In 2007, boxcar after a four-year international search, Board Member Emeritus Jack Nortman acquired an authentic 10-ton Holocaust-era railway car. He brought it to Naples in honor of his parents and in memory of the family members lost during the Holocaust. Publicly dedicated in 2008, it became the world’s only traveling Boxcar Exhibit, and an invaluable mobile educational tool for the Museum. Over 100,000 students, teachers and members of the public across South Florida have seen the Boxcar Exhibit at schools, universities, public libraries, churches and synagogues. Now 101 years old, the Boxcar no longer travels, but it is part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
Mr. Nortman’s family was caught in the web of the Nazis in Eastern Europe. Both of his parents survived and he was born in Landsberg, a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. The boxcar is on loan to the Museum from F.E. and Jack Nortman and The Boxcar Foundation.
As far as we know, this was the first and only traveling Boxcar Exhibit. Its mobility ensured that an important piece of history was seen by students right on their school campus, and by the public at community locations. The Boxcar often served as the centerpiece in learning during a school’s Holocaust programming.
Between the spring of 2008 and spring of 2020, the Boxcar Exhibit impacted over 90,000 people across South Florida. The Boxcar visited over 75 locations, including schools, museums, universities, public libraries, airports, churches, synagogues, and more.