“It’s helpful to see rather than always read,” Senior Program Support Assistant of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Michele Kuiawa said about Keene State College students who experienced the famous Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
On Friday, March 4, students left Keene State via bus and ventured to the nation’s capital at 7:30 a.m., arriving at the Hotel Harrington at 5 p.m. The next day the group of students and staff members visited the museum from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The group then departed for the historic town of Alexandria, Virginia, and made its way back to the hotel around 11 p.m. As a part of the trip, the group mainly focused on the Holocaust museum, but also stopped to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as well.
Throughout the trip, the group stopped at rest stops and meetings for lunch and dinner, where they also discussed their emotional experience of seeing the museum.
Kuiawa, who organized the hotel reservations, bus ride and the allotted time in the museum, said the overall trip was successful.
“When they went it helped them understand a little bit more about why we study this,” Kuiawa said. “It’s important and I think the world needs more respect and stability. So, what better way to learn about that than looking at a time in history where that wasn’t the case?”
Director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Dr. Hank Knight was one of the leaders on the trip to the museum. In addition, Knight is on the Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust Committee at the Museum, and helped provide orientation and guidance to students as a walking mentor-like figure to those who viewed the museum and all it had to offer.
Knight said he wanted the visit to the museum to help students “develop a sense of personal connection with the history.”
Knight added that museum is a “testimony to the worst capabilities of civilization,” and the images at the museum displayed “the depth of violence that human beings can systematically plan and systematically execute against a targeted population.”
Both Knight and Kuiawa said the additional trips to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial helped make the trip well rounded, and helped the students see both the best and worst of human potential.
Kuiawa had students fill out anonymous surveys about their overall experience on the D.C. trip and said that results show the vast majority of students considered the trip an emotional and enlightening experience.
The trip is open to all majors at Keene State College and costs $100 to insure a spot on the bus.
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