The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was looking for an experiential way to explore the intersections of atrocities that have happened in the past with the crises of the present day in a way that focused on human stories. With presence in several refugee camps around the world, Portals were brought as a way to connect attendees to individuals in these displaced communities to help visitors understand the human consequences of mass atrocities and genocide.
A custom Portal was installed in the Museum and was connected to Portals located in IDP camps in Iraq, Jordan and Berlin, Germany. Conversations between museum goers and individuals in displaced communities were used to create an opportunity to share human stories, dispel stereotypes and develop dialogue between groups that would never have the chance to meet otherwise.
Holocaust survivors connected to Portal attendees in Berlin to share stories of fleeing violence and finding shelter with a Muslim Imam. Students from the March for Life were invited in and had touching human moments with refugees while wearing their MAGA hats. Syrian refugees were able to remark on the power of German society in offering his family a place to resettle.
Creating live conversations between museum patrons and refugees provided a way in which to humanize highly complex geopolitical events and raise awareness for the ongoing refugee crises across the globe.
The activation also augmented existing museum programming on the Syrian refugee crisis, providing an experiential layer to the Museum’s own curated exhibitions.
The activation itself was picked up by several large media outlets including the Washington Post, providing very favorable exposure to the museum as well as drawing increase traffic during the duration of the Portal installation.