Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum reopens with new hands-on experience

Local News

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After being closed for several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum in Oswego is reopen to the public.

On Memorial Day, members of the community had the chance to finally visit the newly-renovated museum.

“The pandemic actually gave us the ability to shut down entirely and focus on the new exhibits,” explained Kevin Hill, Safe Haven’s board of directors president.

The mission of the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum is to share the stories of the 982 World War II European refugees who were allowed into the United States as “guests” of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The refugees lived at Fort Ontario from August 1944 to February 1946 and the museum was originally created in the refugee shelter’s old administration building at Fort Ontario in 2002.

Through a $100,000 grant from State Senator Patty Ritchie, several hands-on exhibits have been installed and newly-found artifacts are now on display.

The new stations are also filled with information visitors can consume through a digital format, such as the museum’s new mobile app and interactive videos.

Our space was limited and it only allowed us to display so much. It was a great display and it served us really well since 2002 when we opened, but now we’re just able to capture so much information and really immerse our visitors in the experience.

Kevin Hill, President, Safe Haven Museum

“Hearing a lot of the experiences in some of the refugees at the new station really gives the user the ability to step inside,” Hill said.

It’s really a journey. It’s a journey out of fear, out of anger, out of desperation, to that of hope, new life and new beginnings. We’re really happy to present it in that way.

Kevin Hill, President, Safe Haven Museum

The Safe Haven Museum will be open for the season through Labor Day. Hours and days of operation are from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and students.

You can find more information on the museum by clicking here.

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