NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – A generous donation will allow a local museum maintained by a North Adams man and his wife will get to remain open.
Darrell English has almost five decades of experience collecting artifacts. A portion of his collection makes up the New England Holocaust Institute and Museum in North Adams.
“I started this as a small boy, and the end result is what you see hanging on the walls here and this is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There’s another six-to-10,000 items at home – World War II and Holocaust-related.”
Collecting became a hobby the 56-year-old picked up as a boy. It has matured into a vast collection and an even more vast knowledge of the events the pieces came from.
Included in the collection is a photograph taken by Adolf Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffman. The photo was never published.
“This is actually the start photograph of World War II, and the start photograph of the Holocaust right here,” English explained. “The seventieth anniversary is coming up. August 29, 1939 is when this photo was taken – eleven days before the start of World War II.”
English and his wife decided to share the pieces of history with visitors making the museum public in May. However, they realized they were not able to keep the museum running.
But the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation gave a $3,000 contribution to keep the museum’s doors open for at least six more months through November.
“And I was just like, thank you,” English said. “More than thank you. This has given us the breathing room that we’re going to possibly need to help find other sources of funding to carry this thing over, so I need to find other people with other talents that I don’t have. I don’t possess.”