syllabus here.
Since our first year, we have had multiple students interning in museums across the country. You can read about Paul’s internship at Yad Vashem here.
We have loved watching many of our students receive jobs from these internships, or because of this work experience. We are proud to provide an MA program that helps our students as they pursue jobs in Holocaust museums.
Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program? You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/