the Hiroshima Museum

Wandering around Hiroshima, you'd never know the city was oblitered at the end of WWII, until you approach ground zero, an island between two rivers where the familar skeleton of the former City Hall stands. The museum is nearby, one of many features in Peace Park, and I've heard a lot about it, so was curious to visit -- unfortunately, I arrived with only about a half-hour until closing, but there was enough time to dash through and take some pictures.

One of the first displays you encounter are a couple of city models, the center of town inside a ring, one before and one after. A little red ball is suspended above after's ground zero. I didn't snap a worthy enough photo of these, but wanted to include a detail to show City Hall (and its neighborhood) as it appeared before. Now, on local maps, its designation is simply Atom Bomb Dome. Peace Park fills the island in front of it, across the river.

The museum has a couple of tactile displays which observers are invited to touch -- ceramic roof tiles, their glaze rendered bubbly from the heat; and here, melted bottles.

I'd read the story of Sadako in 1997, and found cranes she'd folded among the displays. These were small, the size of a coin -- said she often used wrapping paper since real origami paper was so scarce.

I hadn't heard they were in the museum, but it makes sense.

The most horrifying things on display (to me) were any number of aftermath descriptins and drawings by survivors, as well as some photos of the mushroom cloud, taken from below. An interesting counterpoint to the big picture was how the museum is in two buildings, connected by a flying bridge, lined with windows -- for some reason, walking through it, I was suddenly reminded of being inside the memorial structure atop the Arizona, in Pearl Harbor -- physically similar structures, brackets to America's role in the great Pacific War.

After passing through the tunnel, one reaches the exhibit I've heard the most about. There weren't as many of these gruesome wax figures of victims with melting flesh as I was expecting -- just one diorama, and my apologies, the picture isn't very good, the lighting was dim; flickering, red illumination.

Just opposite was this full-scale 'Little Boy' model, over a display detailing how it worked, with specifications.

Back outside, on the nearby bridge, youthful, sincere Japanese were playing guitars and singing songs of peace. Across the way I found this angel, draped with thousands of origami cranes.

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