Shem Olam Institute has been operating for several years in various academic settings to instill awareness of the Holocaust through issues of spiritual coping in matters of identity, religion, culture, morality and humanity. Its mission is to reveal the strength of the individual, community, and the family who had to face up to critical and fateful tests.
The new Shem Olam Institute will provide exhibition and study spaces dedicated to the study of the Holocaust by international scholars and students. The buildings will be set in a garden which serves simultaneously to provide students a campus and the museum visitors a space of promenade that extends their tour to include large scale artifacts.
The entire composition is inspired by the form of a partially unfurled Torah scroll. The museum defines the front and center with the educational and dormitory buildings wrapping around, with a layer of landscape space between.
The museum will create a remarkable experience of light and movement that combines the themes and educational approaches that have traditionally been identified with Shem Olam. These involve the use of individual artifacts and stories as the bases for inquiry-based educational activities. The new museum will introduce path-breaking new exhibition techniques including immersive environments and advanced media techniques. In order to reach a wide variety of audiences, the new displays will combine a rich layering of photographs, posters and maps, texts, artifacts, interactive elements, and audiovisual materials. The sequence of spaces is designed for both guided groups as well as for individual visitors who can enter individual exhibitions as per their own interests.
The educational programs, for students from Israel and abroad, runs for two semesters. The first semester is primarily classroom lecture based; the second semester is primarily research oriented. At the end of the school year, students who fulfil the course requirements are eligible for scholarships donated by families wishing to perpetuate their loved ones and encourage research in the field. Over the years, the program has been running in association with Ariel University, Hebrew University, Technion, Lander Institute, Ono Academic College, Carmel College, Orot College, and College Lifshitz.
Location: Beit Hazon, Israel
Client: Shem Olam Institute for Holocaust Studies
Schedule: Design, 2017
Program: 8,000 m2; Museum,10 classroom and research spaces, 250 seat auditorium, library, dormitory of 36 bedrooms, outdoor amphitheater, future synagogue.
Team: Preston Scott Cohen, Inc. and Amit Nemlich