Carrying Survivors’ Voices Into the Future: The Impact of Telematics Grant on Melbourne Holocaust Museum

Carrying Survivors' Voices Into the Future: The Impact of Telematics Grant on Melbourne Holocaust Museum

In today’s fast-paced, politically and socially volatile world, the Melbourne Holocaust Museum stands as a beacon of remembrance and education.

Founded in 1984 by Holocaust survivors, it is Australia's largest institution dedicated to Holocaust research and remembrance. Its mission is to combat antisemitism, racism, and prejudice through education.

Now, the Museum has created an immersive exhibition that brings the stories and voices of Holocaust survivors to life. Meg Hibbert, the Museum’s Communications and Marketing Specialist, says they couldn’t have done it without the Telematics Trust.

"The Telematics grant has helped us in our mission to amplify the voices of Holocaust survivors in our new core exhibition set to open later this year. Our audio-visual overlay, 'In the Footsteps', allows visitors to walk with one of six Melbourne-based Holocaust survivors, and provides them with the opportunity to interact with these survivors’ experiences at stations plotted throughout the exhibit.

"The overlay incorporates testimony, artefacts and photographs relating to each survivor’s experiences, and allows audiences to connect with each distinct journey in a deeply meaningful way. We are so grateful to Telematics for supporting us to develop this project."

The Melbourne Holocaust Museum’s core exhibition explores the history of the Holocaust, highlighting the impact of prejudice, racism, and acts of courage. However, the sheer scale of the Holocaust can make the atrocities difficult for visitors to comprehend. Facts and figures can unintentionally dehumanise survivors, drowning out their individual voices.

'In the Footsteps' is an exciting virtual layer that sits on top of the core exhibition, allowing
visitors to connect with historical facts on an individual, and therefore more meaningful, level. Designed to be transformative and inclusive, ‘In the Footsteps’ offers visitors insight into the deeply personal stories of Holocaust survivors.

Upon entering the museum, visitors choose a survivor and receive a physical near-field communication (NFC) 'postcard'. As they navigate through the displays, the NFC postcard triggers detailed multi-media content specific to their chosen survivor, including audio and visual recordings of their story.

At each station, visitors can delve deeper into their survivors' experiences, viewing personal artefacts and photographs and hearing their testimonies. This immersive experience extends beyond the museum walls.

Visitors can take home a card about their survivor, and access further information, leave messages, and connect with other survivors' stories online. The Telematics grant has played a vital role in turning this vision into a reality.

It supported the planning, development, and technical aspects of 'In the Footsteps’, enabling the museum to engage quantity surveyors, concept development contractors, and filmmakers. The impact of the grant also extends beyond the completion of the exhibition.

The museum has leveraged it to attract further funding by offering major donors the opportunity to sponsor one of the six survivor stories. The exhibition opens soon, with an expected annual visitor count of 25,000, projected to increase to 40,000 in the coming years.

The Melbourne Holocaust Museum is eager to welcome its visitors, many of whom are students of public, non-Jewish secondary schools in Victoria, who attend on-site workshops as part of their curriculum.

Other visitors will include the public, community groups, and government agencies. Visitors are not the only beneficiaries of the project; the survivors themselves find meaning in purpose in sharing their stories and contributing to continued education.

With a grant from the Telematics Trust, the Melbourne Holocaust Museum has taken a significant step toward achieving its mission to create a better future by humanising the historical significance of the Holocaust and its relevance today.

By bringing the voices of survivors to life through immersive technology, it ensures that their stories will be heard for generations to come.

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