Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to reopen next month after renovations

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

With the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum scheduled to reopen on April 25, some of the exhibits of the section titled “Devastation on August 6” in its main building were shown on March 8 to the media and members of the advisory committee tasked with reviewing the displays. Exhibits in this section feature authentic artifacts, such as clothing and bags that belonged to mobilized students who perished in the A-bomb attack. The items are displayed in such a way that they will enable visitors to better imagine the devastation of that day. At the heart of the exhibits are personal belongings left behind by victims, which will convey the plight of these victims and their family members more clearly to people visiting the museum.

The section “Devastation on August 6” provides insight into the tremendous destruction that the city and its people suffered in the atomic bombing. The large glass case in the center holds 35 items — personal effects of students who had been mobilized to work for the war effort — including shirts, monpe work pants, and bags that these students were wearing or carrying at the time of the attack. A bent iron frame and other larger items have been placed around the glass case, conveying the appalling scene that took place under the bomb’s mushroom cloud. On the walls are photos that show the devastation on the ground and drawings of the atomic bombing made by survivors.

The nine committee members were guided by Kenji Shiga, the director of the museum. Mr. Shiga told them, “We have tried to limit the number of written explanations in order to appeal to visitors’ senses. We hope visitors will interact with the exhibits in this way.”

The main building consists of four sections. After viewing the terrible destruction wrought by the bombing in the “Devastation on August 6” section, visitors will learn about the harm caused by the radiation that the bomb released in the “Damage from Radiation” section. The next section, “Cries of the Soul,” seeks to convey the cries of victims’ souls with photos of the A-bomb dead and their personal belongings. After this is the section “To Live,” where visitors can learn about the survivors’ lives after the war as they suffered from wounds and the aftereffects of their exposure to the bomb’s radiation. In all, there will be 491 items on display, including 260 artifacts — of which six are replicas — as well as photos and drawings of the atomic bombing.

The museum will close at 2 p.m. on April 24 to prepare for the reopening of the main building on the following day. The seismic retrofitting of the building will be completed by the end of March 2020.


Renewal of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Opened in 1955, the museum is now undergoing its third major renovation. This time, the focus for the main building is on the “Reality of the Atomic Bombing.” The east building conveys such themes as the “Dangers of Nuclear Weapons,” including the damage caused by nuclear testing, and the history of Hiroshima, highlighting the city’s reconstruction after the war and its efforts for “Creating a Peaceful World.” An advisory committee, comprised of experts, began holding discussions on the museum’s exhibits in August 2010. The east building reopened in April 2017 after renovations there were completed.

(Originally published on March 9, 2019)