After two years of construction and $34 million, Holocaust Museum Houston, Lester and Sue Smith Campus reopened in June at its original location at 5401 Caroline St.
In becoming one of the top Holocaust museums in the country, the organization has broadened its mission as a super-regional hub for Holocaust education and a national voice for human rights and social justice.
More than doubling in size to a total of 57,000 square feet, the new facility ranks as the nation's fourth largest Holocaust museum and is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. The new three-story structure houses a welcome center, four permanent galleries and two changing exhibition galleries, classrooms, a research library, café, 187-seat indoor theater and 175-seat outdoor amphitheater.
More than 50 screens, mini theaters and interactive terminals are featured throughout the museum.
The permanent Holocaust exhibit includes such rare artifacts as a fishing boat like those used by Danish fishermen to ferry Jewish neighbors to neutral territory under cover of night, as well as a World War II-era railcar like the ones that transported Jews to concentration camps and killing centers.
The Human Rights Gallery features educational displays of all United Nations-recognized genocides as well as tributes to international human rights leaders including Malala Yousafzai and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. The museum debuted the nation's largest collection of artwork by Holocaust survivor and painter Samuel Bak, with more than 130 works in exhibition rotation.
Finally, an interactive media display brings to life the writings of 12 young diarists, including Anne Frank, who died in genocides around the world. The Diaries Gallery is the only one of its kind in the United States.
The museum has two touring exhibitions. On view through Feb. 16, 2020, in the Mincberg Gallery is Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields / Revolución en los Campos, the bilingual exhibition exploring Huerta’s public life as an activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, and what led her to become a Latina civil rights icon. The exhibition is a collaboration with Smithsonian Institution and the National Portrait Gallery.
Dolores Huerta will feature reproductions of historic and personal photographs and graphic elements as well as a free, user-friendly mobile tour smartphone app featuring interviews with Huerta and a short bilingual documentary video. Houston artist Ignacio E. Sanchez created a mural inspired by Huerta and her work, to be featured in the exhibition.
The museum’s smaller Spira Central Gallery features Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, on view through Jan. 5, 2020. A selection of more than 50 of the photographer’s own visual memoirs of his time in the civil rights movement captures both brutal encounters and prayerful moments.
From Bob Dylan and U.S. Congressman John Lewis to Martin Luther King, Jr. and everyday citizens standing up for their rights, Lyon helped define a mode of photojournalism in which the picture-maker is deeply and personally embedded in his subjects. He dedicated himself to chronicling social movements.
Admission is free for children and students (which includes college students with a valid college ID), $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, active duty military and AARP members.
As a member of the Houston Museum District Association, the museum waives admission from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Thursday.
The museum’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more details, visit hmh.org.