Introducing Peace Museums
(Routledge Press 2016)
By Joyce Apsel
This volume examines peace museums, a small and important (but often overlooked) series of museums whose numbers have multiplied world-wide in recent decades. They relate stories and display artifacts―banners, diaries, and posters for example about such themes as: art and peace, antiwar histories, protest, peacekeeping and social justice and promote cultures of peace. This book introduces their different approaches from Japan, which has the largest number of sites, to Bradford, UK and Guernica, Spain. Some peace museums and centers emphasize popular peace symbols and figures, others provide alternative narratives about conscientious objection or civil disobedience, and still others are sites of persuasion, challenging the status quo about issues of war, peace, disarmament, and related issues.
Introducing Peace Museums distinguishes between different types of museums that are linked to peace in name, theme or purpose and discusses the debates which surround peace museums versus museums for peace. This book is the first of its kind to critically evaluate the exhibits and activities of this group of museums, and to consider the need for a "critical peace museum studies" which analyses their varied emphasis and content. The work of an experienced specialist, this welcome introduction to peace museums considers the challenges and opportunities faced by these institutions now and in the future.