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Museum of Tolerance

Museum of Tolerance
Established 1993
Location 9786 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States
Type Holocaust memorials, racism and prejudice museum
Visitors 350,000 annually
Website .com.museumoftolerancewww

The Museum of Tolerance (MOT), a Simon Wiesenthal Center,[1] MOT also deals with atrocities in Cambodia and Latin America,[2] along with issues like bullying and hate crimes.[3] The MOT has an associated museum and professional development multi-media training facility in New York City, and announced plans in 2005 to expand to Jerusalem but construction became mired in controversy due to the building site.


  • Los Angeles 1
    • Criticism 1.1
  • Jerusalem Mamilla Cemetery 2
    • Criticism of destruction of cemetery 2.1
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Los Angeles

The original museum in Los Angeles, California opened in 1993, built at a cost of $50 million by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor.[2] The museum receives 350,000 visitors annually, about a third of which are school-age children. The museum's most talked-about exhibit is "The Holocaust Section", where visitors are divided into groups to take their own place in some of the events of World War II. These experiences are then discussed afterwards. The museum also testimonies of Holocaust survivors, often from live volunteers who tell their stories and answer questions. People also get cards with pictures of Jewish children on them and at the end of the museum trip, it is revealed whether the child on the card survived or died in the Holocaust.

In addition, the museum features a "Tolerancenter" that discusses issues of prejudice in everyday life, a Multimedia Learning Center, Finding Our Families-Finding Ourselves, a collection of archives and documents, various temporary exhibits such as Los Angeles visual artist Bill Cormalis Jr's "A" Game In The B Leagues," which documents through paintings, the Civil Rights movement during the segregation of colored people in Major League Baseball, and an Arts and Lectures Program.

A classroom visit to the museum is featured in the 2007 movie Freedom Writers, based on the real-life story of high school teacher Erin Gruwell and her students. The museum was parodied in an episode of South Park called "The Death Camp of Tolerance".

Protesting L.A. museum expansion


One of the primary criticisms of the Museum of Tolerance is that its exhibits use excessive multimedia technology to appeal to and manipulate the emotions of children. The museum uses fast-paced skits, dioramas, films, and interactive computer-controlled exhibits in an effort to make an emotional impact on visitors. For most of the tour, actual historical artifacts are absent, and a select few are shown at the end.[4]

Jerusalem Mamilla Cemetery

In 2005, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's (SWC) Rabbi Marvin Hier announced plans to construct a "Museum of Tolerance and Human Dignity" in Jerusalem by building on part of the historic Mamilla Cemetery.[5] a Muslim burial ground that has been in use since the Rashidun Caliphate, a period of about 1,300 years.

Criticism of destruction of cemetery

The MOT-Jerusalem has been criticized for being built on former Muslim cemetery grounds.[6][7] The Mamilla Cemetery contained the graves of many important Islamic saints and scholars, as well as several Mamluk tombs.[5][8] The SWC asserts that the cemetery was long ago deconsecrated by Islamic leaders, and that secular Arab leaders prior to the creation of the State of Israel had planned various development projects there.[9] This argument has in turn been challenged in the Israeli legal system, but the argument was rejected by Israel's Supreme Court.

While the location of the MOT-Jerusalem has elicited the most media attention, architectural, archaeological and social critiques have accompanied the project throughout its course. Haaretz architecture critic Esther Zandberg has critiqued the location of an ostentatious Gehry design at the heart of Jerusalem, arguing that Jerusalem is not Bilbao.[10] Others have expressed concern over the focus of the museum on tolerance amongst Jews, rather than tolerance between Jews and Arabs.[11] The plan has been severely criticized by both Israelis and Palestinians.[12] Construction had been stayed several times by the courts before allowing it to continue.[13][14]

In autumn, 2008, the Israeli Supreme Court cleared "the way for L.A.'s Simon Wiesenthal Center to build a Holy Land counterpart to its Museum of Tolerance on Pico Boulevard."[15]

On November 19, 2008 a group of US Jewish and Muslim leaders sent a letter to the Wiesenthal Center to halt the construction of the Museum of Tolerance on the historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.[16]

See also


  1. ^ About us
  2. ^ a b "Los Angeles Journal; Near Riots' Ashes, a Museum Based on Tolerance". New York Times. February 10, 1993. 
  3. ^ "Teen court program tackles bullying, hate crimes". Los Angeles Times. July 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ Marcuse, Harold. "Experiencing the Jewish Holocaust in Los Angeles: The Beit Hashoah—Museum of Tolerance", Other Voices, February 2000. Retrieved on April 12, 2007
  5. ^ a b Donald Macintyre (9 February 2006). "Israel plans to build 'museum of tolerance' on Muslim graves".  
  6. ^ Abe Selig (11 February 2010). "Wiesenthal Center: Museum not built on ancient ruins".  
  7. ^ Saree Makdisi (February 12, 2010). "A Museum of Tolerance We Don't Need". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ Asem Khalidi (Spring 2009). "The Mamilla Cemetery: A Buried History".  
  9. ^ Gil Zohar and Gail Lichtman (February 21, 2008). "Jerusalem deconstructed".  
  10. ^ Esther Zandberg. Surroundings / No tolerance for Jerusalem's uniqueness", Haaretz, Last update - 21:29 05/11/2008
  11. ^ Samuel G. Freeman."Frank Gehry's Mideast Peace Plan", New York Times, August 1, 2004. Bradley Burston (19 November 2008). "Dividing Jerusalem, one wall at a time".  
  12. ^ Akiva Eldar (30 December 2008). "Israel Prize laureate opposes Museum of Tolerance".  
  13. ^ Hadassah on Museum of tolerance
  14. ^ Zandberg on lack of transparency
  15. ^ "Israeli court OKs Museum of Tolerance's controversial branch", Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2008
  16. ^ Political Debate, Yes; Bigotry, No

External links

  • Official website
  • Experiencing the Jewish Holocaust in Los Angeles: The Beit Hashoah—Museum of Tolerance, review essay by Harold Marcuse, Other Voices, v2.1, Feb. 2000.
  • [2]
  • Museum of Tolerance: More detailed information
  • Museum of Tolerance: The Story of a Hate Crime TIME

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