At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, a single atomic bomb detonated approximately 600 meters above central Hiroshima. That was the moment in human history when this terrifying weapon was first used against a city and its people.
The intense heat, thousands of degrees Celsius, emitted by the A-bomb instantly burned human beings to death, soon rendering the city a sea of flames. The tremendous blast smashed houses and the people in them. Many were severely injured. Having managed to escape immediate death, they desperately sought safety, their burnt skin dangling from their flesh. Massive doses of radiation penetrated deep into the bodies of survivors, causing pain and suffering even today.
Challenge 1: Collection and Dissemination
In the beginning, the museum displayed the A-bombed roof tiles and stones Nagaoka collected. Thanks to decades of generous donations from A-bomb survivors and bereaved family members, the museum currently holds over 20,000 A-bomb artifacts, and even today, we continue to receive personal mementoes. The collection also includes about 70,000 photographs taken by the US military and other survey teams, as well as about 5,000 drawings by survivors depicting their A-bomb experiences. In addition to displaying these items in our permanent and special exhibits, we offer testimony by A-bomb survivors, A-bomb exhibitions in Japan and abroad, peace study programs for youth, and many other opportunities to study the facts of the atomic bombing.
Challenge 2: Renewal
Seventy-three years have passed since the atomic bombing, and the museum marked its 63rd anniversary. We needed to work on a wide range of issues that had arisen over time, including preservation and conservation of the artifacts, maintenance of buildings and facilities, and improvement of visitor services. Thus, the museum has been under full renovation for the first time in twenty years. The renovated East Building reopened in April 2017. The exhibits in the Main Building are being carefully redesigned, with the grand opening scheduled for the spring of 2019.
Challenge 3: Inheriting A-bomb Memories
The number of visitors to the museum in fiscal 2017 reached 1.68 million, nearly 400,000 of which were overseas visitors. The total number of visitors since its opening has surpassed 70.75 million. Visitors are expected to increase further after completion of the full renovation.
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