Peace Memorial Museum once again begins to accept group visitors, resumes sessions for sharing A-bomb survivors’ experiences

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On July 1, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward, began once again to accept groups of visitors and resumed sessions for sharing A-bomb survivors’ experiences, which had been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. The museum has already received reservations for groups of students coming from other prefectures on school trips. The sight of elementary and junior high school students listening in the A-bombed city of Hiroshima to A-bomb survivors’ experiences is expected to gradually make a return.

The museum has increased the maximum number of visitors allowed into the facilities per 30 minutes from 100 to 150 and resumed accepting groups of five or more people, entrance for which it had refused except for families. Visitors can now listen to A-bomb accounts by A-bomb survivors and talks by memory keepers, individuals who convey the experiences of A-bomb survivors on their behalf.

According to the museum, through reservations for listening to A-bomb experiences, it has confirmed the schedules of a number of school trips to the museum from other prefectures: one school in July and 13 in August, as of July 1. The museum said it would take thorough measures to prevent spread of the coronavirus by setting up transparent partitions and securing venues with plenty of space, keeping in mind that A-bomb survivors who share their A-bombing experiences are now elderly.

The Hiroshima City government plans to introduce an online museum reservation system at the beginning of August. Regarding visits to the museum in September and beyond, visitors will be able to use the system to select the date and time of their choice and report the number of people in their parties in advance. “We hope the museum will be effectively utilized for peace studies, based on our use of all possible measures to prevent spread of the virus,” said a museum spokesperson.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopened on June 1 after nearly three months of temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were 9,314 visitors to the museum in June, a 93.8 percent drop compared to the 150,107 visitors in the same month of the previous year, while there were 882 foreign visitors among that total, a 97.8 percent decrease compared with the visitor number from the same month of the previous year.

(Originally published on July 2, 2020)