>Visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum


Last weekend we had a friend in town, and despite the snow storm on Saturday, we made the trek into D.C. to spend the afternoon at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.


I have to admit, this museum hasn’t been high on my list to visit.  It’s one that though I wanted to experience, I knew it would be emotional and other D.C. sites always seemed to take precedence.  But my friend requested this museum, and frankly, it made a lot of sense to go on a snowy day.  The bitter weather of the day ended up being eerily appropriate for the subject.

I am still in awe of the experience.  I had no idea the museum was so well-designed.  It opened in 1993, before great design was really on my radar, so I never really knew what I was missing.  It was designed by James Ingo Freed, and as far as museums go, this was one of the best I have ever visited.  We spent three hours there, only in the permanent collection (there is a current exhibit there about Propaganda) and I think I read almost every placard.  I learned an incredible amount in such a short period, and I was emotionally drained.

There’s no photography allowed in the actual exhibits, but I was able to snap a few of the transitional spaces, which I think are really important to the impact of the museum.  This museum was really well-conceived.  Even on a snowy, winter day, there were a lot of visitors.  It’s not technically their high season (which is from March to August when passes are required) so I was amazed at how many other folks were present.

Without further adieu, here are some of my photos.  These next few are from the light-well in the center of the building.  Again, the snow was strangely appropriate when thinking of the conditions of the Holocaust.



This one is looking down into the lower entrance level.  I couldn’t get over those guys in uniform (see below, on the stairs).  I thought they were character actors from the time-period and I was trying to figure out what the uniform might be representing.  I finally asked one of them where they were from.  Turns out they go to West Point and they were at the museum on a field trip.  Whoops.




You see all these roofs from the walkway in between the levels, and incredible reminder of the many European cities affected by the Holocaust.

I wish I could have taken photos of some of the exhibits, but all I can say is that if you have time in D.C., this is a must-visit.  I’m really glad we were convinced to go.

Here are a few other photos of the snow in Alexandria this week, as I brace for the impending blizzard this weekend.  Maybe I’ll get to blog some more, but only after I dig myself out of the closet I plan to reorganize tonight.  I would show you “before” photos, but I’m too embarrassed of its state, so I’ll just blame the poor lighting conditions.




The one above is my office, and that loading dock leads to the Ice House, which back in the day used to store ice.  Now it stores old drawings.



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