Memory Made Manifest: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

By Laura Dove

Last updated 6/1/95

There is a link which connects the collective memory of the American people with the horror of the Holocaust. When rain soaks the ground at the sites of Auschwitz, Dachau, and other death camps, shards of bone and layers of ash work their way to the surface. This same process is at work in our recollections of the Holocaust. Americans have been unable to suppress the guilt and horror that remembering the Holocaust engenders, and have slowly come to realize that events that occurred fifty years ago and thousands of miles away demand accomodation in our national conciousness. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a facet of offical American memory fitted into the iconography of the Mall in Washington D.C. This project explores the nature of the Holocaust in the American consciousness culminating in the creation of the Holocaust Commission in 1978, the formation and development of the President's Commission on the Holocaust and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, and the physical and emotional parameters of the and the exhibit it houses.


  • The Holocaust in the American Imagination 1945-1978
  • The President's Commission on the Holocaust 1978-1986

  • The Architecture of the Holocaust Museum 1987-1993
  • The Permanent Exhibit

  • Producers' Bibliography
  • Additional Sources