The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, built in 1993, is dedicated to the millions of men, women, and children who were persecuted and annihilated during the Nazi Germany regime from 1933 to 1945. In the end, more than 6 million were murdered. Here you will find a permanent display of artifacts, displays, photographs, and visual aids to tell the story of what happened.
When you first walk in, you take an elevator to the display area. The museum is pretty crowded, so expect a wait. You can pick up an identification card booklet that tells of the life of a real person who lived during the Holocaust.
A warning: This museum is not for younger children. Please do not bring them. It is hard enough for an adult to digest this. Graphic photographs and newsreels are shown all over the place. I didn’t make it without crying, so make sure to bring Kleenex. But these are not the kinds of images younger children need to see.
It is a hard museum to visit. You will see actual uniforms and other items donated by survivors or victims families. It is a somber reminder of one of the darkest times in history. One of the last things you will see is a freight cart that was used to take people to the camps. Upon entering, you get an idea of the hopelessness that people went through once they were onboard. If you have asthma or allergies to mold or mildew, you might want to pass on this. I have both and had an asthma attack.
Downstairs you will find the hall of remembrance and the children’s wall. Here you will find an eternal flame in remembrance to all the victims. The child wall remembers the 1.5 million children murdered, with over 3,000 tiles painted by American schoolchildren. This is the only place inside the museum you can take pictures.
There are also various special exhibits going on. You can visit their website at www.ushnn.org to see what is going on when you’re in town. I was lucky enough to see the exhibit "Anne Frank: The Unfinished Story". It was being held in honor of the museum’s 10th anniversary. On display were the actual writings and photographs from Anne. This was the first time many of these documents have been seen outside the Netherlands.
You do need a time-stamped ticket to get inside the major displays. They are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 7:30 that morning. Or you can get advanced tickets by calling 800/400-9373 or by going to www.tickets.com. There is no fee for the ticket, but there is a $2 charge per person for processing. I highly recommend buying them in advanced during the busy times if you don’t feel like waiting in line.