>Visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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