United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

If you are planning to visit Washington DC, one of the places you should not miss is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The USHMM is the official memorial to the Holocaust, the genocide of six million Jews and millions of other victims by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The museum provides a powerful and moving experience that educates visitors about the history, causes, and consequences of the Holocaust and challenges them to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity in the present and future.


The USHMM was established by an act of Congress in 1980, following the recommendation of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, chaired by Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. The museum was designed by architect James Ingo Freed, who himself had fled Nazi Germany as a child. The museum opened to the public on April 22, 1993, with a dedication ceremony attended by President Bill Clinton, Elie Wiesel, and more than 250 Holocaust survivors.

The museum is located on a 1.9-acre site near the National Mall in Washington DC, adjacent to the Washington Monument. The museum building has four floors of exhibition space, plus a fifth floor that houses the administration, library, archives, and conservation laboratory. The museum also has a research institute, an education center, a theater, a bookstore, and a cafe.

Cultural Significance

The USHMM is not only a museum, but also a living memorial and a center for education and research. The museum’s mission is to inspire people to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity by:

  • Preserving the memory of those who suffered and died during the Holocaust
  • Educating diverse audiences about the history and lessons of the Holocaust
  • Advancing research and scholarship on the Holocaust and related topics
  • Encouraging public dialogue and civic engagement on contemporary issues of human rights and genocide prevention

The museum has received numerous awards and recognitions for its work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993, the Four Freedoms Award in 1994, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord in 2007. The museum is also a founding member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an intergovernmental organization that promotes Holocaust education, remembrance, and research worldwide.

Some points of interest

The USHMM has several permanent and temporary exhibitions that explore different aspects of the Holocaust and its aftermath. Some of the highlights include:

  • The Permanent Exhibition: The Holocaust. This three-level exhibition covers the history of the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945, using more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters that show historical footage and eyewitness testimonies. The exhibition is divided into three sections: Nazi Assault, Final Solution, and Last Chapter. Some of the most notable artifacts include a German railcar used to transport Jews to concentration camps, an original barracks from Auschwitz-Birkenau, and a collection of shoes from Majdanek.
  • The Hall of Remembrance. This is the official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in the United States. It is a hexagonal room with a 6-foot-high eternal flame in the center. The walls are inscribed with the names of 22 Nazi killing sites in Europe, and display six candles representing the six million Jews who perished. Visitors can light memorial candles and recite prayers in this solemn space.
  • Daniel’s Story: Remember the Children. This is a special exhibition designed for children ages 8 and older. It tells the story of Daniel, a fictional Jewish boy who experiences Nazi persecution in Germany and Poland. Through Daniel’s diary entries and personal belongings, visitors can learn about the daily life, hardships, and hopes of children during the Holocaust.
  • Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story
  • Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust. This exhibition examines how ordinary people became involved in or witnessed the persecution and murder of Jews during the Holocaust. It features photographs, documents, artifacts, testimonies, and interactive stations that explore various motives and pressures that influenced people’s choices to act as perpetrators, bystanders, or rescuers.

Interesting Facts

  • The museum receives more than 1.5 million visitors each year.
  • The museum has a permanent collection of more than 18,000 objects related to the Holocaust.
  • The museum has a library that contains more than 96,000 books and periodicals on the Holocaust and related topics.
  • The museum has an oral history archive that contains more than 10,000 interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust.
  • The museum has a digital archive that contains more than 15 million pages of documents on the Holocaust.
  • The museum has a conservation laboratory that restores and preserves fragile artifacts and documents.
  • The museum has a forensic laboratory that analyzes human remains and personal effects from mass graves and killing sites.
  • The museum has a partnership with Google Earth that allows users to explore historical maps, photographs, and testimonies of the Holocaust.


When is it open?

The USHMM is located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW, Washington DC 20024-2126. It is adjacent to the National Mall and near the Smithsonian metro station. The museum is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on Yom Kippur (September 27) and Christmas Day (December 25). Admission to the museum is free, but timed passes are required for the permanent exhibition. Passes can be obtained online in advance or on the same day at the museum. For more information on tickets and reservations, visit https://www.ushmm.org/information/visit-the-museum/admission-and-tickets.

How much time can I spend there?

The museum recommends that visitors allocate at least two to three hours to explore the permanent exhibition and one hour for each special exhibition. The museum also advises that visitors dress comfortably and wear layers, as the temperature in the exhibition spaces may vary. The museum has a coat check service where visitors can leave their coats and bags for free.

Is it family-friendly?

The USHMM is a family-friendly museum that welcomes visitors of all ages. However, due to the sensitive nature of some of the materials and images in the exhibitions, parents and guardians are encouraged to use their discretion when bringing children under the age of 11. The museum also offers age-appropriate resources for families with children, such as activity guides, books, films, and podcasts. For more information on family programs and resources, visit https://www.ushmm.org/learn/families.

The USHMM is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Therefore, it is advisable to plan your visit ahead of time and avoid peak hours and seasons. The busiest times at the museum are weekdays from March through August, especially from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., when school groups are most likely to visit. The best times to visit are weekdays from September through February or weekends throughout the year.

Driving directions from the United States Holocaust Memorial to the National Air and Space Museum

Via Independence Ave SW. 0.8 miles in 3 minutes.

  1. Head north on Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW toward Independence Ave SW (367 ft)
  2. Turn right onto Independence Ave SW (0.7 mi)
<iframe src=”https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m28!1m12!1m3!1d12422.45898769434!2d-77.02678615000002!3d38.88705525!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!4m13!3e0!4m5!1s0x89b7b7a02b10a065%3A0x73cf754eae741db3!2sUnited%20States%20Holocaust%20Memorial%20Museum%2C%20100%20Raoul%20Wallenberg%20Pl%20SW%2C%20Washington%2C%20DC%2020024%2C%20United%20States!3m2!1d38.8867076!2d-77.0326074!4m5!1s0x89b7b7837b262421%3A0xf8e7c937dd8ce81b!2sSmithsonian%20National%20Air%20and%20Space%20Museum%2C%20600%20Independence%20Ave%20SW%2C%20Washington%2C%20DC%2020560%2C%20United%20States!3m2!1d38.8881601!2d-77.0198679!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sbr!4v1694131830344!5m2!1sen!2sbr” width=”600″ height=”450″ style=”border:0;” allowfullscreen=”” loading=”lazy” referrerpolicy=”no-referrer-when-downgrade”></iframe>

Driving directions from the United States Holocaust Memorial to the Library of Congress

Via Independence Ave SW. 1.6 miles in 6 minutes.

  1. Head north on Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW toward Independence Ave SW (367 ft)
  2. Turn right onto Independence Ave SW (1.5 mi)
  3. Turn left onto First St SE (384 ft)
<iframe src=”https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m28!1m12!1m3!1d24844.695982719262!2d-77.01921169999996!3d38.88769!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!4m13!3e0!4m5!1s0x89b7b7a02b10a065%3A0x73cf754eae741db3!2sUnited%20States%20Holocaust%20Memorial%20Museum%2C%20100%20Raoul%20Wallenberg%20Pl%20SW%2C%20Washington%2C%20DC%2020024%2C%20United%20States!3m2!1d38.8867076!2d-77.0326074!4m5!1s0x390feef68ef83a4d%3A0x46cbb296f4de3eec!2sLibrary%20of%20Congress%2C%20Thomson%20Jefferson%20Building%2C%20Independence%20Avenue%20Southeast%2C%20Washington%2C%20DC%2C%20USA!3m2!1d38.888684!2d-77.004719!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sbr!4v1694131766721!5m2!1sen!2sbr” width=”600″ height=”450″ style=”border:0;” allowfullscreen=”” loading=”lazy” referrerpolicy=”no-referrer-when-downgrade”></iframe>

Driving directions from the United States Holocaust Memorial to Modern SENS

Via Washington Blvd. 5.0 miles in 11 minutes.

  1. Take I-395 S and Washington Blvd to N Garfield St in Arlington (8 min, 4.8 mi)
    1. Head south on US-1 S toward C St SW (0.5 mi)
    2. Use the right 2 lanes to merge onto I-395 S toward Richmond, entering Virginia (1.4 mi)
    3. Take exit 8A for VA-27/Washington Blvd (0.2 mi)
    4. Keep right and merge onto VA-27 W/S Washington Blvd (0.6 mi)
    5. Keep right to continue on VA-27 W (0.2 mi)
    6. Continue straight onto VA-27 W/Washington Blvd, continue to follow Washington Blvd (1.9 mi)
  2. Follow N Garfield St to Wilson Blvd (3 min, 0.2 mi)
    1. Turn right onto N Garfield St (0.2 mi)
    2. Turn left after United Bank (on the right), destination will be on the right (85 ft)
<iframe src=”https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m28!1m12!1m3!1d49695.58276341917!2d-77.06348734999999!3d38.878838449999996!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!4m13!3e0!4m5!1s0x89b7b7a02b10a065%3A0x73cf754eae741db3!2sUnited%20States%20Holocaust%20Memorial%20Museum%2C%20100%20Raoul%20Wallenberg%20Pl%20SW%2C%20Washington%2C%20DC%2020024%2C%20United%20States!3m2!1d38.8867076!2d-77.0326074!4m5!1s0x87d8b51f7fe78815%3A0x7d0b61ff535d4b0f!2sSENS%20Psychology%2C%203033%20Wilson%20Blvd%20%23700%2C%20Arlington%2C%20VA%2022201%2C%20Estados%20Unidos!3m2!1d38.8881851!2d-77.0945644!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sbr!4v1694131678350!5m2!1sen!2sbr” width=”600″ height=”450″ style=”border:0;” allowfullscreen=”” loading=”lazy” referrerpolicy=”no-referrer-when-downgrade”></iframe>


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *