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Peace Museums, Making a Space for Peace
an article by Steve Fryburg

The world is full of museums that tell story of war and violence. We live in cultures that pay homage and respect to the violent and ridicule the nonviolent as weak or ineffective. But there are museums that give peace a space in the world, and their numbers are increasing.

The Dayton International Peace Museum, is one such museum.

Started in a small rented office in 2003 the museum is now housed in a three story mansion in downtown Dayton, Ohio USA, not far from the largest air force museum in the world.

An all volunteer organization, the Dayton International Peace Museum averages 75-100 visitors per week and an average of over 17,000 visitors to their website each month.


The PeaceMobile is a mobile exhibition center that houses traveling exhibits from the Museum

They are a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, www.MuseumsforPeace.org, a United Nations NGO, with member peace museums spanning the globe. There are peace museums in Iran, Pakistan, India, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Kenya, Japan, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa, most countries of Europe and more; all of them giving peace a place in the communities they serve.

What is in a peace museum? Exhibits about our world’s rich and often overlooked history of peace and nonviolence, peace heroines & heroes, peace societies, interfaith peace, nonviolent solutions, peace organizations and their activities and often exhibits that remove the glory from war and replace it with the stark realities of the costs in human suffering and its futility. Each peace museum has a character of its own because there is no blueprint for such an institution and the history of the countries they reside in often influences their content.

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters."
African Proverb, Peace Museums give the lion their historians.

If we want to live in a peaceful world we will need to make a place for peace in it.

DISCUSSION

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Peace Museums, Are they giving peace a place in the community?

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This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Peace Museums, Making a Space for Peace
Young Peacemaker of the Year
Museums for Peace: Transforming Cultures
9th International Conference of Museums for Peace, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Peace Museums flourish around the world
New Peace Museum in Ramnicu Valcea, Romania


This report was posted on August 1, 2008.