JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new exhibit at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville takes visitors through the life and experiences of a young Jewish girl in hiding with her family during World War II.
The exhibit, which is titled Anne Frank -- a History for Today, opens at MOSH from Friday through Feb. 12.
The exhibit, which is sponsored by Channel 4, lets visitors step into the 1940s, during Germany's severe depression that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Millions of Jews were taken from their homes, identified by numbers and shipped to concentration camps, where millions were murdered.
"This exhibit talks about the dangers of intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and really offers the new generation some hope for the future,” MOSH curator Paul Bourcier said.
It's all told through the eyes of Anne Frank, a Jewish teen who became famous for the publication of her diary, which was written while she was in hiding with her family to escape persecution during the Holocaust.
"The text is extremely powerful, and many people have been inspired by the text, but it's another thing to see faces. To see those people who were referenced in that diary really humanizes (it),” Bourcier said.
Several panels tell the story of the Frank family and the small annex in which they lived, concealed by a bookcase in an Amsterdam business. Visitors can also glance at a replica of Anne Frank's diary.
Surrounding the exhibit is barbed wire fencing, the same kind that was used in concentration camps. The organizers said they wanted to bring some emotion into the exhibit and give people an idea of what things were like during the Holocaust.
There's also a theater that plays a documentary and a Holocaust-inspired art gallery to tie the whole experience together. And MOSH even took it a step further, to include a communitywide initiative called Voices of Hope. Outside the exhibit, there are scheduled musical performances, films, educational events and more.
"That creates opportunities across Jacksonville for us to have these kinds of conversations about why this is relevant today,” said Marina Hane, executive director of MOSH. “Talk about injustice, racism, anti-Semitism -- these very personal experiences that our community is going through today -- in relation to Anne Frank's experience."
Nearly 100 docents have been trained to give guided tours through the exhibit, but visitors can also check it out at their own pace.
Entry to MOSH and the exhibit is free from Friday through Feb. 12.
"We wanted to remove any barriers to access we had control over,” Hane said.
For more information on the exhibit, go to http://annefrankjax.com.