The Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum is located in a building which has long been in Jewish hands. Originally, back at the end of the 19th century, the Association of Cheap Jewish Cafeterias set up an operation where those with no means of support could eat for free or for a nominal price, on the corner of Aguonu and Naugarduko Streets in Vilnius. In 1910 the interior of the building was reconstructed and a large philharmonic hall was set up inside. After World War I a professional Jewish theatre operated here and cultural and social events by other organisations were held.
The building was transferred to the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in 1989
The mission of the Tolerance Center is to contribute to the dissemination of the Litvaks' unique cultural, artistic and historical heritage and the cultivation of public respect for the cultures of ethnic minoraties, thus propagating the ideas of tolerance.
The center displays permanent and temporary exhibitionrelated to Litvak history and culture, and also holds conferences, lectures, film screening, concerts and educational pragrams. The permanent " Lost World" exhibition tells about the cultureand art of the Lithuanian Jews. Another exhibition entitled "A Rescued Lithuanian Jewish Child Tells about the Shoah" relates the stories of 48 Jewish children who survived the Holocaust; the stories are richly illustrated with photographs from personal archives and video intervies.
The Holocaust exhibit provides an overview of the history and culture of Lithuanian Jews, beginning with their arrival in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and ending with a detailed depiction of their annhalation n the mid-20th century.