Current Special Exhibitions


Mandela: Struggle for Freedom

February 20 – September 12, 2021

Main Special Exhibition Space

Mandela: Struggle for Freedom traces the history of the fight against apartheid in South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as one of its central figures. With immersive environments, Mandela promotes human rights with a message: all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Among its many dramatic features and original artifacts, the exhibition replicates the eight-foot by seven-foot cell where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail, before emerging at age 71 to continue negotiating democratic change with his former enemies. Visitors entering the cell will find themselves in a multimedia theatre, with projections telling stories of repression and resilience on the walls.

Learn more about the exhibition

Virtual Public Tours of Mandela: Struggle for Freedom will take place on:

April 11, 2:00 pm (CDT): Click here to register

April 21, 10:30 am (CDT): Click here to register

April 26, 6:30 pm (CDT): Click here to register

May 5, 10:30 am (CDT): Click here to register

May 9, 2:00 pm (CDT): Click here to register

May 19, 10:30 am (CDT): Click here to register

May 24, 6:30 pm (CDT): Click here to register


Presenting Sponsors







Lester & Edward Anixter Family Foundation

Brenda & Lance Feis



In Honor of Harry & Harriet Bernbaum

Mitch & Cathy Feiger

Hackner Family

Jill and Rob Selati


Additional Funders

Golder Family Foundation

Keith & Caryl Jaffee


Judith & William Rader and Family

Morris & Judith Rosenzweig Family Foundation

Ilan & Rebekah Shalit

Rachel Brosnahan

Lance and Angela Donenberg

Lifeway Foods

North Shore (IL) Chapter of The Links; Incorporated

Mosaic Construction

North Suburban Synagogue Beth El Men’s Club

Quarles & Brady LLP

Laura Elizabeth Tanner


Media Partners

Mandela: Struggle for Freedom was developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg, Canada) in partnership with the Apartheid Museum (Johannesburg, South Africa). Tour management services provided by Lord Cultural Resources.

International Tour Supporters

Community Partners

Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law ; Bluhm Legal Clinic – Center on Wrongful Convictions; Chicago Cultural Alliance; Equity Institute at YWCA Evanston/North Shore; Heartland Alliance; Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA); Niebuhr Center at Elmhurst University; The Peace Exchange Program of Holy Family Ministries; Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s Racial Justice Institute and Network



They Shall Be Counted: The Theresienstadt Ghetto Art of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly


Northern Trust Gallery & The Joseph L. & Emily K. Gidwitz Memorial Foundation Gallery

“Arrival of Danish Jews at Terezin Spa”

They Shall Be Counted is a gallery of sketches and watercolor illustrations by Holocaust-era artist Erich Lichtblau-Leskly. Even while imprisoned within the Theresienstadt Ghetto, he managed to express himself artistically, creating breathtaking illustrations as a tribute to ghetto residents. He cut his art into pieces, out of fear for his safety, and his wife, Elsa Lichtblau, hid them under the floorboards of the ghetto barracks. He miraculously retrieved them after liberation and later re-worked the sketches into full-size watercolor illustrations. Both original sketches and full-size artworks will be on display in the exhibit.

Learn more about the exhibition.

This exhibition is on loan from Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.








Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Virtual Exhibition

The Warsaw ghetto uprising was the largest Jewish uprising in German-occupied Europe. The fighters knew they were bound to lose, but at stake was the honor of the Jewish people. They chose to die fighting. Their courage led to numerous smaller uprisings in ghettos and concentration camps and inspired the Polish population to resist the Germans in the citywide uprising of August 1944.

Click here to explore the virtual exhibition.

This exhibition is a production of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center with assistance from the curatorial and photographic archives departments of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. All photos are courtesy United States Holocaust Memorial Museum unless otherwise noted. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, College Park.

Elements of this exhibition were generously supported by Harvey L. Miller and Jack Miller in loving memory of their parents, Ida and Ben Miller, and their brother Arnold Miller.



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