While we were in Amsterdam for the mini-break, we found time to visit the Anne Frank House. Although my research paper seems to focus on library as place, these something very significant about the site of this museum. Not very many museums can say that they occupy the site of the primary focus of the exhibits. The Anne Frank House is precisely that, as museum patrons we were able to climb the stairs, that were behind the bookcase, which led to the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank and seven others stowed away from the German occupation of The Netherlands.
On July 6, 1942 the Frank family moved into a secret compartment in this residence on Prinsengracht, and after a little over two years, the family's hidden location was revealed and they were all arrested and taken to concentration camps. Anne Frank kept a diary for the duration of her hiding, and it was published in 1947, and has since been published in 65 other languages Otto Frank, Anne's father survived the ordeal, and he wanted Anne's story to be shared to honor her memory and shed light on the human rights issues around the world (Anne Frank House brochure).
Since the Anne Frank Museum incorporates the story in a multi-media format and we were physically in her space, which make the entire experience very memorable. Excerpts from Anne's diary are printed on the walls. There are even traces of the magazine pictures and posters of movie stars and other celebrities that Anne put on her walls to liven up the place. The Secret Annex is small, it is hard to believe that 8 people lived up there for two years, afraid to make noise or go outside for fear of being captured.
The end of the Anne Frank House museum really connected this experience to my Library School experience at The University of Arizona. The tour concludes with the option for museum patrons to weigh in on various ethical dilemmas. Genocide is a clear case of human rights violations, but what about the Patriot Act? What about Holocaust denial literature or stopping peaceful congregations that are spewing hateful propaganda? I took an ethics class last semester, and I found myself using some of those lines of reasoning, such as Utilitarian and Kantian, as I thought about these issues. Graduate school has given me so many skills beyond the scope of libraries, archives and museums, and it is very profound to see it in action.