Israel’s Holocaust memorial gets new conservation facility

Published - July 10, 2024 11:51 am IST - JERUSALEM

The documents archive at The David and Fela Shapell Family Collections Centre, in Yad Vashem museum.

The documents archive at The David and Fela Shapell Family Collections Centre, in Yad Vashem museum. | Photo Credit: AP

Israel’s national Holocaust museum opened a new conservation facility in Jerusalem on Monday, July 8. 2024, that will preserve, restore and store its more than 45,000 artifacts and works of art in a vast new building, including five floors of underground storage.

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, serves as both a museum and a research institution. It welcomes nearly a million visitors each year, leads the country’s annual Holocaust memorial day and hosts nearly all foreign dignitaries visiting Israel. “Before we opened this building, it was very difficult to exhibit our treasures that were kept in our vaults. They were kind of secret,” said Yad Vashem chairperson Dani Dayan. “Now there’s a state-of-the-art installation (that) will help us to exhibit them.”

The David and Fela Shapell Family Collections Center will also provide organisation and storage for Yad Vashem’s 225 million pages of documents and half a million photographs.

Mr. Dayan said the materials will now be kept in a facility that preserves them in optimal temperatures and conditions. “Yad Vashem has the largest collections in the world of materials related to the Holocaust,” Mr. Dayan said. “We will make sure that these treasures are kept for eternity.”

The new facility includes advanced, high-tech labs for conservation, enabling experts to revisit some of the museum’s trickier items.

Conservation of items from the Holocaust is an expensive, painstaking process that has taken on greater importance as the number of survivors dwindles.

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