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Virginia Holocaust Museum History

The Virginia Holocaust Museum (VHM) first opened in 1997. It was founded by Mark Fetter, Jay Ipson and Al Rosenbaum, with a mission of ensuring the atrocity was never forgotten or repeated. The exhibits were first housed in an unused building located at Temple Beth El Synagogue in Richmond, Virginia. But the enterprise quickly caught on and outgrew the space. So, a search began for a larger building to handle the growing number of visitors and school groups.

In 2000, the Virginia General Assembly stepped forward and offered the 120,000-square-foot American Tobacco Company Warehouse, built in 1899 and located at 2000 East Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia.  After a major restoration and reconfiguration of the building, the new and expanded Virginia Holocaust Museum opened its doors with a dedication ceremony on Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, in 2003.

VHM has grown steadily since 2003 and has an average of over 42,000 visitors yearly. Visitors come from all over the United States and from every country in the world. It remains an important location for Virginia student field trips with students from over 100 middle and high schools visiting yearly. It also serves as an invaluable resource for educators who come to the Museum for workshops and seminars on topics related to the Holocaust and antisemitism and how to teach both effectively and within the Virginia Standards of Learning.

With antisemitism on the rise, the importance of the Museum and its mission has never been more vital.

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