Peace Museums flourish around the world


An article by CPNN based on the newsletter of the International Network of Museums for Peace

The December 2017 newsletter of the International Network of Museums for Peace describes initiatives around the world.

Ban the Bomb is the title given to the exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, celebrating the award of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). At the heart of the exhibition, which will be shown until 25th November 2018, are artefacts from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kyoto that are being shown in Europe for the first time, thanks to cooperation with the Japanese Peace Museums.

Andrew Young with statue of M. L. King (Credit: Newcastle Chronicle)

The travelling exhibition, Everything You Treasure – For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons was shown in Mexico City in August 2017, at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco). The exhibition was jointly created by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Gandhi Museum at Aga Khan Palace in Pune, India, showcases the history of Gandhi’s strategies to wage his final struggle for freedom from foreign rule. The hall dedicated to Gandhi contains, his writing desk and spinning wheel, as well as a painting of his wife, resting her head on Gandhi’s lap. There is also the Sarojini Naidu library with over one thousand books and journals on Gandhian philosophy and practice.

The Anti-War Museum in Berlin is featuring an exhibition on Henry David Thoreau, American writer and opponent of war and slavery who was one of the key influences on the life and thought of Gandhi through his essay on the Duty of Civil Disobedience. The exhibition consists of 52 text-andillustration panels, and is in English and German. It includes comments on Thoreau by Gandhi, Tolstoy, M.L. King and Martin Buber.

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Question for this article:

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

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In Newcastle, UK, an exhibition shown in the University Library, tells the inside story of King’s remarkable visit to the city in November 1967 to accept an honorary degree from the city’s university. On 6th September 2017, the university bestowed an honorary degree on Andrew Young, King’s close friend and colleague who had accompanied him on that memorable visit. Young, later US ambassador to the UN, unveiled a two metre tall bronze statue of King that the university had commissioned to mark the occasion.

A new Civil Rights Museum was inaugurated on 9th September in Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi. The Civil Rights Museum’s eight interactive galleries show the systematic, brutal oppression of black Mississippians and their struggles for equality and justice that transformed the state and nation. For a concise description of each gallery, and images, please consult this website.

Construction of the building for the Cambodia Peace Museum in Battambang began in September 2017 with a target to open already in 2018. The exhibit on weapons reduction will highlight how Cambodia addressed the high prevalence of guns following decades of war. A central piece of this initiative were the Flames for Peace ceremonies whereby communities would collectively turn in their guns to be destroyed in bonfires, symbolising a community’s decision to reject gun violence.

The Tehran Peace Museum (TPM) held a summer school on ‘Youth Dialogue and Peacebuilding’ from 19th to 23rd September in cooperation with the Berghof Foundation in Germany; in the same period, four student volunteers from TPM joined the 96th global voyage of the Peace Boat and participated in educational programmes and workshops. TPM held its first autumn school for young peacebuilders from 13th to 16th November with the participation of fourteen young students and civil society activists.

In Okinawa, from 1st December 2017 until 31st March 2019 the Himeyuri Peace Museum is showing a special exhibition entitled Passing on the Experience of War to the Future – Our Trip to Europe and the Himeyuri Future Generation Project. For more information please visit the museum’s website.

In Toronto, Canada, a press conference held on 25th September announced plans for the opening in 2019 of an Asia-Pacific Peace Museum and Education Centre in the city. It will promote historical awareness of the atrocities of World War II in Asia, while emphasizing peace, reconciliation, and global citizenship in the present

The Association of Japanese Museums for Peace (AJMP) organised its 24th annual meeting at Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum on 7th & 8th December 2017. AJMP consists of ten relatively influential museums including Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Nagasaki Abomb Museum. The annual meeting was attended by all member museums to exchange experiences and discuss matters for consultation.