The Future of Peace Museum Exhibitions

The 10th International Conference of Museums for Peace

Title: The Future of Peace Museum Exhibitions

Author: Junko Kanekiyo, Curator, Kyoto Museum for World Peace (Japan)

Abstract: This paper aims to discuss the expected future roles of peace museum exhibitions, based on the research project at Kyoto Museum for World Peace.
The project examined various exhibitions aiming to hand down first-hand accounts of war experience as the lessons for peace. Conventional survivor talks provided the opportunity of interaction which provoked critical thinking among the audience. On the contrary, present efforts of providing survivor-account in digital technology create passive environment for the audience. Thus, the success of peace museum exhibitions rely on the way it invokes critical thinking, especially in the age of digital technologies.
Based on this perspective, the project conducted an experimental exhibition and audience research in 2018. The exhibition titled “August 6th,” aimed to invite the audience to question the conventional representation of Hiroshima at peace museums. It included a film projecting diverse attitudes of the people crossing the ground zero on August 6th of 2015 and an exhibition presenting various experiences tied to a relic of Hiroshima registered in Kyoto Museum for World Peace collection. The paper examines the possibility of inducing critical thinking among the audience through the result of the audience research.