Simon Wiesenthal Center's mobile museum will teach tolerance at Illinois schools

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new museum opening soon in Illinois is quite different -- it rolls on wheels. The Mobile Museum of Tolerance is on its way to schools across the state with the purpose of encouraging tolerance and ending hate.

"There's a lot of concerns about what's happening today and how it's mirroring the past, and we can't allow that to continue," said Alison Pure-Slovin, Midwest region director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Mobile Museum of Tolerance, or MMOT, is a new project by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It will hit the roads across Illinois to bring a clear message.

"Unfortunately we're witnessing right now, we're witnessing a great deal of hate in this country and we need to change that tide," said Pure-Slovin.

On the outside of the bus are the faces of historical figures who made a difference: Malala Yousafzai, Gandhi, Harriet Tubman, Simon Wiesenthal, Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks. But what's more important is what students will learn on the inside: how they too can make a difference.

Inside, there is a theater with seating for students and workshops where people can learn how to be part of creating a solution. The videos seen in the museum are designed to teach students topics such as the evils behind the Holocaust, and the fight for civil rights that continues today. The lessons from history are designed to help combat present day problems.

"We're watching the propaganda of hate again today," Pure-Slovin said.

The capacity of this museum will be limited, for now, to allow for COVID-19 precautions. Masks are required and students will be admitted based on the learning pods in their schools.

While positive change may not come from simply watching a video, the brief lessons learned here are meant to start the discussion.

"We need to talk about it. Students are seeing it on the news. We need to help them understand democracy and their place in the world," said Pure-Slovin

The MMOT is parked at the United Center at the moment, but it hits the road next week for its first stops in Springfield. Interest is high and schools are already requesting reservations. Click here for more information from the official website.
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