How Much Progress Has Been Made on Holocaust Museum Houston’s New Flat-Topped Backyard Building

Photos from the 13th floor of the office tower at 1200 Binz St. look northeast to show the state of things at Holocaust Museum Houston’s construction site off Caroline St. Peeking out behind the chimney-like roof cylinder on the existing wedge-shaped building, you can seek 3 stories of steel now standing behind it. They make up a nearly three-times-larger structure now taking shape where the museum’s previous single-story northern building was torn down earlier this year. In its place, the new 57,000- sq.-footer designed by Mucasey & Associates will house a 200-seat theater, bigger exhibition spaces, more classrooms, a larger library, and more offices than its predecessor.

It’ll abut the existing ramped building as shown in the elevation below, with an entrance in between the 2:


A parking lot that separated the old backyard structure from Caroline St. will be taken up by the new building — which sits behind a shallow landscape buffer fronting the road.

That leaves all the museum’s parking spaces to the south of it, between the complex and the bank-turned-Houston Bicycle Museum on Binz:

The Holocaust museum closed down last July to make way for the construction work. Two months later its offices began operating from a temporary spot in the warehouse complex on Kirby, just south of W. Bellfort Ave.

Photos: Swamplox inbox. Renderings and site plan: Holocaust Museum Houston

3-Story Steel

17 Comment

  • Great expansion that appears to be well planned, but I have no idea what they are going to put into the new area in the way of exhibits. Perhaps putting some of the items that were previously outside? Maybe someone in the know can elucidate us.

  • Taking a design cue from the new MFAH: wedge-shaped edifice.

  • It’s the other way around Gisgo.

  • ive never understood why we have a holocaust museum in houston. i guess i can understand maybe putting a national one in DC for american survivors or something, but really the whole thing happened over on another continent completely. i can’t believe they were able to fund-raise for this thing. it’d be like if some people in poland were able to get enough money to build a trail of tears monument or something like that.

  • polish cherokee: The trail of tears didn’t lead to a full scale world war. Not saying the Holocaust in itself lead to the war but its a pretty symbolic representation.

  • Also, America was involved with ending the holocaust using our own blood and treasure. So there is more of a personal/national connection (and why there are like 40 or so such museums in the US). The same can’t be said about Poland and the trail of tears.
    I’m sure you realize these are not equivalent in any way. If there is some deep reason you just don’t want a holocaust museum (i.e., maybe you think it never happened), just say it.

  • @ polish cherokee: supposing that you asked an honest question, I’ll give you an answer. The Houston Holocaust Museum, like others of its kind, is dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and to “building a more humane society by promoting responsible individual behavior, cultivating civility and pursuing social justice” (quoted from the mission statement on their website:
    Those are universal lessons, whether a Polish, Texan, Jewish, or not Jewish audience. And underlining that universality, the museum features exhibits on all manner of “holocausts” that are different in degree, but not in kind, from *the* Holocaust: for example, Balkan ethnic cleansing, American lynchings, or, in a current exhibit, the Syrian civil war. So the Houston Holocaust Museum is actually much more broadly conceived than you’re aware.

  • Thank you Houstonreader, you got it absolutely right. The museum’s mission, though still focused on the WW II holocaust, has broadened to make the public aware of ongoing human atrocities. Their lecture and reading series are pretty interesting too.
    According to their website, the local museum was started on the initiative of the local Jewish community and local survivors, there’s a definite connection right here in Houston. Not everyone can get to DC and it’s important to make sure the story gets told everywhere.
    Willing to bet that like most museums the Holocaust Museum here has a lot more in their collection than they could previously exhibit. And that their collections is still growing. As the survivors pass on, many of their personal artifacts from that time are probably donated to the museum. Especially as those things become too fragile for family members to properly care for. (As an example, once had a interesting conversation with a couple of collections staff at the WW II museum in New Orleans, they’re getting a flood of artifacts from those vets and/or their families. Only so much room in the attic.) Also that cool rescue boat and the grim railcar will be better housed and exhibited.
    It’s a good and necessary museum.

  • cody i literally said that it “really” happened in my comment.

  • Many thanks @tcp IV

  • The new Museum will allow us to display all the artifacts we have in our possession about the Holocaust. Due to the small size of the original building, there is no that could have happened. In response to Polish Cherokee’s comment:
    1. I have been a Docent at HMH for over 20 years, and would like to personally invite you to come tour the Museum (I will give you a private free of charge tour) so you can see why we have a Holocaust Museum here, and how the lessons from the Holocaust impact our lives currently.
    2. Schools from all over the state come to our Museum daily for field trips, as this is part of their curriculum, and closer than traveling to DC. Most importantly, so many survivors settled in the Houston area, and this Museum tells THEIR stories – so much personal perspective in our exhibits. When the Museum opened in 1996, there were over 300 Holocaust Survivors living in Houston – as those numbers have dwindled, it is vital that the Museum continues to tell their stories, and their families remain solidly involved with our Museum.
    3. Because of the above, and so many other reasons, fund-raising went very well – this Museum is recognized nationally and internationally. Our new facility will still focus on the Holocaust, with other exhibits focusing on tolerance.

  • Maybe a Polish Trail of Tears monument is appropriate. It would recognize the similarities between the German and American governments and the destruction of communities when forced relocations are imposed. And the ultimate variation at the relocation terminus. Great idea polish cherokee!

  • sounds like polish cherokee was asleep in history class…where would be the appropriate place in your mind?

  • Great points by Russell. As an international city, Houston has been home to many Holocaust survivors. Many of you already know, but Houston’s own Three Brothers Bakery was founded by three young Polish brothers who managed to survive the concentration camps and came to Houston in 1949. Theirs is quite a story – the kind of story the Houston Holocaust Museum is designed to preserve and tell to future generations. Polish Cherokee, you should visit sometime.

  • Living next door to the HMH, I was saddened by the fact that they decided to build right up against the neighbors across Prospect, rather than putting some separation between the two. We’re going to be looking directly into their windows, and them into ours. For no good reason. They could have put a park and/or parking along Prospect, and put the large structure on the south side of the remaining building.

  • To echo the docent, the museum does a wonderful job telling the stories of local survivors, some of whom have gone on to have a huge impact on Houston history. I look forward to visiting the new museum and appreciate your work in educating the public so that “never again.”