BYRON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Mobile Museum of Tolerance stopped at Byron High School, as it travels across the state to inspire people to combat hate of all kinds.
“We hope to have people, you know, learn an important lesson about the past,” said Elizabeth Blair, an education associate for Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum. “We have videos on the Holocaust and the civil rights movement, but then also be inspired to make a difference in their own world too.”
The first of its kind in the US the museum is part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center museum. It travels to rural communities that may not have access to its resources.
“One of the big goals of this project was to get out to communities that don’t regularly make it to museums for field trips and things,” Blair said. “So just bringing this experience to a more rural community also, of course, you know, there’s still rising hate antisemitism, racism in our world. And so addressing those issues is very important for us too.”
The Mobile Museum was at Byron High School all day working with students on a media literacy program, the program is called “Combat Hate.”
“It’s a program that’s basically designed to teach people skills for confronting hate and staying safe online. So students talk about their own personal use of social media. We go through different examples of social media posts on tablets, and they talk about them in small groups, and we end with different strategies and resources for them staying safe online,” Blair explained.
“I think it’s important to teach them how to decipher online messages and to know, you know, what they’re reading and how to handle those things,” said the Byron Community School District Librarian, Jill Smith. “I think it’s just a great resource and having our kids learn more about digital literacy is important in today’s world.”
“Being able to hear people’s personal connections to those times, especially recognizing how, you know, themes that we saw in the past still connect to what’s going on in our world today. That’s been very powerful. You know, it inspires people to make a difference,” Blair added.
To learn more about the museum that is on the go use their website.