Posts Tagged ‘Holocaust Museum’

Holocaust Museum’s internal statement

June 11, 2009

As always, those guys down there at the USHMM keep doing it right. Posted below is an e-mail sent out to volunteers in the wake of the tragedy. Sorry to keep harping on this stuff, but we were discussing overreacting to the situation yesterday, and I think this memo is just the right tone for the museum to offer the correct message to its employees and volunteers. Thoughts? Share ’em if you got ’em.

Good Evening,

Yesterday’s events at the Museum are sad and shocking. As you probably know, Security Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty, standing “watch at this place of solemn remembrance,” to quote President Barack Obama. In honor of Officer Johns, the Museum was closed today, and our flags were flown at half mast in his memory. We extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

As close friends and supporters of the Museum, each of you are also in our thoughts. Your dedication to the Museum is an important part of its great strength, and we are grateful for your generous efforts to help achieve our mission. Also, for the many volunteers and interns on site during the incident, we appreciate the professionalism you demonstrated and the assistance you provided to our visitors and your co-workers.

As you begin to return to work at the Museum, I and Paul Garver, Director of Museum Services, welcome the opportunity to discuss any concerns or answer any questions that you may have. In the days ahead, we will make an extra effort to reach out to you, but please don’t hesitate to contact us in the meantime. Our phone numbers and email addresses are listed below. Also, if you wish to contact the Volunteer Advisory Board, please email them at

Thank you again for your service to the Museum. As always, we are honored to work with you.


Museums as Safe Spaces

June 10, 2009

By now most of us have heard about today’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum. We’ve talked quite a lot at CGP about the use of museums as safe spaces, even havens, where people can come to reflect upon or escape from the violence, tradgedy, and pain of the “outside world.” This was particularly evident in the weeks, even months or years, following Septemeber 11. However, we don’t really talk about the realities of safety in museums. And now it appears that even museum’s may no longer be the safe spaces they one were. So I wonder how we balance keeping our visitors and our staff safe, while maintaining an atmosphere that welcomes people and allows those that wish to do so to escape from the gritty grimy realities of their lives? And as future museum professionals what lessons can we take from tradgedies such as this in order to improve not only our museums and the services they offer, but our communities and the people who live within them as well?