TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After having shuttered in November due to rising number in the coronavirus pandemic, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center will reopen Friday and Saturday with new exhibits and special programs.
Leah Simpson, CANDLES Executive Director, said that attendance dropped about 80% in 2020 due to COVID-19, but federal CARES Act funding and a sizable local donor pool helped sustain the museum, and she’s hopeful that attendance will rise again.
Prior to closing, CANDLES had begun a new exhibit dedicated to Mengele Twins, 3,000 children who had been subjected to Dr. Josef Mengele’s deadly genetic experiments. “We had already started a new exhibit prior to COVID and we are finally ready to open this to the public with some small delays,” Simpson said. “But it’s an exhibit that highlights the Mengele Twins, which is so important to our identity and who we are.”
CANDLES founder Eva Kor, who died in July 2019, was one of those victims. “The Power of Forgiveness,” a book by Kor, is available at the museum’s gift shop.
On Saturday, a digital “Be the Change” series will be streamed. People can watch from home on the museum’s website or see it in person at the museum. Simpson calls it “an exhibit in which you can hear three- to five-minute video clips of survivors telling their stories about certain topics.”
Simpson hopes schools will soon once again take advantage of the museum’s educational opportunities. “Maybe not this semester for school trips, but we really hope to hit the fall hard and reach out to our schools that used to be so faithful in attending and tell them we still have a lot to offer and really just explain how we can be safe and how we can share education, so I’ve very hopeful,” she said.
CANDLES is at 1532 S. 3rd St. It will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Admission $7 per person. Masks are required, social distancing is observed and the museum has a cleaning routine.