The National Holocaust Memorial Museum is the one museum I would not miss if I were to plan another trip to Washington, DC. The tickets are specifically timed, and the museum is very rigid about entering at the appointed time. Do not let that deter you.
This is not the kind of museum that will dazzle you with sights and sounds. You will not be stunned by the advancement of technology, or nature, as in the Smithsonian Museums. This museum will touch your soul. It will change you.
You will see shoes worn out by actual prisoners--stacks upon stacks. You can almost feel the spirit of the doomed as they shed their clothes upon entering the camp. You feel them shed their dignity, their identity, their hope.
I was brought to tears by the mere photograph of hair shorn from the heads and bodies of men, women, and children and used to make mattresses, pillows, and cloth. These piles of hair represented hundreds, thousands of human beings treated worse than animals.
See bunks where they lay stacked side by side, upon each other, sleeplessly counting their days. Walk through a mock railcar like so many were forced to ride in.
You will feel the pain. You will see a dimension of humanity that will sicken you and yet draw you to the commonality of all mankind. Hopefully, you will leave, with a deeper sense of what it means to be human and the need to stand up for human rights and dignity, no matter what the cost.
Many people ask, "Should I take my kids?" I can only answer for myself. I did, and we looked, and we talked about it. They didn't understand everything, but they understood some things. They know that we, as humans all feel pain.
This is a thought provoking, soul stirring tour. Don't plan this on your "fun" night. Take time to go somewhere to talk or soul search afterward.