Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre: Strategic Planning Project

2017, Report/Plan, Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre
genocide, history, Holocaust, literature review, memory, strategic planning, Toronto, World War II
About This Project

Date: Final Presentation on April 4, 2017

Partner: Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Lipa Green Centre, Sherman Campus

Venue: Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre – map

Project Members: Emma Hoffman and Christopher Wai


The strategic planning project comprised the research and writing of a literature review, a best practices review, and questions for community consultation groups that will inform further strategic planning for a new version of the Neuberger’s museum, for which renovations are estimated to begin in 2018. Our team used the information gleaned from these deliverables, to develop a report and recommendations that were presented to a selection of the Neuberger’s staff and stakeholders on April 4th, 2017.


The major focuses of this project were to research academic debates that influence the museological practices of Holocaust museums, and to look at how other Holocaust and Human Rights museums think about, exhibit, and create programs about the Holocaust. We also explored research on how other museums, like the Neuberger, can program and plan to teach the Holocaust to publics in a world without Holocaust Survivors. The purpose of our research is to provide a basis of information to inform a future version of the Neuberger.


This project was developed at the request of, and in collaboration with Dara Solomon, the Neuberger’s Executive Director, and was developed for the Neuberger’s staff, board, and other stakeholders.


The presentation of our project consisted of a written portfolio and a final presentation. The written portfolio consisted of a review of academic literature on Holocaust museums published from 2010-2017, a best practices review, and a series of consultation questions for community members (i.e. Survivors, families [2nd and 3rd generation], Jewish Day School teachers, educators, university academics), and a final summary and recommendations report of the project. We presented an abbreviated presentation of our research to an audience of ten people (including the Survivor pictured above in the Shoah foundation’s New Dimensions in Testimony project) at the UJA Federation of Toronto offices, and the UJA and the Neuberger will be funding the community consultation process for which we developed research and questions.


Our process lasted for seven months from October 2016 to April 2017. All three written components of the project began in October, but switched focus and informed edits over the following months. The literature review was written throughout the seven months in order to capture relevant research and to revise based on information from the other components and in light of new developments in the world. The best practices review began in October with Lorenz Glettler, the Neuberger’s Austrian Holocaust Memorial Intern, who compiled a table of fourteen Holocaust and Human Rights museums with relevant data on missions, exhibitions, programming and use of technology, which we further expanded upon and analyzed from January to March. Consultation questions were finished in November, but January consultations were put on hold for the Neuberger to form an official steering committee to oversee this project in the future. By late March and early April, we worked on and submitted our final reports and our presentation.


The portfolio has been well received with some suggestions and discussions for further exploration of specific topics and perspectives. We have also been asked to present our findings and recommendations again to different groups of stakeholders at the UJA. Emma will also be involved in the Neuberger’s future developments as its new Programs and Education Assistant.


We would like to thank Dara Solomon and the staff and Survivors at the Neuberger, as well as the UJA for supporting this project. We would also like to thank Professor Matthew Brower and our TA’s for the exhibition course: Rebecca Noone and Hillary Walker Gugan.