It’s one of the largest expansions of a Houston museum in recent history. In October, construction will begin on a $33.8 million project that will more than double the size of Holocaust Museum Houston.
The new Lester and Sue Smith Campus of the museum will span 57,000 square feet and make HMH the fourth-largest Holocaust museum in the nation. Since part of the expansion includes existing exhibit space, the museum will temporarily relocate exhibits to 9220 Kirby Dr. Suite 100 in July. Officials hope to reopen the expanded museum in early 2019.
The expanded museum will include a new 200-seat theater that can accommodate professional performances, an expansion of the “Bearing Witness” permanent exhibit that includes testimony and artifacts from Houston-area survivors, new exhibit space for the German World War II railcar and Danish rescue boat and a new library and classroom space among other improvements.
Longtime HMH supporters Lester and Sue Smith committed a $15 million matching grant to the project, the largest donation in the history of the museum. To date, the campaign has secured 73 percent of the $49.4 million campaign goal.
"Because the Museum is a leader in educating our youth, the expansion will give us the opportunity to serve substantially more students each year," said Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, CEO of the Museum. "We believe the expanded exhibits, complete with bilingual English/Spanish signage, will increase student field trip attendance by 50 percent in the first year alone, and are projecting that our overall attendance will grow by nearly 35 percent.”
The LEED certified expansion is designed by Mucasey & Associates, Architects, with PGAL as the architect of record. The exhibition and media design is by museum designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates. Program Manager is Mark Christensen of Christensen Building Group, LLC. The general contractor is McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.