Anne Frank: A History for Today - Planning for a Successful Event
This summary of major tasks provides basic information to help prospective sites understand
what hosting the Anne Frank: A History for Today exhibit entails. Hosting the exhibit requires
a good deal of preparation. For this reason, the Center ensures that each site receives a
complete Exhibition Planning Guide upon signing the rental agreement. However,
coordinators and participants everywhere agree that it is a very rewarding experience and
most feel that it has changed their life in positive ways.
If you can achieve the following tasks, you too can host the exhibit!
Budget and Budget Management
The standard four week rental fee is $16,500. Each host community's budget varies,
depending on the activities that are undertaken. Total costs per site can range between
$35,000 and $60,000. Most communities make use of in-kind donations from corporations,
smaller businesses, and government institutions, in exchange for recognition. This can cut
costs significantly. Overseeing income and expenses is sometimes the task of a separate
sub-committee. It takes a certain degree of expertise to keep daily track of income and
expenses, the eventual collection of an entrance fee (if one is instituted), supervision of the
bookstore finances and the donation box.
Raising the necessary money is a challenge. Oftentimes, this is a separate sub-committee
chaired by a person who makes a financial contribution. There are many different ways to
raise money and consulting a professional fundraiser can be useful.
Site Selection
Finding an adequate space for the exhibition is the first step for local organizers. In almost all
instances, the site of the exhibition is donated. Securing an appropriate site is crucial for the
exhibit's success. The space should be no smaller than 1,500 sq. ft., although an ideal space
would be 2,000 sq. ft. In addition to finding a site which is centrally located and large enough
to accommodate the exhibition, one must also consider the following issues: electricity and
phone hook-ups, parking, access for school buses, weekend accessibility, and handicapped
accessibility as required by law.
Community Planning
The ultimate success of the exhibition depends in great measure upon the participation of the
community as a whole in the project. The following are institutions worth approaching:
 Universities and colleges: To organize conferences and lecture series
 Schools: To organize in-service training sessions dealing with the exhibition
 Libraries: To organize lecture series and to choose appropriate reading selections for
 Human rights organizations: To plan and direct anti-bias workshops
 Theaters and cinemas: To produce plays and show films that are relevant to the
exhibition's themes
 Art galleries and museums: To show art that focuses on the Holocaust and/or human
rights issues
It cannot be stressed enough that local organizations representing minority groups need to
be contacted. Besides their cooperation with the exhibition they can organize their own
programs and exhibits in their community spaces. This gives the exhibition an extra
dimension of diversity. Churches and other religious organizations are often willing to
address the issues of anti-Semitism, racism and human rights during regular services and
special gatherings. The same applies to social organizations and other not-for-profit groups
which share our goals.
The coordinator is the key person at the local level who will be in charge of the exhibition's
overall success. The very first step in every host city is to find a person who is willing to take
on the responsibility of coordinating the exhibition. The coordinator needs to have access to
office space and must be willing to devote at least six months of his/her time to the
organizational aspects of the exhibit. The coordinator chairs regular meetings of the steering
committee, which consists of the chairs of the separate sub-committees. He/she is
responsible for the progress of these sub-committees and is also the sole contact person for
the Anne Frank Center USA. Some cities work with co-coordinators or assistant
coordinators, who can take on responsibilities when the coordinator is unavailable. The
coordinator supervises the other major tasks, which have been assigned to sub-committees.
Educational Outreach
Anne Frank: A History for Today has a strong educational focus and it is essential that the
educational community participate to make the exhibition a success. The exhibition aims to
reach visitors who are ten and older. Many schools will want to design a multi-week
curriculum around the exhibition. They need to be contacted early in the planning stages in
order for teachers to prepare their students. Getting school officials excited about the
exhibition can be especially challenging, but once the teachers become enthusiastic,
administrative officials soon follow. A major task associated with educational outreach is the
scheduling of docent-led tours for schools groups. Recruitment and Supervision of
Volunteers It takes approximately 100 - 150 volunteers for the month-long showing of the
exhibition. These volunteers will be responsible for tasks such as, setting up the exhibit,
keeping track of attendance, leading scheduled school tours, and staffing the bookstore.
Docent Training
Docents are the link between the exhibit and school groups. Therefore, special training for
volunteers who wish to become docents is available. This intensive training will prepare
docents for leading guided tours of the exhibition. Each school tour lasts approximately 30 40 minutes. Conducting a tour within this short time frame can seem like a daunting task.
Docents are asked to find 18 photographs which represent the educational themes of the
exhibition. This serves to make the docents more focused and to ensure that the school
groups are kept on schedule. Other topics which are addressed during the training are the
actual details of Anne's diary, the exhibition's world tour and the most frequently posed
Publicity and Public Relations
Individuals wanting to serve on this sub-committee should have experience with the media. It
is important to contact the media at an early stage in order to create goodwill and plant the
seeds for increasing interest in the exhibition. This insures that the public is aware of the
exhibit's arrival. It can also increase the willingness of potential donors to contribute
financially when they see that the community is becoming interested in the project.
Government officials also need to be contacted. Local government can assist with various
aspects of the exhibition: financial contribution, publicity on public transportation, publicity in
local government publications, to declare an Anne Frank Month, etc. Local officials and
informal community leaders should be approached to have their name added to the list of
supporters, whether financial or not, and also their names should be added to the local
organizing committees letterhead. In order to ensure that the exhibition reaches the broadest
possible audience it is absolutely critical to contact leaders of various ethnic and religious
communities. The earlier they are approached, the more willing they will be to contribute their
energies and talents.
Opening Reception
The organization of an impressive opening reception is important for several reasons. It
serves to publicly thank sponsors and to garner the support of local prominent people. The
opening reception also publicizes the exhibition. It is important when arranging this event to
carefully select the people who will speak and the people or groups who will perform. It is
important that they represent --and are sensitive to-- the concerns of the community. Also, it
is necessary for someone to be in charge of the logistical planning for this event. This
individual would coordinate the catering, music, flowers, etc.
The topics in this brief overview are explained in greater detail in the "Anne Frank: A History
for Today," Exhibition Planning Guide. This important guide is included in the rental package.
For more information about hosting the exhibit in your community, please contact the Anne
Frank Center USA, Exhibits Department, 584 Broadway Suite 408, New York, NY 10012.
212-431-7993. Or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Anne Frank: A History for Today - Planning for a

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