Hello! My name is Morgan Benthin and I am a senior studying history with a minor in secondary education. I am from Clinton, Iowa and am excited to start student teaching in the spring!
This morning we had our first official class in Washington D.C. at our hostel. The day before, we toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). For half of the class, it was our first visit here. We prepared with a lecture by Steve Luckert, curator of the Permanent Exhibition at USHMM. We discussed about the layout and artifacts of the Permanent Exhibit. We examined the items we read about in our reading of “We are the Last Witnesses” (Hansen-Glucklich). We mentioned that the room filled with shoes on loan from the State Museum at Majdanek. Hansen-Glucklich states, “the noticeable warmth of the room, the dim lighting, the smell of old leather, and the overwhelming visual impression of the two mountains of shoes are sufficiently strong that visitors first feel and then consider.” This creates emotional ties to the artifacts rather than having interpretations based off of a book.
Since I'm going to be a history teacher, the lecture was insightful by asking two questions. How far do you go when teaching the Holocaust? What do you not show? The exhibit of Daniel’s Story is a great educational tool for secondary school students. Daniel’s Story is an exhibit that depicts a young boy's life throughout Holocaust through a diary. The exhibit has activities that you could see stages throughout Daniel's life. The environment created here is a great tool for educators to use for teaching the Holocaust. It is something that I will take into consideration for future classrooms. I'm excited for the rest of our time in Washington D.C. at the USHMM and the experiences we have in Europe.