This morning, I popped over the Anne Frank House museum, which I haven't visited for a long time. In the intervening years, the curators have built a whole new multimedia wing of the museum and just recently acquired from another Dutch archive the actual physical diaries of Anne Frank. So I was looking forward to going back.
It's still a powerful experience walking through the actual storefront, the entrance to the Frank family's hideaway behind a bookshelf (the "Secret Annex"), their cramped living quarters, and Anne Frank's bedroom itself. The passageways and rooms are contextualized with videos from witnesses and survivors, quotes from Anne's diary, and photos from the era. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be trapped in there for two years with little hope of escape.
The new wing provides much more background information on what happened to the family after they were discovered in 1944, Anne's father's efforts to get the diary published, and the ongoing legacy of the museum. An interesting interactive exhibit shows various real life scenarios of intolerance and bigotry and asks you what you would do. Throughout this room are "yes" and "no" buttons that let you register your opinion, the results of which are displayed at the end of every scenario.
What is so brilliant about the Anne Frank house and diary is that it boils down a world-changing, incomprehensible act of intolerance into a simple story of one girl. From a narrative perspective, it teaches me a lot about how to educate others about gigantic, overwhelming global issues, from climate change to child soldiers.