Founded in 1993 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization named after the famous Nazi-hunter and devoted to combating anti-semitism and other forms of prejudice, the Museum of Tolerance was seen as a daring enterprise: a museum devoted to an abstract concept rather than a specific type of artifact. However, while it's an adventurous conceit, it's also extremely enlightening, not least because the museum's set-up is careful to leave it to the visitor to come up with their own definition of the word.
The main exhibit is an involving hour-long walk-through on the Holocaust, which blends taped narration with photos, film footage, personal testimonies, dioramas and World War II artifacts. At the start of the exhibit, you're given a "passport" with a child's photograph; their fate is revealed to you at the end of the tour. You can explore the subject further on the computers in the Multimedia Center (the material is online at http://motlc.wiesenthal.com), via displays of other Holocaust documents, and in conversation with a number of World War II survivors, who regularly visit the museum to give talks and host discussions.
Elsewhere in the museum, the Tolerancenter is an interactive exhibit that aims to spur visitors into thinking about their own prejudices. As well as attracting members of the public, it's used as an educational aid by local schools, and as a part of LAPD officer training. The newest of the three major exhibits is Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves, in which the likes of Carlos Santana, Maya Angelou and Billy Crystal tell of their heritage as immigrants and children of immigrants. Call or check online for details of special exhibits, talks and discussions.
Note that advance booking is recommended (call 310-772-2505) and that the museum is closed on Saturdays, Jewish holidays and most other holidays.