Schmoe House special exhibit to display photos never seen by the public

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

Schmoe House, located in Eba-nihonmatsu in Naka Ward, Hiroshima, is hosting a special exhibit entitled “The Beginning of Schmoe House.” The purpose of the Schmoe House is to present to the public the philanthropic efforts of the late Floyd Schmoe, an American peace activist who built homes in Hiroshima for those who had lost them as a result of the bombing.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Mr. Schmoe’s initial home building efforts, and as administrator of the Schmoe House, the Peace Memorial Museum is introducing to the public a number of artifacts for the very first time. This new exhibit features 23 unique photos and 10 panels of construction drawings.

Among the featured photos are those capturing the building of the so-called “Minami Peace House”—Mr. Schmoe’s first project in support of the municipal housing need in Minami-machi. Never-before-seen photos include a photo depicting the construction of a tenement building for two families, one featuring construction team volunteers on a sightseeing trip to Miyajima Island, and another showing a smiling group of builders gathered in Kobe before departing to Hiroshima.

Mr. Schmoe arrived in Hiroshima in August of 1949, with the Reverend Emery Andrews and two additional project members from the United States, as well as six young Japanese citizens. Upon their arrival, Schmoe and his team got to work building. Other Hiroshima youth soon joined the effort, and the first two completed homes were donated to the city in October that year. By 1953, fifteen units were provided to 21 households. Of those homes, only one remains—the renovated community center known currently as Schmoe House.

Materials on exhibit were provided by the families of the late Mr. Schmoe and Mr. Andrews, as well as others engaged in construction of the houses. Museum staff said, “We would like visitors to know that very ordinary people like us made efforts in support of A-bombed Hiroshima citizens.”

Admission to the Schmoe House exhibit is free, and will run until December 8th, 2019. Schmoe House is closed on Mondays. In addition to this special showing, there remains a regular exhibit showcasing tools used in the construction of the house. For more details, please call the Curatorial Division of Peace Memorial Museum at 082-241-4004.

(Originally published on September 4, 2019)