The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has closed a portion of its permanent exhibition to remove one of its most moving and powerful artifacts: wooden barracks that housed prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
The barracks are being returned to Poland after the end of a long-term loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. The Holocaust Museum has obtained similar barracks from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp to replace the original ones, which have been a centerpiece of the exhibition since the museum’s opening in 1993.
The new barracks will belong to the museum in Southwest Washington.
On Tuesday, the exhibition containing the barracks closed and will remain closed for five months to allow for the removal of the barracks and the installation of the new acquisition.
The portion of the third floor that is closed also contains prisoner food bowls, Zyklon B cans that once contained poison gas, a plaster model of the gas chamber and crematorium in Birkenau, and belongings of victims. Those artifacts and models will remain in the permanent exhibition, museum spokesman Andy Hollinger said.