Three-year agreement will significantly extend the reach and impact of both institutions’ educational work locally, nationally and internationally
February 18, 2015 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum today announces a groundbreaking three-year agreement with USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education that will significantly extend the reach of both institutions’ educational work.
“Three years ago, The FHM embarked upon a technology initiative to digitize the Museum’s collections and upgrade infrastructure to support 21st Century learning. We continue to be grateful to the State of Florida for their vision in supporting this initiative,” says Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of The FHM. “We have now reached a new juncture and will soon be able to share our resources in a meaningful way with classrooms throughout the state of Florida, the U.S. and in 52 other countries.”
Students and scholars across Florida will soon be able to access The Florida Holocaust Museum’s digital collections of art, historical objects and first-person testimony. The Memorandum of Understanding between The FHM and the Institute – which is part of the University of Southern California – spells out the following key initiatives that, pending funding, are set to launch in July:
Preserving the Legacy: The FHM collection of testimonies will be one of the first to be entrusted to USC Shoah Foundation under the recently launched Preserving the Legacy, an initiative that uses the Institute’s state-of-the-art infrastructure to digitize, index and integrate Holocaust testimonies taken by other organizations around the world in the Visual History Archive, the Institute’s vast repository of 53,000 genocide testimonies.
The process will maintain the provenance of the testimonies as an important part of The FHM collection while at the same time ensuring that they will be preserved in perpetuity and made available to all worldwide users of the Visual History Archive, extending the reach of The FHM collection dramatically.
Providing Access: Through this program, The FHM will become an access point for the Visual History Archive in Florida, making the 53,000 audiovisual testimonies available for research and education. This will make The FHM a leading resource for scholars and educators alike, and the 54th access site to the Visual History Archive.
Enhancing Education: Under the agreement, the two institutions will embark on a number of projects that leverage the strengths of The FHM’s programs and expertise and those of the Institute. First, the initiative will realize the integration of The FHM’s digitized artifacts and substantial visual art collection into IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s educational website.
The addition of The FHM’s visual art collection will become a new feature to IWitness. As The FHM testimonies are integrated into the Visual History Archive, they will also be integrated into IWitness, providing more local resources for the Florida education environment, and also making those voices heard across all environments IWitness reaches.
Leveraging The FHM’s leadership, educational staff members from The FHM and USC Shoah Foundation will collaborate to develop curriculum specifically to meet the standards and needs of Florida classrooms. Using The FHM’s testimonies, the team of education experts will build learning activities in IWitness, as well an offline activity. These branded activities will provide much-needed resources for Holocaust education in the state of Florida, as well as expand the educational programming The FHM offers to a worldwide audience.
Evaluating Impact: The program will also include a robust evaluation and research program that will contribute to a deeper understanding of the impact of testimonies and Holocaust education.
About The Florida Holocaust Museum
One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. The FHM played a critical role in shaping legislation that in 1994 made Florida one of the first states in the nation to mandate Holocaust education in the public schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. In a collaboration effort between The FHM and the Pinellas County School System, guidelines were developed for K-12 teachers with grade-appropriate instructional goals and bibliography for teaching the Holocaust. These guidelines are used by teachers throughout the nation as well as in Florida. The FHM’s renowned Teaching Trunk program sends trunks filled with grade-appropriate, dynamic literature and art-based lessons about the Holocaust, genocide and character education free of charge to classrooms throughout Florida and the continental United States. The FHM-created lesson plans and educational guides on the Holocaust and other genocides can also be found at TheFHM.org.
About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of more than 53,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes.
IWitness, which the American Association of School Librarians has named as a top website for teaching and learning, provides students with guided exploration of full-life histories and testimonies of nearly 1,600 witnesses to and survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Students watch testimonies and use them in individual or group multimedia projects; teachers can assign activities as classwork or homework, and can even custom-build their own lessons and activities. The testimonies are searchable by more than 9,000 keywords, enabling students to pinpoint exact moments of interest within each testimony. The built-in IWitness video editor gives students the ability to construct video essays and edit testimony as well as integrate footage and other materials from outside sources such as photos, maps, voiceover audio, music and text.