holocaust memorial at legion of honor - matt maier

context and impact

Posted on 12 Jul ’10

we were at the legion of honor yesterday for a french impressionist exhibit. neither of us knew there was a holocaust memorial as well. we agreed to visit the memorial after finishing at the museum.

we’d gone to the united states holocaust memorial museum in washington while visiting this past january. while the museum did indeed leave an enduring impression; i felt the memorial yesterday had a greater impact.

i believe the strength of impact is directly related to the context. when we were in dc, the museum was bustling with people, there was also a demonstration scheduled on the mall. constant distractions from irrelevant commentary, human obstructions, and waiting – proved to detract significantly from the experience. the context did not lend itself to the solemn nature of the exhibit, at least for me. i would have preferred opportunity to absorb more and digest it in a focused manner at my own pace.

the memorial at the legion of honor was deserted, overcast skies set the tone, the display seemed much more profound to me. the lack of any explanation, none is needed, resonated more with me than jockeying for a position in order to read a placard at the museum. regardless, they are both well done and deserving of a visit to reflect on darker moments in history.