An Open Letter from The Florida Holocaust Museum

An important message from The Florida Holocaust Museum‘s Executive Director:
I hope that you and yours have been weathering these extraordinary times in good health and good spirits. Thank you to everyone who has reached out and stayed engaged with us during the past weeks.
The Florida Holocaust Museum has always had a dual mission: one is housed in our physical Museum in St Petersburg; the other exists in classrooms throughout the state of Florida. We have been aiding implementation of Florida’s Required Instruction for Holocaust education by providing teacher training, relevant classroom programs, and quality resources across the state, free of charge, for over 28 years.
When we made the decision to close our Museum doors to the public on March 16, we did so understanding that our most mission-critical stakeholders – the students and teachers in Tampa Bay and across the state – needed our focus and support as they suddenly found themselves in a virtual learning environment. Immediately, we pivoted all operations to our digital platform so that we could continue to provide mission-centric educational resources and virtual outreach initiatives to teachers, students and families throughout the state of Florida, and beyond.
So how did we do?
Our doors may have been shut but The Florida Holocaust Museum remained open. During the first eight weeks our impact was significant and wide reaching:
We know that many students explored Museum resources with family members so the numbers reported above are likely only a portion of the actual number of participants.
In addition to maintaining consistent contact with the Tampa Bay school districts, we’ve also been arranging for and holding virtual teacher trainings throughout the state. During the months of May and June, workshops have been or will be held for teachers in: Escambia County, Calhoun County, Holmes County, Taylor County, Jackson County, Wakulla County, Franklin County, Jefferson County, Walton County, Gadsden County, Liberty County, Washington County, Gulf County, Madison County, Desoto County, Glades County, Hardee County, Hendry County, Highlands County, Okeechobee County, Bay County, Polk County, Okaloosa County, and Manatee County.
Beyond students and teachers, #TheFHM has been working hard to bring the Museum into people’s homes even while the doors to our St. Petersburg museum remain shut. We’ve heard from many people who have used our virtual resources, participated in our social media interactive programs, taken advantage of our virtual tour, and explored our collections.
We are diligently working to create the plan that will allow us to once again open our doors and safely to welcome back staff, visitors, students, volunteers and our most precious resource, our local Holocaust Survivors. Until then, we will continue to perform our mission-critical work to use the lessons of the Holocaust to create a better future for all.
Finally a sincere note of gratitude. So many of you have sent in donations and messages of support: THANK YOU. Like most nonprofits, the repercussions of COVID-19 have forced us to make a lot of difficult and uncomfortable decisions. Your donations have allowed us to stay on mission and achieve great things this spring. As we look ahead, your continued support will be needed more than ever. Please consider making a financial donation or joining our membership family. For more information, please visit
Our doors may be shut but The Florida Holocaust Museum remains open.
Elizabeth Gelman
Executive Director of The Florida Holocaust Museum