Imperial War Museums' new The Holocaust Galleries, designed by Casson Mann, open at IWM London on 20th October 2021. Selected to work on the project in 2016, this has been an enlightening and humbling project for Casson Mann. Our challenge has been to create a design that pays testimony to the millions killed in the Holocaust and which will facilitate greater public understanding of the complexity of the subject and its context.
The new galleries replace the current Holocaust Exhibition at IWM London, which opened in 2000. The Holocaust Galleries have been developed using the most up to date research and evaluation, including archive material only available since the end of the Cold War. Individual stories from some of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust will be told through over 2,000 photos, books, artworks and letters, and personal objects ranging from jewellery and clothing to toys and keepsakes.
Many Holocaust museums and exhibitions give the impression that the Holocaust took place under the cover of darkness, through their dominant use of dark colours and materials, black-and-white imagery and low lighting. Casson Mann’s design uses colour and light to reinforce the shocking fact that the Holocaust was planned and carried out in ‘plain sight’ - in the centre of civilised Europe.