This is an incredible honor and an opportunity for us to continue Anne Frank’s legacy. We hope to encourage families to be tolerant of others and inspire them to be strong no matter what obstacles confront them.
Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) April 14, 2013
The horse chestnut tree that served as a symbol of inspiration and peace for Anne Frank during World War II lives on through a rare sapling planted at the world’s largest children’s museum. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis celebrated the planting of the descendant of the famous tree April 14, 2013.
“This is an incredible honor and an opportunity for us to continue Anne Frank’s legacy,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “We hope to encourage families to be tolerant of others and inspire them to be strong no matter what obstacles confront them. This tree serves as a living reminder of hope and peace…traits we also inspire through our permanent exhibit, The Power of Children.”
The museum’s sapling is one of just 11 derived from the 170-year-old horse chestnut tree that will be planted across the United States. The Anne Frank Center USA chose the sapling sites based upon their historic significance and commitment to education about tolerance.
In a contributing partnership, The Anne Frank Center USA and The Children's Museum are creating a teaching and discovery website. It will show how locales are using the Sapling Project to advance tolerance, and stimulate public dialogue about intolerance.
“We are excited that we can now move forward with planting the saplings and launching a national education initiative called Confronting Intolerance Today: Lessons from Anne Frank. As the saplings take root, they will become living symbols of justice and tolerance in America for many years to come,” said Yvonne Simons, executive director, The Anne Frank Center USA.
The original tree was blown down by high winds in August of 2010. Thanks to the generosity of Dow AgroSciences, The Children’s Museum was able to provide essential care for several of the saplings. “Protecting and nurturing plant development is fundamental to our mission,” said Gordon Slack, Dow AgroSciences Global Leader of Finance and Public Affairs. “We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to lend our expertise and support to this meaningful program.”
This particular sapling was planted in The Children’s Museum’s Anne Frank Peace Park, donated by Indianapolis philanthropists Gerald and Dorit Paul. “Being refugees ourselves and seeing Anne’s picture reminds me of what I looked like as a girl and what we went through,” said Dorit Paul. “There was also a big allée by the river where I grew up in Germany lined with chestnut trees and we all collected the nuts. So, the chestnut tree and Anne Frank struck a strong emotional chord with me.”
Visitors are also invited to explore The Power of Children, an exhibit featuring three youth who showed unique strength while facing unimaginable challenges (Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White). It features live performances bringing the stories of those youngsters to life along with artifacts depicting their experiences.
The horse chestnut tree was the only way Anne Frank could connect with nature while her family hid from the Nazis during the German occupation of the Netherlands. She wrote about it several times in her diary:
- “(Peter and I) Looked out at the blue sky, the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew, the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver as they swooped through the air… As long as this exists, I thought, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”
- "The best remedy for those who are afraid, alone or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God."
The 11 Organizations Participating in the Anne Frank Center USA Sapling Project include: Boston Common – Massachusetts, Central High School – Arkansas, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – Indiana, William J. Clinton Presidential Center – Arkansas, Holocaust Memorial Center – Michigan, Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial – Idaho, Liberty Park, Commemorating 911—New York City, Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, CA Southern Cayuga School District – Aurora, NY, Washington State Holocaust Resource Center – Washington, The White House - Washington, D.C. – TBD
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary family learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families.
The Anne Frank Center USA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the universal message of tolerance by developing and disseminating a variety of educational programs, including exhibitions, workshops, and special events. A partner organization of the Anne Frank House, The Anne Frank Center uses the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as tools to advance her legacy, to educate young people and communities about the consequences of intolerance, racism and discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on mutual respect.