• Digitalising Trauma's Fractures: Nagasaki Museums, Objects, Witnesses and Virtuality

    Gwyn McClelland (see profile)
    Victoria Grace Walden
    Asia Lusitana, Digital Humanities East Asia, Japanese Studies
    Atomic bomb victims, Memory, Collective memory, Museums, Digital humanities
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
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    Within this chapter I evaluate the still unfolding evolution of digital resources in the case of museum and archive practice related to Nagasaki and their suitability in assisting in the task of teaching the difficult history of the atomic bombing. Memorial museums do exist to convince, and to assist the public in recalling public and collective trauma. Such museums were established in Nagasaki (and Hiroshima) specifically to convince the public of the necessity to avoid any repetition of such an event in the future. I raise here the possibility that digital techniques offer apposite methods that potentially reflect the fractured and incomplete nature of memory that supports the work of historiography (Williams 2012). In displaying a traumatic subject whether through physical objects, or the digital, an ongoing contest between the narrative and the fragmentary is apparent – and the ultimately un-knowable story is told by fragments displayed or represented. The basis of the discussion in this chapter is my own extensive fieldwork involving multiple visits to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum between 2008 and 2019, supported by references within the literature, and my communication including emails to local public historians. Additionally, the work depends upon my analysis of emerging digital representations of the narrative of the bombing of Nagasaki. My wider work as historian in Nagasaki has involved extensive oral history interviews over many years with multiple sufferers of the bombing including the Catholic community, resulting in my book length monograph about their experiences, Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki: Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives (McClelland, 2019).
    BOOK: The Memorial Museum in the Digital Age
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    Last Updated:
    1 year ago


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