News & Events

Mary Pat Higgins: Breaking Ground!

Dear Visitors and Friends of the Museum,

The Museum’s mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference has never been more relevant. You need only to think about the tragic attack on the Oregon commuter train not too long ago, to understand the importance of our work.

Today, however, we are at a crossroads. The community’s needs and desires for the education and training we provide have far exceeded the Museum’s resources to deliver them. Simply put, we are out of space in our current 6,000 square-foot leased facility.

This past year, we had a record number of visitors…more than 83,000! And, almost half of them were students in grades 6-12. But the Museum can only serve 240 students at a time in our current exhibition area, greatly limiting the number of schools we can accommodate each day. Our theater can only seat 120 students -- and it’s standing-room-only for most of our community programs and education events.

To meet the demand from schools who wish to visit us but cannot due to our inadequate physical space, the Museum’s board has approved the “Building a Foundation of Hope” campaign to create a new 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art permanent home and education center in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas—the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

This new facility will allow us to reach more than 200,000 visitors a year—half of whom will be students—and dramatically expand our educational content for the students of our region. The 17,000 sq. ft. permanent exhibition will start with the Holocaust, a paradigm of unchecked, state sponsored hatred and terror. We will then explore three major actions that were taken following World War II in an attempt to prevent something like the Holocaust from ever happening again – The Nuremberg Trials, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide.

Next, visitors will learn about the ten stages of genocide, using contemporary genocidal activity as examples, so our visitors will be able to understand when we are at risk of allowing another genocide to occur. And finally, we will explore the evolution of civil and human rights in our great democracy, celebrating the Upstanders who have fought for change to help us live up to our incredible ideals – that all people are created equal.

The exhibition experience will culminate with a Call to Action – to encourage our visitors to look beyond themselves and get involved in our community to help others – to become Upstanders!

The new Museum will also include:

  • A large, flexible space for rotating special exhibits
  • 2 high-tech classrooms available for educational workshops, after-hours enrichment, and summer camps;
  • A 250-seat state-of-the-art theater and auditorium that will allow the Museum to show mission-relevant films and host speakers and panel discussions;
  • A Distance Learning Lab that will make it possible to teach students around the world;
  • A Reflection and Memorial Area where students and teachers can absorb and discuss the impact of their visit
  • And a climate-controlled Archive and Library

The new Museum is not a luxury, it is a necessity. And, we owe it to our local Survivors to complete their dream—of a lasting, living, memorial to the Holocaust and an ongoing testament to human rights—to create new generations of Upstanders.

Four years ago, we launched the Building a Foundation of Hope campaign to build the new Museum. I’m proud to say that, to date, we’ve raised $56.3 million!

Very soon, we will announce a fall date for our groundbreaking. Each of you will be invited…and we hope you will be there to watch as the new building emerges over the next two years.

Then, we want you to join us to celebrate the grand opening of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum during the summer of 2019—what is certain to be a great day for humanity!

Mary Pat Higgins
President and CEO