Students and scholars across Florida will soon be able to access The Florida Holocaust Museum’s digital collections of art, historical objects and first-person testimony. The FHM has signed a three-year agreement with USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education that will significantly extend the reach and impact of both institutions’ educational work.
The Memorandum of Understanding between The FHM and the Institute – which is part of the University of Southern California – spells out the following key initiatives that, pending funding, are set to launch in July:
Preserving the Legacy: The FHM collection of testimonies will be one of the first to be entrusted to USC Shoah Foundation under the recently launched Preserving the Legacy, an initiative that uses the Institute’s state-of-the-art infrastructure to digitize, index and integrate Holocaust testimonies taken by other organizations around the world into the Visual History Archive, the Institute’s vast repository of 53,000 genocide testimonies.
The process will maintain the provenance of the testimonies as an important part of The FHM collection while at the same time ensuring that they will be preserved in perpetuity and made available to all worldwide users of the Visual History Archive, extending the reach of The FHM collection dramatically.
Providing Access: Through this program, The FHM will become an access point for the Visual History Archive in Florida, making the 53,000 audiovisual testimonies available for research and education. This will make The FHM a leading resource for scholars and educators alike, and the 54th access site to the Visual History Archive.
Enhancing Education: Under the agreement, the two institutions will embark on a number of projects that leverage the strengths of The FHM’s programs and expertise and those of the Institute. First, the initiative will realize the integration of The FHM’s substantial visual art collection into IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s educational website.
The addition of The FHM’s visual art collection will become a new feature to IWitness. As The FHM testimonies are integrated into the Visual History Archive, they will also be integrated into IWitness, providing more local resources for the Florida education environment, and also making those voices heard across all the environments IWitness reaches.
Leveraging The FHM’s leadership, educational staff members from The FHM and USC Shoah Foundation will collaborate to develop curriculum specifically to meet the standards and needs of Florida classrooms. Using The FHM’s testimonies, the team of education experts will build learning activities in IWitness, as well an offline activity. These branded activities will provide much-needed resources for Holocaust education in the state of Florida, as well as expand the educational programming The FHM offers to a worldwide audience.
Evaluating Impact: The program will also include a robust evaluation and research program that will contribute to a deeper understanding of the impact of testimonies and Holocaust education.