United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is the nation’s official memorial to the Holocaust. Adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Museum provides for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. It is dedicated to helping leaders and citizens of the world confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity, and strengthen democracy.
The permanent exhibition explores modern genocide, its methods, and its effects. The visitor experience was conceived as a controlled emotional encounter, theatrically organized into three “acts” on three floors: Nazi Assault, 1933–1939; The Final Solution, 1940–1945; and Last Chapter. Large-scale objects and architectural structures provide context and convey the magnitude of the Holocaust. These evidentiary items, brought from Poland and Germany, include a section of the barracks from Auschwitz, railroad tracks from Treblinka, a Danish rescue boat, and a railcar used to transport victims to concentration camps.
RAA worked with an international team of historians, researchers, documentary filmmakers, and museum specialists. Content and exhibition designs were reviewed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, established by Congress, which comprises fifty-five private citizens appointed by the U.S. President, five members of the Senate, five members of the House of Representatives, and three ex-officio members from the Departments of State, Education, and Interior.
Opened in 1993, the museum has welcomed more than 46 million visitors. Almost thirty years later, it remains a cornerstone national institution in the quest for cultivating public tolerance and personal moral responsibility.
Size 36,000 square feet
Architect James Ingo Freed of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
AwardsAmerican Alliance of Museums (AAM), Excellence in Exhibitions Award: Top Honors, Permanent ExhibitionNational Endowment for the Arts, Federal Design Achievement Award: Winner, Best Permanent ExhibitionADC: Art Directors Club Award: Merit AwardAmerican Graphic Design Award, Grapic Design USA (GDUSA): Winner, Permanent ExhibitionThe International Design Magazine (I.D.) Annual Design Review: Best of Category, Environments / Permanent ExhibitionIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Gold, EnviromentsThe Society for Enviromental Graphic Design (SEGD) Global Design Award: Honor Award, Leisure EnvironmentsInteriors Magazine, Best in Institutional Design: Winner, Best in Institutional DesignCommunication Arts Design Award: Award of Excellence, Environmental GraphicsPRINT Regional Design Award: Winner, Certificate of Design Excellence