Teaching about the Holocaust, genocide, human rights, and related topics is challenging, even without a pandemic. The Illinois Holocaust Museum has created a variety of virtual educator resources that engage students through the universal lessons of the Holocaust using age-appropriate classroom activities, virtual field trips, virtual teaching trunks and more for your classroom.

Graphic reading: Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education CenterOver the past year and a half, the museum has dramatically expanded its virtual resources to reach communities across the country. We transformed our world-class exhibitions into captivating synchronous and asynchronous virtual field trips for 3-12 grade students. Our compelling teaching trunks – featuring books, documentaries and artifact explorations – are available as an online tour or a physical resource. Our online professional development workshops bring new activities to use with your students.

Online resources:
The Illinois Holocaust Museum offers both on-site and virtual field trips to our world-class exhibitions, including the “Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition” for grades 7-12, “Make a Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition” for grades 3-6, and the “Take a Stand Center” for grades 7-12. Each offers character-building lessons drawn from the museum’s artifacts and exhibits, including photographs, documents and first-person accounts of Holocaust survivors and upstanders.

Virtual field trips are a rich, interactive experience with questions for reflection and discussion, glossaries and extension activities. These resources invite students to consider the power of choice, responsibility, citizenship and human rights, and to discover what influences our decisions to act as bystanders or upstanders in response to inhumanity.

Additional resources include traveling and virtual teaching trunks that allow educators to create meaningful age/grade-appropriate lessons employing award–winning fiction and nonfiction, historical references and other educational materials. Teaching trunks are provided free of charge.

Each year, we offer three Student Leadership Days for students in grades 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11. Each program engages students in a variety of activities that inspire them to build leadership skills, explore their roles as citizens, and develop a deeper awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, genocide and other human rights issues. Students return to their communities equipped to promote greater acceptance and understanding, and leave with increased knowledge, tools and resources to stand up against injustice and bigotry.

Our professional development workshops engage teachers in range of topics around the Holocaust, genocide, civics and human rights. At each workshop, educators gain content knowledge and receive classroom resources and activities to enhance their units and their students’ learning.

Whether you’re looking for classroom resources, professional development, or enrichment experiences for your students, Illinois Holocaust Museum has got you covered.

Jessica Hulten is the assistant manager of education at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. She has been with the museum for seven years and plays many roles, such as teaching professional development for teachers, training museum docents and growing the museum’s partnerships within the educator community. She has a bachelor’s in history from University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s in Holocaust and genocide studies from Stockton University.