Holocaust Museum, Washington D.C.

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 Reviews

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  • Sculpture at rear entrance of museum
    Sculpture at rear entrance of museum
    by starship
  • Engraving outside of museum
    Engraving outside of museum
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  • Museum Main Entrance
    Museum Main Entrance
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  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    Holocaust Museum

    by GentleSpirit Written Jan 14, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Holocaust Museum

    You are walking toward the Tidal Basin. In front of you is the Jefferson Memorial, behind you is the Washington Memorial. Off in the distance you can see the Lincoln. Neo-classical facades everywhere and the most well known of Washington landmarks. Right next to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving is the National Holocaust Museum.

    Visiting this museum is a powerful experience, intensely emotional and so sad. This museum honors the memory of those that died in Holocaust during World War II. Give yourself a few hours here. They do not recommend allowing children under 11 to visit the permanent exhibition. If you are claustrophobic it will also be very difficult to go through this museum.

    May through August you will need a timed pass. Entrance is free.

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    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    by starship Updated Nov 9, 2013

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sculpture at rear entrance of museum
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    When the opportunity for a day trip to Washington, D.C. was presented, we both knew immediately that visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was tops on our list. Thanks to the website we knew roughly where the museum was located, but we didn't know that entry was based upon obtaining the free, but timed tickets required March - August and even then only a certain number of these tickets are distributed each day.

    Arriving around 11 a.m., we stood in line for about 20 minutes before receiving our timed ticket which would gain us the scheduled admission time at 1:45pm. Having too much time to wait before then and not having enough time to reach Union Station to have lunch, we opted for a light lunch at the Holocaust Museum Cafe just next door.

    Prior to our visit to this museum I had read a good deal over the years and had seen many, many documentaries about the Holocaust -- the persecution and annihilation of European Jews (but also Gypsies, many Catholics, Poles, the disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, political dissidents, and Soviet prisoners of war) by Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945.

    Beginning on the first floor, visitors can walk through an exhibit room entitled, "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story," which we unfortunately did not see. This exhibition was designed primarily for children.

    We began our tour on the upper level; to reach that section of the museum, a docent will guide you to the elevators and give you a brief introduction. It is also at this point where you can pick up a little booklet which resembles a passport though it is an "Identification Card" and features one victim of the Holocaust, their story and what happened to him or her.

    Throughout the museum's 4 main floors, the permanent exhibitions seek to enlighten the visitor on many levels: the history leading up to the outbreak of WWII, and the criminalization and dehumanization of targeted groups and individuals; the realization of the Nazis' plans for the "final solution" through deportation, labor & concentration camps, gas chambers, medical experimentation and murder; the personal devastation to families and individual's; and where the world stands today in regards to antisemitism and genocide.

    Each film, each photo, each display of real artifacts from the places and belonging to those persecuted was a sobering testimony to the pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, of the people who perished and even of those who survived. I found the portraits of Holocaust victims and videos particularly moving. The piles of shoes, suitcases, personal effects, etc., and the railroad cars were also extremely thought provoking. The "Hall of Remembrance" on the second floor seemed such a fitting closure to visiting this museum.

    Only a little over a week after returning from visiting this museum, a holocaust survivor came to the university where I work to speak of her experiences and what happened to her family. She has since written a book about it.

    I found that the only two very disappointing aspects of this museum: that no photography was allowed inside; and, that the enormous crowds made it incredibly difficult to see displays and films. Corridors were very congested and filming rooms exceeding their intended capacity to overflowing. Some film/videos shown on small screens and sheltered from small childrens' views by half walls were totally impossible to see because you could not get a place at the half wall to view them due to intense crowding. Some of the visitors were really obnoxious!

    Lesson learned: arrive as early as possible to avoid crowds but this may not be possible -- visiting in the off season may be the best option!

    The Museum has a gift shop on the main floor just off the lobby which had few nice things but I only bought a couple of postcards as souvenirs ($1 ea.) for myself and a friend. As with all museum gift shops, items were over-priced.

    Important information for visitors: (This information from the museum website)


    ~ No photography or cell phone use is permitted!!
    ~ The museum is open every day except Yom Kippur and Christmas Day.
    ~ Timed passes are required from March through August -- other months passes are not required. Advance tickets may be available online.
    ~ Hours: Regular Hours;
    Permanent and Special Exhibitions: 10 a.m.–5:20 p.m.*
    Hall of Remembrance: 10 a.m.–5:10 p.m.
    Museum Shop: 10 a.m.–5:20 p.m.
    Museum Cafe: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
    Library: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday (closed all federal holidays)
    Archives: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday (closed all federal holidays)

    Extended Hours:
    March 25–June 7, 2013, Monday–Friday
    Permanent and Special Exhibitions: 10 a.m.–6:20 p.m.*
    Hall of Remembrance: 10 a.m.–6:10 p.m.
    Museum Shop: 10 a.m.–6:20 p.m.
    Museum Cafe: 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Library: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday (closed all federal holidays)
    Archives: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday (closed all federal holidays)

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  • Taffster's Profile Photo

    Holocaust Museum

    by Taffster Written Jun 19, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was a personal must due to college studies on the subject. I didn't think that the museum was suitable for young children but if you are able to sufficiently explain questions that they may pose and are comfortable to be answering them, then fine. Don't get me wrong, I fully believe that children sould be educated about the past but I just felt that this particular museum was more sutable for adults who can comprehend the events a bit more.

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  • Holocaust Museum

    by Emily0924 Written Jun 10, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the most beautifully designed museums I have ever visited, the Holocaust Museum takes you (painfully) through every step of the tragedy. I particularly remember a room you can sit in and listen to recordings of survivers telling their stories and a several-storey space that houses photographs of people from an entire town that was wiped out by the nazis. More emotional than all the movies made about the holocaust combined.

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  • staindesign's Profile Photo

    Holocaust Museum

    by staindesign Written Aug 17, 2013

    The Holocaust Museum is remarkable. 4 floors of anything and everything you'd ever want to know about that time in history. The permanent exhibit requires tickets, therefore stop in to get your tickets before the time you wish to tour the museum. Apparently, that is the best manor in which they can control the crowds. I found that it was packed and difficult to enjoy bc the groups entering at the designated times were so congested. While you are waiting to get into the main exhibit. there are 2 rotating exhibits to see. The current exhibit that is in the basement was the most interesting and moving in the entire place for me. They showed videos of the Jewish survivors explaining their experiences. They told stories about how their friends and neighbors would turn them in. And how some people would risk their own lives to save them.

    The entire experience will take about 3-4 hrs.

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  • razorbacker's Profile Photo

    Never Again.

    by razorbacker Updated Sep 22, 2013
    Western facade of Museum.

    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Quite informative and somber museum dedicated to educating the public as to the events leading to the Holocaust, the actual events during the Holocaust, and attempts to prevent such events from ever recurring.

    I did not learn much I did not already know, but that is because I have studied these events in depth previously. It is amazing that human beings can degenerate to the point that they do such things to other human beings, but history is replete with examples of this sort of depravity and inhumanity.

    And as George Santayana noted, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    Think it can't happen in the United States? Think again. Abortion is the first step.

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