Client Case Study

Illinois Holocaust Museum

Public Affairs, Events

THE CHALLENGE

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is the last museum to be built by Holocaust survivors and, as a result, more than 19,000 people requested tickets to attend opening events.

Our challenge was twofold – build an outdoor tented space large enough to accommodate such a sizable number of guests, as well as create a program that was appropriately substantive, historically reflective and forward thinking.

THE APPROACH

Our team coordinated everything from event management and video production, to media relations and graphic design to support this momentous event. We worked with the museum to conceptualize, plan and implement multiple events designed to provide unique opportunities for various constituencies, including an inaugural gala; an interfaith leadership breakfast; a Leadership Brunch for special guests, elected officials and high-level donors; a public grand opening dedication; and an inaugural academic symposium. We engineered the event program, including keynote addresses by President Bill Clinton, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and other dignitaries, as well as reflective video messages by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli President Shimon Peres. We secured local, regional, national, and international media coverage in advance of, during and following all grand opening events. Additionally, our team oversaw installation of a 8,500-person weatherproofed tent used for both the gala dinner and dedication ceremony, and provided on-site support for all grand opening events.

THE RESULTS

  • The museum’s grand opening events were attended by more than 12,000 people despite dismal weather conditions.
  • The IHMEC raised approximately $1.8 million at the inaugural gala attended by nearly 2,600 guests.
  • More than 100 clergy from diverse faiths were present at the interfaith luncheon to discuss religious intolerance.
  • More than 250 educators, thought leaders, and professional and student journalists attended the Museum’s inaugural symposium regarding genocide.
  • Events garnered widespread media coverage in dozens of major media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, United Press International, UK Press Association, The Jerusalem Post, the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and WBBM-TV, and more.

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