United States Holocaust Museum Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Students will discuss the United States Holocaust Museum, its purpose and mission, and explore its exhibits. By stepping into the shoes of one of the victims memorialized there, students will understand the horrors of the Holocaust.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will:

  • understand the purpose of the United States Holocaust Museum
  • explain the development of the museum and its contents
  • describe some of the exhibits at the museum
  • interact personally with the museum's online exhibits
  • understand the plight of Holocaust victims


90-120 minutes plus performance time at a later class session

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board
  • Computers for student use
  • Internet access
  • United States Holocaust Museum: History, Exhibits & Facts Quiz (1 per student)
  • Chapters from Bull Run by Paul Fleischman to demonstrate the expectations for the activity


  • Ask students why we have museums and why people go to them. Do we only preserve things we like? Why might we have a museum that preserves memories of one of the most horrific events ever in the history of mankind?
  • Display the lesson, the United States Holocaust Museum: History, Exhibits & Facts using a projector or SMART Board.
  • Have one of the students read aloud the first section, 'Carter's Commission,' while the others read along silently.
  • Discuss the section by asking questions, such as:
    • Who established the President's Commission on the Holocaust?
    • What was the purpose of the Holocaust Museum?
    • What three parts make up the museum?
    • What was the mission of the United States Memorial Council?
    • What do you think a 'living memorial' is?
  • Have one of the students read aloud the next three sections, 'Groundbreaking and Construction,' 'Architect,' and 'Architecture.' Discuss these sections by asking the students questions, such as:
    • Where is the Holocaust Museum located?
    • What was buried on the site of the museum?
    • When did the construction begin and end?
  • Return to the lesson and have the students silently read about the Exhibit spaces, starting with 'Hall of Witness.'
  • Ask the students to turn to a partner and explain the Nazi Assault, The Final Solution, the Tower of Faces, and The Last Chapter. What does each of these exhibits represent?
  • Return to the lesson and ask the students to silently read the section called, 'Daniel's Story.'
  • Ask the students if they are surprised that children were killed in the Holocaust.
  • Read the remainder of the lesson aloud to the students as they read along silently.
  • Discuss these sections with questions, such as:
    • What is the name of the museum's official memorial to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust?
    • What can be seen in the Hall of Remembrance?
    • What other exhibits are included in the museum?
    • What is being added to the museum now? What is its purpose?
  • To check for students' understanding of the lesson, give each student a copy of the United States Holocaust Museum: History, Exhibits & Facts to complete as a short assessment.

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