The Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust
The Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust is a museum and an international seminar center designed to evoke discourse on the significance of the Holocaust in our contemporary society and culture. The Massuah campus comprises the central school for teaching the Holocaust, which conducts seminars for young people, members of the security forces, and teachers from Israel and abroad.
The institute comprises archives, a library, dormitories, conference halls, and an amphitheatre - all designed to serve researchers and students; it also aims at encouraging the general public to discuss the connection between the memory of the Holocaust and central questions that are currently on the public agenda.
The Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust was established in 1972 by members of Hanaoar Hazioni and Akiva youth movements at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak; the kibbutz established in 1938, during the Homa-u-Migdal period [Tower and stockade” - the communities established during the incursions and incidents in the years 1936-1939, known as The Arab Revolt].
Massuah Museum is a historical and educational facility in which the exhibit halls also serve as learning centers. The museum building, situated in the middle of the Massuah campus, was designed in 1969 by the architect Kuba Gaver and the sculptor and designer Roda Reilinger. Its location and form—a towering structure in bare concrete—were meant to symbolize the centrality of Holocaust remembrance in Israeli society. The building is hexagonal; through narrow slots at the angles of its walls allow visitors to gaze outward. The interior of the museum has five levels; in its middle is a memorial site that rises to the height of the ceiling.
The exhibitions at Massuah Museum were designed as study centers in the exhibit halls. The exhibitions are interactive, inspired by the concept of an educational museum based on the principles of Educational Constructivism (structuring of knowledge), a philosophy especially well suited to exhibitions that target groups of young visitors. The Constructivist approach focuses on the imparting of meaning to the topics displayed. The goal is to expose visitors to a broad spectrum of interpretations of the personal experience that they undergo when they visit the exhibition. Exhibitions of this kind challenge visitors and induce them to move beyond their familiar and entrenched patterns of thinking in a way that is compatible with the ability to create new associations.
Massuah’s educational work, based on the Constructivist approach, builds a bridge between the conventional historical perspective of what happened in the Holocaust and the analysis of the meaning of memory. By so doing, it allows young people to subject their conceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about the Holocaust and what it means for their personal and national identity to new and relevant examination.
Massuah Museum also hosts revolving exhibitions on Holocaust remembrance and artists’ personal experiences.