Beba Epstein: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Girl | YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research


Production / Indie/Non-Profit


CURATORIAL CONCEPTS, CREATIVE DIRECTION & TEXTS Karolina Ziulkoski, Chief Curator, YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum RESEARCH & DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT Olivia Reid, Research and Project Specialist, YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum MAIN SCHOLAR REVIEWER Dr. Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Trinity College SCHOLAR REVIEW Dr. Eva Hoffman Dr. Antony Polonsky, Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and Chief Historian at POLIN Museum Dr. David Engel, New York University Dr. Eddy Portnoy, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research RESEARCH AND SCHOLAR ADVISOR Roberta Newman EXHIBITION DESIGN Kiss Me I’m Polish LLC EXHIBITION DEVELOPMENT Car of Tomorrow EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT Ila Gross 3D MODELS Melon | Carolina Manenti Saraiva, Cleto Pádua, Diego Biachi de Castria and Luciana Manenti Saraiva COMICS Milo Krimstein TEXT REVIEW Joe Levit AUDIO ENGINEER Rodrigo Piccoli FAMILY ANIMATIONS VOICEOVER Ariella Carmen Mañago Alexander BOOK READINGS VIDEOS | ACTRESS Yelena Shmulenson BOOK READINGS VIDEOS | VIDEO SHOOTING AND EDITING Point of Order Productions BOOK READINGS VIDEOS | MAKEUP Ori Gilady YIVO INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH RESEARCH Jonathan Brent, Executive Director & CEO Shelly Freeman, Chief of Staff Robert Wagman, Chief Financial Officer Melissa Cohen, Chief Development Officer


The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has been preserving and studying the history and culture of East European Jewry for over 95 years. The YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum is a free resource that utilizes the stories of everyday people as vehicles to tell the larger history of Jews in Eastern Europe and shares treasures from the YIVO collections.
The central issue guiding the project development was understanding what defines an online museum. Often, the digital presence of museums is an extension of a physical institution. But when a museum exists only online, do the same principles apply?
This led to rethinking the concept of an online museum. How can the behavior of users in digital environments be leveraged to make digital exhibitions more engaging? What can be done effectively online? From the answers to these questions emerged the framework of the online museum. Taking advantage of a medium that is ideal for storytelling and interactive experiences, the exhibitions are based on the life of an individual told through a combination of archival objects, written text, animations, videos, interactive 3D environments, games, and more – a series of experiences that visitors can undergo as a whole or individually. Personal stories are the thread that connects different topics. The inaugural exhibition, Beba Epstein: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Girl, presents the life of a girl who grew up in Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), survived the Holocaust, and later immigrated to the United States.

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