Traveling Display Cases to Tour the City as Part of Holocaust Museum Houston’s 20th Anniversary Year
Handcrafted Butterflies from Around the World to Go on Display Across Houston to Memorialize the 1.5 Million Children Who Died in the Holocaust
HOUSTON, TX (Feb. 10, 2016) – Since 1995, children from every continent except Antarctica have brought or sent handmade butterflies to Holocaust Museum Houston as part of “The Butterfly Project,” an international effort to collect 1.5 million handmade butterflies to commemorate each of the 1.5 million children who perished.

Now, Holocaust Museum Houston will launch a series of touring displays 20 years in the making with the help from children across the world as part of its 20th anniversary activities.
Beginning March 11, 2016, six large display cases and two large window displays filled with a variety of butterflies will go on view at Neiman Marcus Houston in The Galleria for two weeks before the cases begin traveling to various venues around the area. One will remain at Neiman Marcus for three months. So far, displays have been confirmed by United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston; Arts Brookfield, which represents Allen Center properties; Cadence Bank in Williams Tower; Brazoria County Historical Museum; and at William P. Hobby Airport, sponsored by Neiman Marcus. For a complete list of upcoming venues and tour dates, visit http://www.hmh.org/butterflies. Not all cases will be displayed at all locations.

Each of the touring locations is accompanied by a bilingual panel that explains the meaning behind the exhibition, to continue teaching the lessons of the Holocaust – responsibility, tolerance, hope, respect, courage, compassion and collective morality.

These exquisite, colorful butterflies were created using an incredible array of materials and innovation. The memory of the children who died in the Holocaust and the loss of their talents and possibilities is felt in the grace and beauty seen in each of the butterflies to be displayed. Diversity is demonstrated by the vast amount of difference in creativity and materials. The Museum received butterflies made of paper, wood, feathers, fabric, metal, stained glass and even concrete. The project has drawn international media attention.

A separate photo book of the same name contains 100 of the most imaginative butterflies submitted and is available for purchase at the Museum Store or online at www.hmh.org.  

The project also will includes an interactive Web site, http://hmh.org/butterflies, that provides up to date location and venue information, a virtual wishing wall for visitors to leave messages about their hopes for the world, a section for social media comments and review, and a video about the project and its  impact.

The project was imagined by three Houston-area teachers and based on an inspiring poem written by Pavel Friedmann in 1942, when he was a prisoner in the Terezin Concentration Camp in former Czechoslovakia. More than 12,000 children under the age of 15 passed through the Terezin camp between the years 1942 and 1944. More than 90 percent of the children who were there perished during the Holocaust.

The butterfly - with its story of rebirth and transformation into new life - has become a symbol of freedom from oppression, intolerance and hatred ever since Friedmann wrote his poem about life in the Terezin camp and the fact that he never saw another butterfly there.

Friedmann’s poem is contained in the book “I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942– 1944.” The project included a school curriculum geared to demonstrate the individuality and creativity of children, past and present, and to create a connection between today’s students and the Holocaust’s youngest victims. Class activities centered around children listed in the book, asking students to think about those children, what they were witnessing, why they were writing or drawing and what they were referring to.
“This project has served as a learning moment for thousands and thousands of students,” said Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, executive director of the Museum. “The butterflies were hung in front of many classrooms with such beauty, such hope, only to be cut down for no reason.” Other important points made by the exercise included emphasizing that very few survived the Holocaust and that dreams and human potential died along with the children.

The displays at Neiman Marcus, and a similar display at the Museum on view through July 31, 2016, are being curated by Houston artist and photographer Syd Moen, who was selected after an extensive search and review process conducted in cooperation with the Houston Arts Alliance.

A native Houstonian, Moen has been a lifelong resident of the city’s Montrose area. She graduated from the University of Houston earning both a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s in architecture. Moen has an extensive resume as a participating artist at festivals across the country. In 2015, Houston magazine named her “one of the top five artists to watch for 2015.” She has been a featured artist at SITE Houston at the Silos at Sawyer, the Samara Gallery in Houston, the Houston Community College Art Club Gallery, BCAF and Hyde Park Gallery, the Houston Club and at FotoFest, among others.

For more information about the Butterfly Project or for information on sponsoring a display, visit http://www.hmh.org/butterflies. To watch a five-minute movie about the project’s history, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yUiIVLEcC8.

This exhibit was made possible in part through the City of Houston's Initiative Grant Program of the Houston Arts Alliance.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.
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