February 22, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC—The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum announced today that it will travel a time capsule to communities across the nation to collect messages from Holocaust survivors who have donated personal artifacts to the Museum’s collection. Following the tour, the time capsule will be placed on display in the Museum’s new David and Fela Shapell Family Collections and Conservation Center. The state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to open in 2017. The time capsule will be opened in 2043 on the Museum’s 50th anniversary.
“Every day the Museum engages in a battle to rescue truth and keep Holocaust memory alive—a battle that will only intensify with each passing year,” says Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “That’s why the Shapell Center is a building for the ages. It’s a gift to the future—about humanity for humanity. Having survivors who have entrusted us with their personal treasures include their message to future generations is an important part of that gift.”
The Shapell Center will reflect the highest standards for preservation featuring specialized laboratories, vaults with a variety of microclimates, and dedicated spaces for researchers, serving as a dynamic hub for education and scholarship. It will accommodate the Museum’s growing collection of evidence of the Holocaust, which is expected to double in size in the next ten years.
To date, the Museum’s collections encompass more than 18,000 objects, averaging two dozen new items weekly; some 95 million pages of archival documents, plus 190 million digital images from the International Tracing Service (ITS); more than 100,000 historic photographs and images, of which almost 31,000 are available on the Museum’s website; more than 15,000 oral testimonies of survivors as well as witnesses and perpetrators; more than 985 hours of historical film footage; and more than 107,000 books and other published materials in 61 languages.
As the window of opportunity to collect these fragile materials closes, the Museum has intensified its efforts, actively collecting in 50 countries on six continents. “The Holocaust was a worldwide event and we need to be able to tell this story from every perspective,” Bloomfield says. “Our institution focuses not only on how but also on why the Holocaust happened and was allowed to happen. At a time of rising hate and antisemitism, extremist ideologies and violence, these lessons could not be more relevant.”
Beyond preservation, the Museum is working to make the collection accessible to the public. “Our goal is to digitize everything and put it up on the Internet so that it’s available to anyone, anywhere,” Bloomﬁeld continues. “Not only are these collections a permanent rejoinder to deniers, they deepen our understanding and are the building blocks of how we teach this history.”
Building the Shapell Family Collections and Conservation Center is part of the Museum’s $540 million campaign, led by honorary chair Elie Wiesel, that will enable the Museum to make critical investments to keep Holocaust memory alive as a relevant, transformative force in the 21st century. In addition to the Shapell Center and a stronger endowment, the campaign will create increased annual funds to take the lessons of the Holocaust to a global audience and inspire new generations to create societies where hate can’t flourish.
The time capsule will begin its journey this month in Florida, with additional tour stops in California, Illinois, and New York before returning to Washington, DC.
Content from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Originally published at https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/museum-launches-national-tour-of-time-capsule-with-messages-from-holocaust