New £800,000 National Lottery grant lets National Holocaust Centre redevelop

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New £800,000 National Lottery grant lets National Holocaust Centre redevelop

Centre and museum based in Nottinghamshire now has the £4.2m needed for major overhaul set to take more than a year to complete

Joan Salter in the National Holocaust Centre and Museum's 'Forever Project
Joan Salter in the National Holocaust Centre and Museum's 'Forever Project

The National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire has announced an £800,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund that will allow it to begin a major multi-million pound redevelopment.

The NHCM-bound money is in addition to the £3.4 million already raised to expand the museum’s suite of physical and digital experiences, including the hologram-like Forever Project, which immortalises Holocaust survivors through projections.

Other major donors to the centre, which is also called Beth Shalom, include Arts Council England and the Pears Foundation, whose chair Sir Trevor Pears described the redevelopment of the 25-year-old institution as “much needed”.

He said: “We have partnered with NHCM for two decades and watched it grow from a small exhibition to a thriving centre of learning about the causes and consequences of the Holocaust.

“It is so important that the thousands of young people who come through its doors can engage, think and learn in facilities that match the quality of the education programmes and that honour the survivors who have given so much to it.”

Work starts this month and is due to end in Spring 2024. It will create eight new features including a new broadcast hub, collections store, and an expanded version of ‘The Journey’ exhibition, which contains “Holocaust museum world-firsts”.

Martin Stern, who survived Westerbork and Theresienstadt, said: “This overdue redevelopment gives hope for the future of this national treasure.”

Janine Webber, who survived the Lvov Ghetto said: “Beth Shalom is our second home. I am delighted that there will be an expansion. We can then welcome more people and transmit our experiences so that the Holocaust is never forgotten.”

Steven Frank, who also survived Westerbork and Theresienstadt, called the centre “unique”, adding: “Survivors only have a finite lifespan. That is why updated technology is essential for future students here.”

Robyn Llewellyn, a Heritage Fund director, described the plans as “ambitious”, adding that the funding “will ensure that the important work of the museum will continue to be shared and explored by visitors far and wide”.

Museum chiefs say they want “to redefine the concept of a museum as a living conversation”, adding that “to keep Holocaust survivor testimony as the key stimulus for this conversation”.

They also say they want to grow the number of critical thinkers “to defeat The Algorithm – the new dictator dividing us with the same old racist disinformation, in particular the anti-Jewish conspiracy theory which led to the Holocaust”.

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