The Opportunity: Anne Frank Center Opening
The university’s Anne Frank Center is the only North American partner of Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House, making it significant not only to the South Carolina community but also nationally. The center provides internal and external audiences the opportunity to learn about Anne Frank’s story and how to recognize injustice, hatred and antisemitism through dialogue and self-discovery. The goal was to coordinate and execute a successful opening of the Anne Frank Center and to position the University of South Carolina as a destination for public understanding of the Holocaust.
The Anne Frank Center website has had more than 8,500 visitors from 46 countries. More than 500 visitor and prospective visitor email addresses have been captured for the center’s e-newsletter, which is part of a sustained communications strategy.
The social media video was among the university’s top 10 most-viewed videos in August 2021 (the month the center opened). On Facebook it received more than 1,400 engagements, which includes reactions, shares or comments, and it received more than 1,700 engagements on Twitter.
Opening Event and Media Outreach
The opening event was attended by more than 75 local leaders, community members and media. Media included all local TV, local print and national coverage, including The Associated Press, the Religion News Service and multiple Jewish publications, with a total reach of 307 million.
- The initial announcement generated more than 100 positive news stories statewide, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Associated Press and the Religion News Service factored into this coverage. Key placements included The Washington Post (67.2 million reach), Jerusalem Post (5.29 million reach), AP (25 million reach), Smithsonian Magazine (6.63 million reach) and the Times of Israel (7.98 million reach).
- Press coverage continues to grow. For instance, when news broke about a new theory of who betrayed Anne Frank’s family and turned them over to the Nazis, the director of South Carolina's Anne Frank Center was interviewed and quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
- In June 2022, letters written by Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, were donated to the center. This also received local and national media coverage.
- A collaboration with the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau continues to garner mentions in travel publications such as Southern Living and Afar magazine.
- Media outreach to PBS affiliate SCETV resulted in a “Carolina Classrooms” segment that encouraged K-12 field trips and a segment on “Palmetto Scene,” a magazine-style program showcasing the state, as well as a 30-minute documentary that aired in April 2022.
The Office of Communications and Marketing developed, coordinated and executed a communications
plan for a successful opening of the Anne Frank Center.
The project included event planning, logistics, security, press materials and visual assets, media relations and coordination, content for the university website, development of a website, logo design, social media graphics and a social media video. Planning was a collaboration with the center and several offices across campus, including the Office of Communications and Marketing, the College of Education and the Office of Special Events.
Because of its potential impact for education and tourism, the opening was attended by state and local leaders and community members. South Carolina First Lady Peggy McMaster attended the opening, and State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman gave remarks on behalf of the center, as did local Jewish community leaders.
In addition, our office coordinated a communications strategy for Jewish community organizations, synagogues and Holocaust education organizations statewide, regionally and nationally and provided early guidance for a visitor destination marketing strategy.
The successful opening introduced the center to the community and local leaders, earned local and national media coverage to promote its mission and encouraged tours by individuals and school and community groups.