Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
History and museums
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) is a museum in Pan Pacific Park, within the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California
It is dedicated to the remembrance and preservation of the history, stories, victims, and tragic events of the Holocaust during World War II. Founded in 1961, the museum is purported to be the oldest museum of its kind in the United States.
LAMOTH is always free for visitors and students, because the founding survivors insisted that no one ever be turned away from learning about the Holocaust.
In 1961, a group of survivors at Hollywood High School taking English as a second language classes found one another and shared their experiences. They discovered that each of them had a photograph, concentration camp uniform, or other precious primary source object from the Holocaust era. They decided that these artifacts needed a permanent home where they could be displayed safely and in perpetuity. They also wanted a place to memorialize their dead and help to educate the world so that no one would ever forget. Some of these founding survivors remain active on the LAMOTH Board of Directors today.
On October 14, 2010, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust opened the doors to its new building in Pan Pacific Park. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, with museum representatives and Holocaust survivors, opened the doors. City officials including City Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Assemblyman Michael Feuer and Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky also participated in the opening ceremony.
“I have the privilege to walk through the museum's doors every day. We live at an important time in post-Holocaust history. In Los Angeles, the second largest Holocaust survivor community in our country and the fifth in the world, we live among an extraordinary group of elders. In the Museum, these Survivors speak daily about this chapter in modern history that is both unprecedented and lifetimes late, still equally incomprehensible and heartbreaking,” said Samara Hutman, Executive Director of LAMOTH.
The architecture and layout plays a significant role in visitors’ experiences as the nine rooms descend and decrease in light as visitors progress towards the darkest part of history. Technology functions as a tool to enhance the experience and takes several forms throughout the museum including interactive video and audio exhibits. In collaboration with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, LAMOTH installed a state of the art, 70-screen video sculpture that displays over 51,000 Survivor testimonies from the USC Shoah database.
The building, designed by acclaimed architect Hagy Belzberg, has one of the largest intensive green roofs in California and has receive LEED Gold Certification. The design received the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission Design Honor Award, the Green Building Design Award, the Ontario Association of Architects (Canada) Design Excellence Award, the International Space Design Award - Idea-Tops – Nomination Award, Best Design Nomination of Cultural Space, the Extraordinary Vision Award, and the AIA CC Design Award.
The builders awarded the task of realizing Belzberg's vision was the Los Angeles based Winters Schram and Associates, headed up by owner Jim Schram.
The grand opening brings to a close a four-year process that included unanimous approval by the City Council, the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and execution of a 50-year lease agreement by the City Attorney along with years of structural planning and building and consultation with the community.
The museum is open M-Th:10am-5pm, Fri:10am-2pm, Sat-Sun:10am-5pm
The LAMOTH roof garden is one of the largest and steepest built to date. Some of the slopes being inclined up to 45 degrees. The planting aims to recreate a meadow and the main species used are ornamental grasses.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) has a two-fold mission that has remained constant since its inception in 1961: commemoration and education.