The $49m expansion of the Holocaust Museum Houston has started with the relocation of two of its most valuable artefacts, the rescue boat Hanne Frank and a Second World War-era rail car.
The two artefacts had to be moved 36m from their place on the patio in front of the Holocaust Museum Houston using a high-capacity crane to protect them from being damaged during construction.
The expansion project, which officially began on Monday, will more than double the museums space to 5,300 sq m, making it the fourth largest Holocaust museum in the US. The building will be three stories high, with the permanent exhibit, ‘Bearing Witness, A Community Remembers’, expanding by 370 sq m.
With the extra space, the boat and rail car, which are currently on display outside the building, will be brought inside.
Other new features for the museum will include a gallery focusing on young diarists such as Anne Frank that will be aimed at student aged children, a human rights gallery that will also show the history of genocides, and the Samuel Bak Gallery and Learning Center, featuring 129 paintings by the Holocaust artist.
There will also be four times more classroom space and expansions to the auditorium and Boniuk Library.
Built 20 years ago, the original architects and exhibition and media designers – Mucasey and Associates and Ralph Appelbaum Associates – have returned to participate in the expansion. It is projected that the number of yearly visitors will go from 110,000 to 150,000 when the project is complete in 2019.
Image: c. Ed Schipul