Set up by the remarkable Smith family, who first opened Beth Shalom (‘House of Peace’) in their very own farmhouse in Sherwood Forest in 1995, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum is the only Holocaust remembrance and learning centre in the world that was founded by Christians. The aim of the centre is to educate and inspire others to reflect on Christianity’s 2,000-year campaign of anti-Jewish hate, which led to the world’s most terrible atrocity during Hitler’s reign of terror.
Over a quarter of a century later, the National Holocaust Centre and Museum is a home-from-home for inspiring speakers and holocaust survivors and has even been awarded ‘National Portfolio Organisation’ status by Arts Council England. The museum’s reach spans primary and secondary schools of all faiths or none, vocational colleges and youth groups. The adult learning programmes are also growing with many football clubs, police forces, local councils, universities and interfaith groups involved including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the UK’s Chief Rabbi.
Innovation and technology are at the forefront of the teaching, with the museum offering sector-leading interactive and virtual reality innovations such as The Journey App and The Eye As Witness. The Forever Project – an award-winning initiative that enables visitors to have a conversation with a survivor family even when they are not present – is testimony to the team’s forward thinking. These significant immortal conversations will continue long after the last survivor has passed away.
The National Holocaust Centre and Museum attracts a wide range of visitors, from school children to adult groups each year. As a charity, it relies on the support of visitors and donors, so the onsite café plays an important role in raising funds.
“We have a close-knit team in our coffee shop who oversee both visitors and events. Our team have a wide range of experience within the hospitality and customer service industries from local pubs to event catering companies,” explains Jill Robinson, Partnership Manager.
“Our coffee shop is an important part of our museum as it offers visitors a place of refuge to sit and reflect on the content of our exhibitions. Offering a warm welcome and a comforting cup of tea to those who wish to take a few moments before, after or during their visit.
We have a team of four part-time staff who are assisted by a small number of wonderful volunteers who offer their time to support the museum. We offer traditional food; home-made. Home-made soup, freshly made-to-order sandwiches as well as a wonderful selection of cakes! Our menu changes seasonally so we may have quiche and scones in the summer with more hearty soups and toasties for the winter. Our most popular products are the toasted teacake and Victoria sponge cake as these both appeal to senior visitors and schoolchildren alike.
We order a wide range of Country Range products, from essentials such as napkins to popular menu items.”