Holocaust Museum takes on provocative subject
HOLOCAUST MUSEUM TRAVELING EXHIBITION
What: “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America”
Where: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie
When: Opens July 15
Creator: International Spy Museum
Updated: August 6, 2012 12:06PM
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center could not have picked a more provocative subject for its latest traveling exhibition.
“Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” which opens July 15 at the museum, turns attention to the thorny issue of finding the right balance between civil liberties and individual rights during times of conflict.
More than 10 years after 9/11, which heightened the issue for everyone in the country, there still is no consensus over what is the “right balance” between guarding the rights of American citizens and protecting them from attack.
“The Sept. 11 attacks were a pivotal moment for so many Americans as they represented the first time that our freedoms and security had been so violently assaulted by terrorists on American soil,” said Holocaust Museum Executive Director Rick Hirschhaut. “‘Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs’ is a significant exhibition for this institution because terrorism in any form is an assault on freedom — and the promotion of human rights is a vital part of the mission of the Illinois Holocaust Museum.”
Created by the International Spy Museum, the exhibition tunnels into the stories of espionage, treason and deception that have been part of the country’s history for centuries.
It offers up historical events through interactive displays, photographs, films, video and artifacts. The exhibition even includes fragments of one of the planes used to attack the World Trade Center in 2001.
Themes highlighted in “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs” include revolution, sabotage, hate, radicalism, world war, subversion, protest, extremism, and terrorism. Interactive stations allow visitors to record their opinions on issues of national security and civil liberties and compare their reactions to those of past Gallup polling results.
The ambitious aim, museum leaders say, is to convey the challenge of securing the nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded. The museum’s latest exhibition is not meant to provide definitive answers as much as to pose difficult questions, enlightening visitors and even challenging and questioning their own beliefs and assumptions.
The Review will spotlight the exhibition in a feature story shortly after it opens.