Americans and the Holocaust Traveling Exhibit & Grant


Monday, March 11, 2024


Brittany Jacobs

Library Director

Burlington Public Library



Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition coming to the Burlington Public Library


The Burlington Public Library is one of 50 U.S. libraries newly selected to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association (ALA) that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.


Following a highly successful tour to 50 libraries from 2021 to 2023, the touring library exhibition— based on the special exhibition of the same name at the Museum in Washington, D.C. — will travel to an additional 50 U.S. libraries from 2024 to 2026, covering wide distances from Hawaii and Alaska to Texas and New Hampshire.


“We are thrilled to have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants for this informative and high-quality traveling experience,” said Library Director, Brittany Jacobs. “With our local connection to Anne Frank and partnership with the Anne Frank Museum of Danville, we look forward to providing the community with an opportunity to learn about these hard, but important themes and events from our history.”

Americans and the Holocaust will be on display at the Burlington Public Library, along with a series of related special events, from August 19, 2026 to September 30, 2026.


The 1,100-square-foot exhibition examines various aspects of American society: the government, the military, refugee aid organizations, the media and the general public. Drawing on a remarkable collection of primary sources from the 1930s and ’40s, the exhibition tells the stories of Americans who acted in response to Nazism, challenging the commonly held assumptions that Americans knew little and did nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews as the Holocaust unfolded. It provides a portrait of American society that shows how the Depression, isolationism, xenophobia, racism and antisemitism shaped responses to Nazism and the Holocaust.

In addition to the traveling exhibition on loan, the Burlington Public Library received a $3,000 cash grant to support public programs. The grant also covered one library staff member’s attendance at an orientation workshop at the Museum.


“I am so proud to have received this opportunity,” exclaimed Becky Nelson, Manager of Outreach & Program Services. “Thank you to all the community members who wrote letters of support for us, we couldn't have done it without you. I am so excited to further explore our partnerships with the Anne Frank Museum in Danville, and Stephen J. Gaies, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education at the University of Northern Iowa to create unique programming to accompany this exhibit. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us, and I cannot wait to provide this phenomenal exhibit for the community.”


"As a part of the instrumental effort in securing a grant to host a Holocaust museum at our Burlington library, I take great pride in our accomplishment,” said Stephanie Jones, co-applicant for the grant. “This exhibit is not just a showcase; it is a chance to open eyes and hearts in our community. I feel privileged to contribute to something that goes beyond the shelves.  It brings important stories to life and contributes to making our library a hub of awareness and understanding."


“Our Burlington Public Library is exemplary in many ways, but one of which is showcased with the exceptional work of Becky Nelson and Stephanie Jones in writing and securing this grant,” said Director Jacobs. “This is the largest grant that BPL has received from our national association, and we are so proud of our team and eager for our community to share in this transformative experience.”


For more information about Americans and the Holocaust and related programming at the Burlington Public Library, visit To learn more about the exhibition, visit


Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries is an educational initiative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association. The traveling exhibition began by touring to 50 U.S. libraries from 2021 to 2023; due to widespread interest from libraries and communities around the country, a second tour was developed for 2024 to 2026.


Americans and the Holocaust was made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Jeannie & Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners — Joan & Allen z”l, Elisa Spungen & Rob, Nancy & Jim; and Jane and Daniel Och. The Museum's exhibitions are also supported by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.


Additional programming support was made possible, in part, by the Friends of the Burlington Public Library.


About the Burlington Public Library


The Burlington Public Library creates opportunities for all people to connect with others, to learn about the world around them, and to imagine the futures before them. As the longest continuously operating library in Iowa, we have been sparking curiosity and championing life-long learning since 1868.


About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A nonpartisan, federal educational institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust dedicated to ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding and relevance. Through the power of Holocaust history, the Museum challenges leaders and individuals worldwide to think critically about their role in society and to confront antisemitism and other forms of hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. For more information, visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit


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