Visualizing the Holocaust: The Perceived Benefits and Concerns of Including Holocaust Atrocity Images in Museum Exhibits
Mulder, Mark Alan
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The Association of Holocaust Organizations (AHO) is an organization of 150 members in the United States spread over 37 states and the District of Columbia. With this proliferation of Holocaust organizations, came an important question: How should the Holocaust be represented on the walls and galleries of such organizations? There was a large body of research about Holocaust history and education, as well as Holocaust atrocity photography, Holocaust representation, and the role of imagery in collective memory. However, there appeared to be little consensus about the issue of Holocaust representation in museums, and in particular, the use of graphic or violent Holocaust atrocity images. This qualitative study examined the practices and opinions toward the exhibition of Holocaust atrocity images by professionals who worked in Holocaust institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The study found that professionals working in the field largely believed that the use of Holocaust atrocity images was important to the teaching of the Holocaust. However, the research also showed that there were big concerns about who would see these images, how often, and the effects Holocaust atrocity images had on visitors. This study provided important factors for exhibit designers and developers to consider when deciding to exhibit or not exhibit Holocaust atrocity images.
- Museology