Upcoming traveling exhibit at the Rio Rancho Library

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, based in Washington DC, chose the Loma Colorado Main Library in Rio Rancho to host its traveling exhibit after a very competitive application process.

The grant-funded traveling exhibit is being produced in partnership with the American Library Association and will stop at libraries in most states. Rio Rancho is the only stop in New Mexico. The exhibit opens Tuesday, October 12 and will run through November 13 during normal library hours.

The first stop for the “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibit will be at the Loma Colorad Main Library in Rio Rancho. (Courtesy of the City of Rio Rancho)

The 1,100-square-foot traveling exhibit, titled “Americans and the Holocaust,” examines World War II from an American perspective, exploring themes such as what Americans knew about Nazi persecution before it entered the war. and its response.

Marla Eglash Abraham, director of the museum’s western region, said researchers scoured hundreds of local newspapers across the country and collected individual stories to build the exhibit.

“We wanted to tell the American story, the American story,” Eglash Abraham said.

Eglash Abraham said the process was very competitive and the selection committee considered several factors, including whether the library had enough space and staff to support the exhibition and programming. One of the most important factors, she said, was location. The libraries they chose had to be, not necessarily remote, but somewhat off the beaten track.

“We didn’t want to go to typical cities like San Francisco, Chicago or Los Angeles,” she said. “We wanted to go where the scope of the Holocaust was not so deep. It is an attempt to bring that to populations which would generally not have access to this type of information.

The main library in Loma Colorado will host the “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibit. The city won a competitive application process to host it. (Courtesy of the City of Rio Rancho)

Annemarie García, spokesperson for Rio Rancho, said the city has traditionally been seen as a dormitory community and this represents an incredible opportunity to have such an exhibition.

“A lot of times, residents of Rio Rancho have to go elsewhere for this type of cultural exhibit,” she said. “We now have the option of presenting the exhibition to them instead. “

According to 2020 census data, Rio Rancho has a population of approximately 104,000 people, 32.5% of whom have graduated with a bachelor’s degree or above. Other places where the exhibit will land include Juneau, Alaska; Yuma, Arizona; Fresno, California and Colorado Springs.

The exhibition will feature large panels with images, as well as videos. The exhibit will be suitable for all ages and does not contain any graphics that may alarm young children.

Margaret Gates, a guide at the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and the Gellert Center for Education in Albuquerque, said they were absolutely thrilled that Rio Rancho is hosting the traveling exhibit. She said some of the museum’s volunteers have volunteered to be guides at the Rio Rancho exhibit.

“The main reason it’s important is to remember what happened,” she said. “Awareness could prevent this from happening again. “

Mayor Gregg Hull said that before COVID, the city’s two libraries saw about 700 people with each other per day. He said he believed the exhibit would attract people from out of town.

“We consider it to be no different from when people go to Albuquerque and check out the exhibits,” he said. “We expect to get a lot of attention from Albuquerque and surrounding areas, maybe even Santa Fe.”

Andy Holten was a child in hiding during the Holocaust. Both his parents were killed at Auschwitz. (Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)

The library will offer additional programming in October and November to coincide with the exhibition. Events include a seminar that explores the refugee crises of World War II and now, an overview of Japanese American burial camps in New Mexico during World War II, and a lecture on Jewish films and their place in it. history of cinema.

Holocaust survivor Andy Holten will share his story about his life as a child in hiding during WWII. His parents did not survive. Holten is a longtime substitute teacher with Rio Rancho Public Schools.

“Having the opportunity to bring something to our community that would mean so much to so many people is something we are proud to support,” said Lynette Schurdevin, Director of Library and Information Services. “Library staff worked so hard to plan and coordinate this one-of-a-kind exhibit, and we look forward to sharing it with our citizens. “

A complete program with precise dates and times is available online at rrnm.gov under the “Library and Information Services” tab.

The library is located at 755 Loma Colorado Blvd. NE, Rio Rancho. Hours are 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; close on Sunday.


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