As a former Board member of the Holocaust Museum and continued event patron, I recently attended the Triumph Awards and celebration of the museum’s 15th Anniversary. This sold out
event was engaging as well as inspirational.
The honorees this year were Jack and F. E. Nortman. The Nortman family is responsible for the Boxcar Foundation and loaning it to the museum. The Boxcar is an iconic symbol used as a visual aid in sharing the history of the Holocaust and evoking a visceral response to its significance. The Boxcar can be viewed at the museum but it is also transported to various schools locally and beyond. Additionally there is a small portable traveling exhibit from the museum’s collection that is taken to schools, libraries, and other community locations.
Established over 10 years ago the museum’s oral/visual history project has recorded the personal stories of over 85 Holocaust survivors and World War II liberators residing in Southwest Florida.
The newest educational initiative is the “5-8-10 Program” which partners with the Collier County Public School System. By featuring an age appropriate curriculum the plan is to connect with students at the 5th, 8th and 10th grade level.
Museum programs are designed to educate visitors about the consequences of hate and how one person can alter the pattern
of intolerance and apathy. The significance of the Holocaust Museum and the educational programs are not that a history lesson is told, as it’s much bigger than that. It is about turning our backs to ugly realities and doing nothing, it is about the human spirit never giving up and the desire to survive. This isn’t “just” a Jewish history lesson it is a human history lesson which has affected all of us past, present and if we’re not careful, in our future If you haven’t visited the museum you should, if you haven’t supported their educational programs, you can. Call Amy Snyder their Executive Director at 239.263.9200 and ask how you can sponsor a child or a teacher.