Rick Hirschhaut, executive director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center since 2004, will leave the position early next year, according to the museum.
Hirschhaut, 53, spearheaded the $50 million campaign to build the edifice at 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, which opened on April 19, 2009. Before that, the museum for years occupied a tiny Skokie office space on Main Street, next door to a tavern.
“The opportunity to lead the transformation of this organization from a small storefront operation to the magnificent, world class, cherished institution that it is today has been an extraordinary privilege, one for which I feel truly blessed,” Hirschhaut said in a statement.
“We are grateful that Rick accepted our challenge 10 years ago to lead this world-class institution for not only our (Holocaust) survivors, but for the Chicago area and the Midwestern United States,” J.B. Pritzker, chair of the museum’s board of trustees and a driving force behind the creation of the museum, said in a statement.
The museum serves more than 100,000 visitors a year, trains recruits in the Chicago Police Department and hosts a steady schedule of lectures and other public events.
“On behalf of our entire museum family, but especially my fellow survivors, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Rick for helping to make our dreams come true,” said museum president Fritzie Fritzshall, a Holocaust survivor, in a statement. “Because of his work and the building of this museum, we carry a sense of comfort and peace of mind knowing that our stories will forever be enshrined in this magnificent house of learning.”
The museum will conduct a national search for the successor to Hirschhaut, who has not disclosed his future firstname.lastname@example.org