Current Special Exhibitions


September 25, 2016 – January 22, 2017

Main Special Exhibition

Co-Presented by Illinois Holocaust Museum and YWCA Evanston/North Shore

Women Hold Up Half the Sky identifies one of the central moral challenges of the 21st century – full equality for the world’s women. It is inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Pulitzer-prize winning authors, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Like the bestselling book, the exhibition features ordinary women who have accomplished extraordinary things. It challenges visitors to open their eyes, minds, hearts, and most of all, to take action to improve women and girls’ lives locally and worldwide.

Learn more and see full list of programming>




July 21, 2016 – May 30, 2017

North Gallery


While imprisoned in Camp de Gurs in unoccupied France in 1941, a young artist named Trudl Besag made an illustrated booklet and gave it to a fellow prisoner, Rosa Hirschbruch, for her 65th birthday. The booklet, entitled So ist es, aber, so soll’s sein (How it is, but how it should be), vividly illuminates the daily life in Gurs, presents an artful and hopeful response to imprisonment, and captures the will of these prisoners to continue to dream of another life.

The exhibition How it is, but how it should be reproduces a rare and vivid artifact from our Museum collection, with translations by the artist. Additional elements tell the broader story of Camp de Gurs and of these two women.

So ist es, aber, so soll’s sein is a gift to the Illinois Holocaust Museum from Michael Froman. The exhibition and associated publication are generously underwritten by Dovie and Mike Horvitz.





What We Carried: Stories by Iraqi Refugees

January 24 – July 11, 2016

North Gallery

What would you take with you if you were forced to flee your homeland?

Over four million Iraqis have fled their homes since the American invasion in 2003, and over 140,000 have been admitted to the U.S. These refugees did not leave to get a better job or because of a natural disaster; they left because of a brutal dictator and warfare that has virtually destroyed their country. Behind the numbers are individuals with incredible stories of perseverance, stories that illustrate the struggle of uprooting lives and leaving families to search for safety.

What We Carried: Stories by Iraqi Refugees is photographic exhibition that explores the possessions that recent Iraqi refugees cherished enough to bring on their journey to the United States. The exhibition is available in both English and Arabic. The featured objects, photographed by award-winning Portland-based photographer Jim Lommasson, range from family photos to a Qur’an, from jewelry to a game of dominos. Refugees wrote their personal reflections directly on the printed photos before returning them to Lommasson, who then curated the exhibition.

In partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, an exhibition of an additional ten photographs will be on display at the Daley Center Concourse Gallery located in the Pedway in Downtown Chicago from January 26 through April.

What We Carried is a project by photographer Jim Lommasson in partnership with Iraqi Mutual Aid Society, Chicago.


We All Need Peace

May 9, 2016-January 9, 2017

Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago

Student Dining Room, Lower Level

WANP 2We need peace for the flowers. We need peace for the sky. We need peace for the children.

Through colorful, cut paper images from artist Ingrid Hess and writer Patti Vick, explore why we all need peace and find ways to be peacemakers in our world.

We All Need Peace was produced by Ingrid Hess.

Three Years, Eight Months, and Twenty Days:

The Cambodian Atrocities and the Search for Justice

May 5, 2015 – October 16, 2016

Goodman Balcony Gallery

Cambodia-homepage-434x293-040215For three years, eight months, and twenty days, the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot ruled Cambodia, enacting a program of harsh internment and torture and subjecting the Cambodian people to inhumane living conditions, starvation, forced labor, forced marriages, and execution. An estimated 1.7 million people perished under this regime. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, created by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, became fully operational in June 2007 to bring to justice senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime and those who were most responsible for international crimes and violations of Cambodian penal law from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.This panel exhibition examines both the history of that period and the on-going trials.

This exhibition was produced by Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in partnership with the Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago.
The Golder Family Foundation is the lead sponsor for all Illinois Holocaust Museum special exhibitions.
The organizers are grateful to their community partner, the Cambodian Association of Illinois.
2015 Genocide and Human Rights Commemorative Initiatives Sponsor: Oscar Isberian Rugs/Pedian Carpet.




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