The somber, signature black brick cylinder of the Holocaust Museum Houston suddenly looks like a different kind of beacon. After a two-year, $34 million expansion that has nearly tripled its size, the museum will reopen Saturday as the nation’s fourth largest dedicated to the Holocaust. A new, three-story facility awash in daylight balances the weight of the cylinder, which was built in 1996 to evoke a concentration camp crematorium. And at night, blue light glows from the cylinder’s top, symbolizing eternal hope. The permanent “Bearing Witness” exhibit remains significant and has been enlarged to include the museum’s two largest artifacts: Its German World War II-era railcar, like those that transported Holocaust victims to camps; and its Danish Rescue Boat. The new Morgan Family Welcome Center at the base of the cylinder, where the auditorium previously stood, explains the historical context through an excellent video, inset screens and vitrines of artifacts from Houstonians who survived the Holocaust.
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