The first traveling Auschwitz exhibition opened its doors at Union Station in Kansas City last month, 77 years after the Nazi concentration camp closed.
“There’s so much relevance today,” Executive Vice President and COO of Union Station Jerry Baber said. “This whole concept of hate and intolerance is an issue that hasn’t gone away and by bringing Auschwitz here and reminding people that all of that started with hate and intolerance towards other people.”
Union Station staff teamed up with Luis Ferreiro, Director of Musealia, a traveling exhibition company, in 2015 when Ferreiro first brought up the idea at a conference.
“A couple years later we met with him and he had the concept layout of the exhibit and we kind of gave him some feedback, and it wasn’t until the end of 2017 that it finally opened in Madrid, Spain, so we went over there to see it,” Baber said.
After six years of being in the talks, Musealia went to New York to meet with the Jewish Heritage Museum and make a long term contract to bring the exhibit there, as well as to Kansas City.
With hundreds of original artifacts, the exhibit provides visitors with a full audio-guided tour and can be a two to three hour experience.
“It takes you on a journey so that you don’t miss key aspects of the story,” Baber said. “It does slow you down. I think the other thing is that it does let you kind of take this personal journey.”
The exhibit has 66 different parts to go through from before WWII to the liberation of the camp, with interviews from survivors and objects that were left behind from the camp.
“No one’s talking because they’re all having this emotional, personal journey with this whole storyline and what happened,” Baber said.
The exhibit has sold over 120,000 tickets in its first three weeks of being open, with weekends sold out until October.
“The response has been great,” Baber said. “We do have some survey data for people that have come through, basically 100% of the people that have gone and taken the survey said that they would recommend someone to go to this exhibit.”
Along with the Auschwitz Exhibit, Science City is also at Union Station. Baber shared that no other contracts for exhibits have been made at the moment.
The Auschwitz Exhibit will be open at Union Station until January 2022. For more information and tickets, visit unionstation.org.