The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is a museum in Skokie, Illinois, near Chicago, dedicated to the history of the Holocaust.
Its aim is to “Remember the Past” and “Transform the Future,” preserving the Holocaust’s legacy by remembering the memory of those who perished and teaching universal principles that resist hatred, bigotry, and indifference. The Museum carries out its objective by exhibiting, preserving, and interpreting its collections, as well as through educational programs and projects that promote human rights and the abolition of genocide.
The museum’s operator, the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, began as a small storefront enterprise on Main Street in 1981. The organization and modest museum were founded in response to a Neo-Nazi march through Skokie, where many Holocaust survivors had lived in the decades after the crimes.
The new museum building was dedicated on April 19, 2009, with keynote speaker Bill Clinton and special guest Elie Wiesel in attendance. President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres both spoke via recorded video messages.
Following the shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009, the museum’s security arrangements were tightened.
The museum also employs volunteers from the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (since 2009) and the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service (since 2009).
The Take a Stand Center opened in 2017 at the museum. It was the world’s first museum to integrate cutting-edge technology and that enabled visitors to engage with spoken hologram images of Holocaust survivors. An exhibit about organizations and individuals who have advocated human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and figures like Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai, is connected to the holograph theater.
Stanley Tigerman designed the structure. Yitzchak Mais, a former director of Yad Vashem, co-designed the interior and exhibition. Along with the auditorium, the main entrance hall, information and membership desks, coatroom, gift shop, and library, the Holocaust exhibition is located on the first floor.
The memorial sections, the art gallery, the upper half of the auditorium, and offices are all located on the second floor. Classrooms, a children’s exhibition, a history museum, and a meeting area are all located in the basement.
The main facade of the building is divided into two sections. The entrance doors are on the black half, and the exit doors are on the white half. There are items that resemble torches between the two sections of the main front. The main entrance is on the northeast side of a narrow lane with a tiny parking lot. The museum is separated from I-94 by a wooded slope. As a result, there is no way to see the complete front from any location.
The museum is located west of the Edens Expressway in Skokie’s northwest corner (I-94). Old Orchard Road is the closest exit. There is also an abandoned railroad right of way to the east of the museum. The right of way is being investigated for a future CTA Yellow Line expansion near the museum. Several bus lines serve the museum, including CTA lines 205 and 54A, as well as Pace lines 208 and 422.
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