The Museum of Tolerance

Saturday, 11 January 2014 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Greater Los Angeles Area, Museums, Exhibitions
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles © Cbl62/cc-by-sa-3.0

Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles © Cbl62/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Museum of Tolerance (MOT), a multimedia museum in Los Angeles, is designed to examine racism and prejudice in the United States and the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust. Established in 1993, as the educational arm of human rights organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, MOT also deals with atrocities in Cambodia and Latin America, besides issues like bullying and hate crimes. The MOT has an associated museum and professional development multi-media training facility in New York City.

The museum receives 350,000 visitors annually, about a third of which are school-age children. The museum’s most talked-about exhibit is “The Holocaust Section”, where visitors are divided into groups to take their own place in some of the events of World War II. These experiences are then discussed afterwards. The museum also testimonies of Holocaust survivors, often from live volunteers who tell their stories and answer questions. People also get cards with pictures of Jewish children on them and at the end of the museum trip, it is revealed whether the child on the card survived or died in the Holocaust.

In addition, the museum features a “Tolerancenter” that discusses issues of prejudice in everyday life, a Multimedia Learning Center, Finding Our Families-Finding Ourselves, a collection of archives and documents, various temporary exhibits such as Los Angeles visual artist Bill Cormalis Jr’s “A” Game In The B Leagues,” which documents through paintings, the Civil Rights movement during the segregation of colored people in Major League Baseball, and an Arts and Lectures Program. One of the primary criticisms of the Museum of Tolerance is that its exhibits use excessive multimedia technology to appeal to and manipulate the emotions of children. The museum uses fast-paced skits, dioramas, films, and interactive computer-controlled exhibits in an effort to make an emotional impact on visitors. For most of the tour, actual historical artifacts are absent, and a select few are shown at the end.

In 2005, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced plans to construct a Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity in Jerusalem by destroying the historic Mamilla Cemetery. a Muslim burial ground that goes back well over a thousand years.

While the location of the MOT-Jerusalem has elicited the most media attention, architectural, archaeological and social critiques have accompanied the project throughout its course. Haaretz architecture critic Esther Zandberg has critiqued the location of an ostentatious Frank Gehry (who stepped back from the project in 2010) design at the heart of Jerusalem, arguing that Jerusalem is not Bilbao. Others have expressed concern over the focus of the museum on tolerance amongst Jews, rather than tolerance between Jews and Arabs. The plan has been severely criticized by both Israelis and Palestinians. Construction had been stayed several times by the courts before allowing it to continue.

Read more on Museum of Tolerance and Wikipedia Museum of Tolerance.




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