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Ian Gavigan ’14 (left) with the musician David Krakauer and friend.
Ian Gavigan ’14 (left) with the musician David Krakauer and friend.

Focus on German Jewish History

As a teenager, Ian Gavigan ’14 became fascinated with the history of Jews in Germany, particularly during the Holocaust. So before coming to Haverford, Gavigan took a year off after high school to travel to the country and study that history.

This summer, Gavigan went back to Germany to intern with the Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin), thanks to a grant from Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC). The Museum, which opened to the public in 2001, covers two millennia of German Jewish history.

Gavigan worked under the auspices of the museum’s education department on a number of different projects. One of his tasks was to assist with a summer exhibit geared towards educating children, aged 5 to 12. Additionally, he contacted collaborating artists, organized exhibits and lead workshops for children. “I also facilitated workshops for German high school students,” says Gavigan. “[Those] dealt with immigration and the changing demographics of Germany as seen through Jewish immigrants from former Soviet states.”

Gavigan also gained experience handling the more practical aspects of running a museum, from sorting and organizing files to dealing with the internal politics of a large institution. The most rewarding part of the experience, however, has been working with children, he says.

A definite high point was the summer program for 5- to 12-year-olds that he helped run.  “First, they went through an exhibit highlighting four different hero types,” says Gavigan. Those included the Savior (Moses), the Caregiver (represented by a woman of the early Renaissance), the Arbiter (Nathan the Wise, from a play of the same name by Lessing) and the Protector (a polish nurse who, during World War II, saved 2500 Jewish children). “After the tour,” Gavigan says, “the children took part in workshops on theater, puppet-making and media.”

--Stephen Wheeler Handlon ’13

 

Gavigan spoke to the Reading Eagle about his travels.

Students cross in front of Founders Hall.

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