The Potency of Design in Holocaust Exhibitions. A Case Study of The Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust Exhibition (2000)

Diana I. Popescu


Holocaust exhibitions are known for their unique iconography, often constructed by means of exhibition design. This article focuses on how visitors construct meaning based on display choices made by exhibitions designers. It presents insights from an audience research study which was conducted with young visitors of The Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London. It addresses how design choices impact on the visitor’s engagement and understanding of the Holocaust Exhibition. By drawing on visitor comments, this article shows that design plays a significant role in shaping visitors’ understanding of the Holocaust, as well as their level of engagement, focus and emotional response. It further makes several practical suggestions, informed by visitor feedback, regarding the development of new Holocaust exhibition designs.


exhibition design, Holocaust exhibitions, Imperial War Museum, audience research, emotion and cognition, commemoration and education

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Copyright (c) 2020 Diana I. Popescu

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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