National Holocaust Centre and Museum

Trevor Pears and the Pears Foundation have been close friends and partners of the National Holocaust Centre since our inception. As the Centre’s founder, I am immensely grateful for the continued support that Trevor and the Foundation have given to our work, not only financially but also in supporting our vision, and being a critical friend during our twenty year history. Their support, from the earliest years of the Centre, has been invaluable in enabling our work to flourish: we are now a leading provider of Holocaust education and have an impact both nationally and internationally in the field. Like the Foundation, our focus is always on the impact we have and on working collaboratively with others to make a difference.
James Smith, Co-founder and President, National Holocaust Centre and Museum
The National Holocaust Centre and Museum holds a special place in my family’s heart. It was one of our earliest philanthropic partnerships and one that is still going strong today. It has been a privilege to see it grow from humble beginnings to a national centre of expertise, providing opportunities for thousands of young people to be inspired by its exhibitions and learn about the Holocaust.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

Founded by the Smith family in 1996, the National Holocaust Centre and Museum was Britain’s first dedicated Holocaust memorial and learning centre. It is now visited by 20,000 school children and 5,000 members of the public every year.

The Centre provides a permanent memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and offers an understanding of the causes and events of the Holocaust through a range of age-appropriate exhibitions and survivor testimonies.  Its learning programmes encourage personal responsibility and the promotion of fairness and justice and challenge learners to take positive action in their own lives and communities.

Visitors to the Centre spend time exploring the memorial gardens and two permanent exhibitions – the Holocaust Exhibition, suitable for secondary school children and adults and The Journey, Britain’s first Holocaust exhibition designed for younger children, which focuses on the story of the Kindertransport. Both exhibitions house artefacts from the period from the Centre’s growing museum collection.

At the heart of the Centre is the community of Holocaust survivors who have made the journey to Nottinghamshire over and over again to tell their stories to visitors and answer questions. A major challenge for the Centre is to ensure that future generations of visitors can still share this experience and that survivor testimony remains central to its learning programmes. This has led to the development of The Forever Project, a cutting edge interactive testimony programme that will be launched in 2016 that uses advanced digital technologies to simulate a ‘virtual’ encounter with a survivor.

Pears Foundation has been part of the Centre’s story for many years, providing substantial time and input from its professional team as well as over £2million in funding. The Foundation has provided core funding to enable the Centre to grow and achieve sustainability; capital funding to assist with building maintenance; dedicated funding to establish new projects, such as the Forever Project, and expand the staff team and Pears staff have provided support and advice to the board and senior management team.

Pears Foundation also funds the Centre’s sister organisation, the Aegis Trust, which works towards the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity and helped establish the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda, which was inspired by the National Holocaust Memorial Centre and Museum.