A rendering of the expanded and remodeled Holocaust Museum Houston, a $49.4 overhaul that's expected to take around two years to pull off.
A rendering of the expanded and remodeled Holocaust Museum Houston, a $49.4 overhaul that's expected to take around two years to pull off.
Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston

Inside Holocaust Museum Houston's $49.4 Million Renovation and Expansion

On Tuesday night, Holocaust Museum Houston, which will soon rival holocaust history museums in Washington D.C., Los Angeles and the Chicago-area, unveiled details on its size-doubling-plus expansion.

It’s going to be quite fancy.

Backed by a $49.4-million capital expansion campaign, HMH will expand from its current 21,000-square-foot space to a 57,000-square-foot palace that will be renamed Holocaust Museum Houston, Lester and Sue Smith Campus. The Smiths, longtime backers of HMH, donated a $15 million matching grant to the renovation and expansion efforts.

Two-thirds of the current structure at 5401 Caroline Street will be taken apart and put back together again starting in October. A temporary exhibition, classroom and office space will post up at 9220 Kirby, Suite 100, and will open to the public on September 5 as construction vehicles go to town on the existing building, which Houston-area Holocaust survivors and their descendants opened in 1996.

The existing one-story building will become a three-story configuration that will include permanent exhibits, a human rights gallery, and an Anne Frank-inspired diary room for students on the first floor; a display of 129 paintings by Samuel Bak, a 100-seat-plus auditorium and a butterfly loft that symbolizes the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust on the second floor; and a library and administrative offices on the third floor.

When it’s completed in 2019, HMH will become the fourth-largest holocaust museum in the country, behind the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie.

A view of the current Holocaust Museum Houston on Caroline Street, which opened to the public in 1996.
A view of the current Holocaust Museum Houston on Caroline Street, which opened to the public in 1996.
Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston
A view from the outside of the proposed Holocaust Museum Houston, which will become the nation's fourth-largest holocaust museum.
A view from the outside of the proposed Holocaust Museum Houston, which will become the nation's fourth-largest holocaust museum.
Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston
The butterfly loft will pay tribute to the 1.5 million children who lost their lives in the Holocaust.
The butterfly loft will pay tribute to the 1.5 million children who lost their lives in the Holocaust.
Courtesy of Holocaust Museum Houston

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