News Release


£800,000 grant adds to the £3.4 million already raised to expand the Museum’s unique community with a new ecosystem of physical & digital experiences

The National Holocaust Centre and Museum is delighted to announce this £800,000 Heritage Fund grant, bringing the total funds raised to the £4.2million required to implement Phase One of a major redevelopment. The other two lead donors are Arts Council England and our longstanding partner the Pears Foundation. Some 40 foundations, trusts and individuals have generously contributed, many of whom have also supported the Museum for many years. Work starts in January 2023 and ends Spring 2024. It will create 8 new features, including a brand new Broadcast Hub, Collections Store and expanded version of The Journey exhibition containing Holocaust museum world-firsts.

The Museum is now over a quarter of century old. The Redevelopment will actively grow its reach in its next 25 years. The recruiting hook is its warm, positive community spirit. By opening up its community to a larger and more diverse audience, more often, it is addressing three problems:

  1. Too little school curriculum time for Holocaust education. It is losing pace to radicalising influences outside the classroom, especially rising Holocaust distortion and anti-Jewish racism.
  2. School teachers are nervous to teach the Holocaust despite the statutory requirement.
  3. Engaging all backgrounds and faiths helps rebuild shared citizenship values in the face of divisions opened by Brexit, immigration, Covid and the Cost of Living crisis.

In 2019-20, school feedback and formal visitor research by Focus Consulting identified the appeal  and effectiveness of the Museum’s friendly sense of community. It is grounded in rigorous Dialogic Learning principles (learning through two-way conversation and questions) — a proven technique for increasing the amount of knowledge a student acquires. As such, this Redevelopment will use new technologies and additional new staff to expand the friendly, conversational experience, conveying the hard facts of the Holocaust in a bigger ‘safe space’ across physical & digital channels.

The 4 pedagogic objectives of the Redevelopment based on this ‘Community’ USP are:

  1. To communicate the memory of the Holocaust for a contemporary purpose: to grow a community of critical thinkers, able to question the stereotypes and conspiracy theories which drive racist hate. Critical thinking about the Holocaust and the 2,000 year continuum of anti-Jewish ‘othering’ at its root, and which persists today, is a transferrable citizenship skill. It can and should be used to deconstruct all types of misinformation-based racism.
  2. To redefine the concept of a museum as a living conversation. Not lecturing the visitor but using interactive experiences to invite their participation and questions.
  3. To keep Holocaust survivor testimony as the key stimulus for this conversation. It is essential to bring the incomprehensible enormity of the Holocaust down to a level of personal storytelling that invites empathy.

Furthermore, to do so in the visual & verbal language of now, rejecting traditional pre-internet Holocaust museology and ensuring accessibility for audiences born generations later.

  1. To add the ‘Why' to the ‘What’ of the Holocaust. Conventional teaching is limited to 1933-45. This allows the Holocaust to be seen as an inexplicable one-off, when it is in fact the darkest chapter of an ongoing story. Over the next 25 years, our exhibition and education programmes will join the dots. They will shed more light on the perpetrators as well as survivors and victims, highlighting that they were all ordinary people, motivated by a violent anti-Jewish belief system that began with the advent of Christianity, has never gone away and  is strongly evident today.

The 4 commercial objectives of the Redevelopment are:

  1. INCREASE VOLUME of on-site footfall by 50% and online outreach by 400% over three years.
  2. INCREASE FREQUENCY with physical & virtual experiences in Membership packages.
  3. CREATE NEW REVENUE STREAMS with innovations including the above as well as things like twilight and Saturday opening, to improve our financial resilience for the post-Survivor era.
  4. ATTRACT DISTRIBUTION & CO-CREATION PARTNERS for our content in UK and internationally. More collaboration is needed in the Holocaust museum and education sector.

Two subsequent phases of redevelopment will complete an unrivalled ecosystem of physical and digital experiences. They will round off the process of reimagining the physical site as the beating heart of a digitally distributed network of online experiences, outreach and partnerships with other museums.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

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