The American University Museum in Washington, DC is currently showing an exhibition on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The exhibition includes information about the bombings, 20 artifacts collected from the debris such as a pocket watch from Hiroshima, and a series of painted panels on folding screens depicting the bombings.
Many Japanese officials, including the Dr. Kenji Shiga, the Director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, attended the exhibition opening on June 13. They extended an invitation to the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the National Park Service (NPS) to tour the exhibition.
AHF Program Director Alexandra Levy joined the National Park Service for the tour led by Dr. Shiga. Over half a dozen officials from the National Park were in attendance, including Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service; Victor Knox, Associate Director for Park Planning; and several other officials who have been involved with the planning for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
Dr. Shiga explained the history of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their significance in wartime Japan, and the short and long-term impact of the bombings on the cities and the victims, the hibakusha. He noted that Hiroshima had been declared a “no-bomb” city by the US to preserve it for the atomic bomb, a fact that especially struck Director Jarvis. Dr. Shiga discussed how the bombing affected him personally – that his grandmother survived the bombing of Hiroshima, but suffered terrible burns. In addition to reflecting on the bombings’ legacy on the two cities today, Dr. Shiga emphasized that he hoped the NPS would collaborate with the Japanese to tell the full story of the bombings.
In an interview with the Japanese media after the tour, Director Jarvis explained that the NPS hopes to feature artifacts from the bombings at the three Manhattan Project Park sites, to provide the Japanese perspective of the bombings.