The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida (HMREC) and architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle have unveiled the design of Orlando's new Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity. The 43,000-square-foot lakefront structure will be the world’s first Holocaust museum designed around survivor and witness testimonies, serving as a distinctive destination for the region and a global point of attraction.
Unlike the majority of museums, which are often driven by artifacts, timelines, and numbers, this museum's space will be shaped by the stories and testimonies revealed by the survivors. A prominent central ramp will serve as the centerpiece of the museum, illuminated at night to symbolize a beacon for humanity. The ramp, which will be lit with natural light during the day, wraps around a cylindrical auditorium and connects to the exhibition space across two levels. The largest single exhibit area, with more than 12,000 square-feet, provides a unique venue with an open end that includes a large, glazed aperture, symbolizing a window of hope.
Storytelling is one of the oldest educational tools; it is a universal language. Building a museum with testimony integrated into the fiber of its being, with connection and interactivity woven in, will revolutionize museum experience and ensure lasting relevance of the stories of the Holocaust for generations of visitors. -- Kori Street, Finci-Viterbi Interim Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation
The window of hope is oriented towards the east, and opens towards the "Remembrance Fountain", a contemplative water feature reflecting on six million lives. As described by Hany Hassan, partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, the design reflects the museum’s mission to share and preserve the stories of the survivors, using architectural form, space, and volume to educate, engender empathy, and inspire. The museum will also include innovative exhibitions, such as Dimensions in Testimony, pioneered by USC Shoah Foundation, which enables visitors to converse and ask questions to specially-recorded interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors, and hear real-time responses.
Located on the site of the former Orlando Chamber of Commerce building at 75 South Ivanhoe Boulevard, the structure will be designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects, in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), Dr. Stephen D. Smith of Memory Workers, and Carolynne Harris Consulting. USC Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education (USC Shoah Foundation), a leader in testimony-based research, education, and interactive experiences, will serve as a content and creative partner in the development of the museum, making it the first time the foundation has teamed with a Holocaust Museum to design and implement a ground-up and permanent museum-wide exhibition.