Renderings of New Holocaust Museum in Orlando reveal “Beacon of Light” Dedicated to Survivor and Witness Testimonies

Mon, 04/18/2022 - 11:50am

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida (HMREC) has unveiled architectural renderings of the new Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity in Orlando, Florida that will be the world’s first Holocaust museum designed around survivor and witness testimonies.

USC Shoah Foundation serves as a content and creative partner in the development of the new museum, the first time the Institute has teamed with a Holocaust Museum to design and implement a ground-up and permanent museum-wide exhibition.

Housed in a landmark lakefront structure in downtown Orlando, the new museum will not be a history lesson in artifacts, timelines, and numbers. Its strength will come from the way Holocaust history is revealed through the voices of survivors.

“This museum will serve as a literal beacon of light for all who visit—shining a spotlight on issues that can divide us so we can seek ways to create a world free of all forms of hatred, bigotry, and prejudice,” said Monte Starr, president of the HMREC Board of Directors. 

Ellen Wise Lang, past president of the HMREC Board of Directors, said the design of the new museum “embodies the imperative of survivors, including my mother, Tess Wise, founder of the Holocaust Center, to learn from the Holocaust in order to prevent such an event from ever happening to anyone again.”

“It’s a memorial to those who perished in the form of the beacon to the world that can create hope for a better future...Preserving the past to protect the future," she added.

The new museum will include innovative exhibits such as Dimensions in Testimony, pioneered by USC Shoah Foundation, which enables visitors to ask questions to specially recorded interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors and hear real-time responses in lifelike conversation. 

Dr. Kori Street, Interim Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation, explained the reason for the museum’s focus on survivor and witness testimonies.

“Storytelling is one of the oldest educational tools; it is a universal language. Building a museum with testimony integrated into the fiber of its being, with connection and interactivity woven in, will revolutionize museum experience and ensure lasting relevance of the stories of the Holocaust for generations of visitors.”

The centerpiece of the 43,000-square-foot museum, which has an estimated construction budget of $45 million, will be luminous at night symbolizing a beacon for humanity. Encompassing it is a dramatic ramp bathed in natural light that wraps around a cylindrical auditorium. The ramp will connect and create a continuation of exhibition space across two levels, with the largest single exhibit area being more than 12,000 square-feet providing a unique venue. The open end includes a large, glazed aperture—a window of hope.

Images of the new museum are available at