Illinois Holocaust Museum teaches kids to stand up

Teach your child how to take a stand with the help of virtual reality at the new Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s youth exhibition, Make a Difference.

“We’re trying to put goals in reach to think about what we can do to become better human beings in this world,” says Noreen Bland, the museum’s education director.

One goal promoted by the youth area is standing up for what’s right. This theme overshadows details of Holocaust victims’ suffering to encourage children, ages 8-11, to relate the past event to the present and effect social change in the future.

Interactive learning stations help children to identify the difference between a bystander and an “upstander” and what risks and outcomes are associated with each.

Video-simulated peer situations, including assimilation to a new culture or bullying, let visitors practice good decision making. Kids insert their photo and voice into the cartoon and find out the result of their decisions.

The youth exhibit’s highlight is the virtual Take a Stand game where kids work together to stop an alpha frog from knocking others off their lily pads.

Kids can even make digital posters about their experience at the museum, which are displayed on a screen at the youth area’s entrance. The exhibition also includes a book nook, theater and puzzle area and survivor-story viewing booths.

“The goal here is to encourage discussion and reflection,” says youth exhibit educator Alexis Storch. This exhibition is perfect for children who may not be ready for the adult themes of the permanent exhibition yet offers a message for the young and old.

The Holocaust Museum

•9603 Woods Drive, Skokie

•(847) 967-4800

•Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The museum will be closed on Mondays in July.

•Admission is $8, $5 for children up to age 11,

$6 for students and seniors.

•The museum houses a vegetarian cafe and parking is available nearby.

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