Joanna Smith’s Internship at the Holocaust Museum

As soon as I knew that I would be attending American University to get my Master’s in Art History, I knew that I wanted to have an internship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).  I have been studying the Holocaust for most of my life and I firmly believe that now more than ever, it is important to make sure that people are educated on this time in history so that future generations can learn about it as well. Additionally, it is my professional goal to work as a curator in a museum, ideally one that focuses on Jewish art and artifacts. Although I am not interning in the Museum’s curatorial department, I am very grateful to be doing what I am here. I have my foot in the door and I think that is very important.

My internship is in the Department of Survivor Affairs. Part of my job is to work on writing biographies of our Survivor volunteers that are featured on the Museum’s website. Currently, I am working on eight biographies that are in different stages of progress. I feel so honored to be doing this. Getting to learn about the person I am writing about has been a profound experience. To be able to create something that will allow others to learn their story is an opportunity that I am appreciative of having been afforded and that I take very seriously. The first biography to be finished and put online is of a survivor named Erika Eckstut. Click on her name to see her biography.  I see Erika every Friday and she has become very special to me.

When I was still in high school, I was in a class one day and we were discussing the Holocaust and other historical examples of human suffering such as those that took place in Bosnia and the Sudan. A girl raised her hand and asked why people still talked about the Holocaust. “It was bad. I get it. Why does it still need to be brought up?” she said. As I said to her then and I say to this day, six million people can never die again and I will do what I can to make sure of it.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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One thought on “Joanna Smith’s Internship at the Holocaust Museum

  1. Joanna, thank you for posting this. You provide readers with very thoughtful insights. And your work at the Holocaust Museum sounds quite rewarding.

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