On March 10th, 2015, our students participated in an exciting seminar at Atlit Heritage Site. Seven of our students were selected to present original museum plans after completing a course called “Training in Curating” with museum educator Tami Rich. The project aimed to familiarize students with conceptual and practical aspects of historical representation at a heritage site such as Atlit, while providing them with a unique opportunity for practical experience in curating.
The course was comprised of three main components, designed to develop curatorial skills in the historical space. First, students explored the historical background of Holocaust survivors’ struggle to immigrate and integrate into the Land Of Israel, after the war. The second and third components of this course focused on developing practical skills in curating museum exhibitions in which students learned a variety of methods essential for working in museum spaces.
The students then developed either an educational program to accompany an exhibition at the Atlit Detention Camp Heritage Site, or designed a new exhibition space for designated areas of the camp. Finally, each student created an exhibition-style poster, representing the key aspects of their project, which were presented in this daylong seminar.
The day began with a lecture about the importance of memorial sites, and historical significance of Atlit, given by Omri Shalmon, CEO of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. This introduction a great opening for our tour of the site’s ship, which offers an experiential visit simulating a sea voyage, that demonstrates the hardships endured by the immigrants on their way to the Land of Israel.
We then heard from Murray Greenfiel, author of “The Jews’ Secret Fleet: Untold Story of North American Volunteers Who Smashed the British Blockade” about his experience as one of the many North American Volunteers who volunteered to rescue Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and bring them to the British mandated territory of Palestine.
After an introduction from Shlomit Nemlich, Head of the Museums Department at the Israeli Ministry of Culture, our students began their presentations.
“A Journey through the Gates” was the title of Andrew Steinberg’s project, which described a photo pathway that would take visitors on a journey through the heritage site describing the different aspects of the arrival process in the places they actually took place.
Phillipa Friedland focused on the diversity of the European Jewish survivors interned in Atlit. In her presentation “Diverse Pasts, Shared Futures” she explained the challenges survivors, whom had fled from 22 different countries, face as they worked together to build the state of Israel.
Samantha Weiss provided a platform for the individual’s experience in her poster “Voices from Atlit,” which featured a potential self-guided exhibition using testimonies of formerly interned immigrants.
“Identities in Transition” was the name of Jessica Weberman’s exhibit, which featured images and plans for a potential self-guided exhibit that detailed the disinfection process in the original building at Atlit.
Janusz Flakus presented “A Musical Journey from the Debris of Jewish Life in Europe to the Land of Israel.” His project highlighted the way that drama and music can be used in education, and we are excited to share this video of Janusz’s musical demonstration:
This seminar is one of many outstanding opportunities we help to create for our students. We were so impressed by their creative and meaningful projects, and we look forward to seeing how this experience and training in museum studies will influence their future work.
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/