Photo: Courtesy of Holocaust Museum LA

Oldest Survivor-Founded Museum and First Holocaust Museum in United States Will Expand Award-Winning Pan Pacific Park Campus With Dramatic Facilities Additions

Holocaust Museum LA, the first survivor-founded and oldest Holocaust museum in the United States, is commemorating its 60th anniversary with expansion plans for its Pan Pacific Park campus and its largest ever capital campaign. 

Holocaust Museum LA CEO Beth Kean announced an expansion of Holocaust Museum LA’s existing footprint in Pan Pacific Park to create the Jona Goldrich Campus, designed by award-winning architect Hagy Belzberg and featuring outdoor reflective spaces; large galleries and classrooms; a theater for survivor talks, film screenings, concerts, conferences and public programs; a new pavilion to house an authentic boxcar; and a dedicated theater for USC Shoah Foundation’s “Dimensions in Testimony” exhibition that allows visitors to have a virtual conversation with a Holocaust survivor using a holographic capture and voice recognition software.

Visitors to the museum have increased by 400% since opening its permanent home in 2010. Kean noted, “Museum space is at capacity, particularly during school hours—and requests for student tours and public workshops continue to increase. As a result, we are forced to turn away schools and tour groups.” The expansion will allow the museum to increase visitor capacity to 500,000 by 2030 including 150,000 students. The additional space also allows for the addition of cutting-edge technology to preserve Holocaust survivor testimonies and for more temporary and traveling exhibits. 

The capital campaign goal is $45 million. To date, the campaign has already raised $22 million, thanks to transformative new lead gifts: from Andrea Goldrich Cayton and Melinda Goldrich, daughters of museum founder and survivor Jona Goldrich, to name the new Jona Goldrich Campus; the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation to name the Boxcar Pavilion that will house an original Nazi-era boxcar that the Black family obtained and donated; and $8.5 million from the State of California, which will provide a new building with greater space for classrooms, exhibits and public programs. The Cayton/Goldrich gift includes a matching opportunity, which is inspiring members of the community to participate in the success of this campaign.

The museum aims to break ground on the “Building Truth” expansion project in April 2022 and to be open for business in the new space by spring 2024.

Kean continued, “Ten years from now most Holocaust survivors will be gone. We need to act now to ensure the voices of our survivors live on in perpetuity and to address the rising tide of hatred, bigotry and antisemitism. This expansion will allow us to amplify our reach and impact as we continue to teach the next generations the critical lessons of the Holocaust and its continued social relevance.”

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About Holocaust Museum LA

Holocaust Museum LA is the first survivor-founded and oldest Holocaust museum in the United States and houses the West Coast’s largest collection of Holocaust-era artifacts. Since 1961, the museum has carried on the mission of the founding survivors to commemorate those who perished, educate future generations about the Holocaust, and inspire a more dignified and humane world. Museum admission is free for all students and California residents.

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