Interning at the Museum of Tolerance has been an incredibly informative and fascinating experience so far; my time there has seemingly just begun! At the MOT, wearing multiple hats is the norm; therefore, no two days at work have been the same. Before the school year ended, I assisted with tours of the Tolerancenter and Holocaust Exhibit for students in grades 7-9. While much of the museum speaks for itself, it is up to the staff to guide students through their educational and reflective journey. Many students on these tours have had limited to no exposure to information regarding the Holocaust, as well as other genocides and crimes against humanity. Though the museum is widely known for its Holocaust Exhibit, an important aspect of the Tolerancenter is teaching about the power of words in contemporary cases of hate that include how we can work towards becoming more of an accepting world. Since the regular tour is made for grades 7 and up, students in grades 5 and 6 participate in the Steps to Tolerance program, which they are introduced to the Holocaust and the terms perpetrator, victim, ally, and bystander. The program also includes a section on bullying in which such terms are applied to their daily lives, and wraps up with a Holocaust survivor speaker.
The survivors are at the heart of the museum. Many of them are part of the Witness to Truth program, where they speak to the public at the museum and share their personal story. Every day, multiple survivors speak and offer a firsthand account of what truly happened. This has been the highlight of my time at the MOT. Hearing these survivors speak is an absolute privilege; as they age, it is increasingly important to hear their stories in order to pass on to future generations. Along with hearing these survivors speak, I have been working on some of their biographies that will be published, as part of the program.
During my time at the MOT, I have also helped with an upcoming film festivaland started editing an iPhone app that aims to educate the public on global hate and terror. I also helped demo a new form of interactive technology for the Shoah Foundation, which will keep survivors' stories at the center of the discussion even after the survivors themselves are no longer here. I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks, when I will be assisting with the SHADES program: an intensive week long intensive that teaches high schoolers about the judicial system to culminate in a mock court trial.