February 19, 1999
SARA JANE BLOOMFIELD NAMED UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
February 19, 1999 — Sara Jane Bloomfield, a nearly 13-year veteran of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s development, was today named Executive Director. Miles Lerman, Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Council, announced the appointment, effective immediately.
“We selected Sara for her fervent dedication to Holocaust remembrance, her longstanding devotion to the Museum and its mission, and her proven ability to lead and manage this major international institution,” Lerman said. “Such a combination of talents is rare. As this young Museum moves into the next stage of its growth and the next century, the Council is confident that it does so in highly energetic, capable and caring hands.”
“I have known Sara since she joined us more than 12 years ago, and she knows the Museum through and through. I have always found her most dedicated to our cause of remembrance. She has worked tirelessly in its behalf, and I am delighted she will be leading the Museum,” said Benjamin Meed, President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and a member of the Search Committee.
Joining the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1986, Bloomfield went on to play a key role in the creation of the Museum, gaining federal support for its operations, managing its landmark opening, and taking steps to establish the institution’s national presence through special and travelling exhibitions and education programs. Her accomplishments also include leading an institutional reorganization effort that brought increased clarity to the Museum’s mission by establishing an Office of Survivor Affairs, consolidating collections, and focusing on scholarship. She has served as the Museum’s Acting Director for the past year.
Previously she was Associate Director for Museum Programs, where she oversaw seven major Museum offices: Collections, Education, Exhibitions, International Programs, the Library, Museum Services, and Outreach Technologies. Under her leadership, the Museum has mounted a series of major special exhibitions that have garnered popular and scholarly praise. Among these are Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (1997 to present); THE NAZI OLYMPICS Berlin 1936 (1996-97, now traveling throughout the United States), and Liberation 1945 (1995-96).
She launched the Museum’s traveling exhibition program, which in its first year took four exhibitions to 12 cities across the nation. Under her leadership, two publications, Liberation 1945 (USHMM 1995) and Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (Bullfinch Press 1997) were produced to accompany special exhibitions.
“I am deeply honored that the Council has entrusted me with this important responsibility,” Bloomfield said. “This job is large, complex, and most importantly, an enormous moral obligation. I am accountable not only to the Council but also to those whose lives the Museum memorializes.”
A unique public/private partnership, the Museum has welcomed more than 11.6 million visitors since opening in 1993, and has served hundreds of thousands more through outreach programs. It operates with a staff of more than 400, over 300 volunteers, four regional offices and an annual budget of $53.6 million.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as this country’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims - six million were murdered; Gypsies, the handicapped, and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.
The Museum’s primary mission is to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy.
Sara J. Bloomfield is Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ms. Bloomfield was the Museum’s Acting Director from 1998-99, and served as the Associate Director for Museum Programs between 1994 and 1998. As Associate Director, she oversaw seven major Museum offices: Collections, Education, Exhibitions, International Programs, the Library, Museum Services, and Outreach Technologies. Her supervisory responsibilities included oversight of more than 170 staff and 300 volunteers.
Under her leadership, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has mounted a series of major special exhibitions that have garnered popular and scholarly praise. Among these are: Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (1997 to present); THE NAZI OLYMPICS Berlin 1936 (1996-1997, and now traveling throughout the United States), and Liberation 1945 (1995-1996). She launched the Museum’s traveling exhibition program, which in its first year took four exhibitions to 12 cities across the nation. Under Ms. Bloomfield’s leadership, two publications, Liberation 1945 (USHMM, 1995) and Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (Bullfinch Press, 1997), were produced to accompany special exhibitions.
Ms. Bloomfield joined the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in 1986 as Deputy Director for Operations. She served as Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1988 to 1994. In that capacity, she played a key role in the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened to the public in April 1993. As Executive Director, Ms. Bloomfield oversaw the Council’s Administration, Communications and Finance Offices; Congressional relations; educational outreach functions; traveling exhibitions, and the Congressionally mandated Days of Remembrance commemorative events.
Working with the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Congress prior to the Museum’s opening, Ms. Bloomfield successfully secured amendment of the Museum’s governing legislation, providing for federal support of the Museum’s operations and Congressional re-authorization of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum through the year 2000. She then negotiated an annual federal allocation of $21.2 million for this purpose.
As Executive Director, Ms. Bloomfield also was responsible for all events connected with the Museum’s landmark opening in April 1993. She directed the Museum’s international outreach efforts as well as opening ceremonies that drew more than 10,000 people and involved 11 heads of state, including President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Israeli President Chaim Herzog, members of Congress and the Cabinet, foreign dignitaries, national leaders, and survivors and their families.
Ms. Bloomfield is from Cleveland, Ohio, where she was Vice President of Cleveland Financial Group. Prior to that she established the first Learning Disability Program for the Shaker Heights City School System. In Cleveland, she served on the boards of the Women’s Political Caucus, the Cleveland City Club and the American Jewish Committee, which recognized her with its Young Leadership Award in 1986. This June she will be the first recipient of the Jan Karski Award of the Anti-Defamation League, Washington Chapter. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in education, and has studied business administration on the graduate level.