Student lands prestigious internship at Museum of Jewish Heritage
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 22:01
It has been over six decades since the end of the Holocaust in 1945 but it will always remain an important history lesson to future generations, especially UConn student, Ashleigh Wood.
Wood, a 6th-semester Art History and French major has landed a prestigious internship with the Lipper Program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage memorial to the Holocaust located in lower Manhattan. Through this internship she will learn to teach 20th century Jewish history and the Holocaust to younger generations in order to open students’ minds to the atrocities of the past. The program will focus on specifically teaching middle and high school students in New York and Connecticut public schools.
“I will be creating a comfortable learning environment that will hopefully open students’ minds…in hopes of preventing such events in the future,” she said in email. “We will teach the students to memorialize the 6 million Jews that were murdered, and remember that Jewish culture is still alive and flourishing today.”
The internship began during winter break with an eight-day intensive training program with 15 other interns that gave a crashcourse on Jewish culture, the Holocaust and genocide. Through this program it has allowed her to hear testimonies from survivors of the holocaust as well as the Rwandan genocide. The internship will last through June, when schools finish.
Wood will have to travel every Friday to various schools in order to give a lecture (also called the pre-visit to the museum) and introduce the idea of Jewish heritage and culture. She will introduce the museum name and the importance of it followed by the introduction of the Holocaust and the victims that were murdered. Next, she will give a tour of the museum to that class and during the final week, she will visit the class again to discuss what they learned at the museum and how prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
“We emphasize that every person can make a difference as long as they implore action, stay educated or both,” Wood said. “There are always going to be different approaches to learning but by studying the Holocaust, we educate ourselves, spread the word, and collectively try to avoid preventable atrocities of this scale and magnitude.”
Wood says she personally doesn’t have any connections to Jewish heritage but is excited to learn something different. She believes that stereotypes and prejudices are still major problems today and hopes hope to immerse herself in museum education to better prepare herself for a career in the field.
“I definitely plan to visit other Jewish and Holocaust museums to compare and contrast the approaches to studying this topic,” Wood said. “I really encourage all UConn students to stay aware and learn more about the Holocaust and genocide, as well as gender, race, religious, political and cultural issues that are still very much an issue around the world today.”