"The Evolving Role of Peace Museums in the 21st Century"

Part One of a three-part UNITAR Hiroshima Roundtable Series in  2009

Mr Koichiro Maeda has been working for the Hiroshima City Government since 1974.  He served  as Deputy  Chief of  the Museum from 1994, then acted as director  of  the  Hiroshima  National  Peace   Memorial Hall  for  the  Atomic  Bomb Victims, assuming his current post in 2006. 


Roundtable Topic

The role of museums as repositories of memory is particularly relevant in Hiroshima. Institutions like the Peace Memorial Museum have, in addition to their historical and social responsibilities, the obligation to adapt to increasingly rapid generational change. This, coupled with a global world in which competition for people’s time and attention is increasing, has forced a reconsideration of the role of such museums in society at large. The Hiroshima Peace  Memorial  Museum is  faced also with  the unique  task of  retaining  the  spirit of  its original   mission,  even  as  memories  of  the  horrific  events  it is charged to memorialise become more distant.

 

Questions considered during this Roundtable included the context of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its evolution; the designation of the Atomic Bomb Dome as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the resulting impact upon the Museum itself; the role of the Museum, as the bombing and the Hibakusha themselves become distant over time and; how the museum is looking to adapt to the global age while retaining its unique spirit.