Miyagi Network News vol.165 ~The First Part

~The Exhibition in Sendai City Museum~

~The report of the exhibition ‘One Year after the Eastern Japan Earthquake, Rescue Activities for the Historical Materials’~

 This is Shinichiro Kurihara, an officer of the Compiling Room for History of Sendai City in Sendai City Museum. As the Homepage of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materialsinformed you, from 6th to 25th of March, Sendai City Museum held the exhibition ‘One Year after the Eastern Japan Earthquake, Rescue Activities for the Historical Materials’, in the ground floor gallery. This is to introduce the present condition of historical materials in each community and the importance of passing down and making good use of those materials as the community’s common treasure, as we exhibited the fruit of the rescue operations carried out in Sendai city, since the Eastern Japan Earthquake. The following is the main contents of our exhibition.

The Exhibition Room

The exhibition was divided into the actual materials exhibition, a panel exhibition, and a slideshow.

In the actual materials exhibition, we displayed the personally-owned-documents and public archives which had been rescued in Sendai City. Concretely speaking, for example, there was the ‘Chigyo Mokuroku (the list of their land and its harvest)’ and the scrolls concerned with Japanese archery, which had been rescued from the old house and who had worked as statesmen in the Sendai Domain (please see Network News vol.128). Others included Kenchicho (land survey book) in 1635 and calligraphies by Senjin Oka(1833-1913), which had been rescued from an old house in Wakabayasi-ku, and the Byobu(*1) of Kaimon (a sort of word game), in which you could see undercoated documents from broken parts, rescued from Wakabayashi-ku as well, and the festival flag from 1833 which had been preserved in Dainichinorai-Do Temple damaged by the Tsunami, and the Books of School History in 1927, preserved in Rokugo Elementary School. These are rescued by the Sendai City Museum or the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials, or by both organisations.

Thedisplay of the damaged materials

In addition, we exhibited the tools and apparatus which were used for washing and drying the historical materials affected by the Tsunami. Those tools were used in the project for supporting to repair the archives by National Archives of Japan, held in Sendai City Museum from January to March. The Books of School History in 1927 were actually cleaned up by those tools.

In terms of the panel exhibition, they were further divided into 6 sections as follows: 1. The introduction of historical materials which were rescued and surveyed through the rescue activities, 2. The rescue activities by Sendai City Museum (please see Network News vol.121 and 139), 3. The methods for tidying and the urgent measures for the damaged historical materials, 4. The damage of extent of historical structure and landscape in Sendai City, 5. The past earthquakes and tsunamis occurred in Sendai Plain, 6. The restoration construction of the stone wall in Sendai Castle which affected by past earthquakes and other natural disasters. We displayed 25 panels in total, and those were printed and handed to the visitors as pamphlets.

The Byobu rescued from Wakabayashi-ku

In the slideshow, we showed the process of washing waterlogged materials, rescue operations and extent of damage caused by the quake and the Tsunami in Sendai City.

In Sendai City Museum, at the same time we had the special exhibition of ‘National Treasure, Red and White Plum Blossoms Byobu and masterpieces from MOA Museum of Art’, so that 8,138 people from young to elder, from inside and outside of prefecture, visited our exhibition. The owners of historical materials told us “Please make use of our documents”, “If our house had not been surveyed, we would dispose of all of them. I really appreciate that those materials could see the light of the day”, and those words were our pleasure.

Some visitors already knew our activities very well, on the other hand, many of them first recognised the ‘rescue operation for historical materials’. Because of this, during the exhibition there were a lot of inquiries from owners of historical materials, who heard our activities from visitors and the media.

The apparatus used for cleaning operations

Through the exhibition, we again recognised the importance to widely appeal our activities not only to historical researchers and amateurs but also ordinary citizens. Now the panels are exhibited in other public space. We would like to consider the circulated exhibition of these panels, and to advertise our preserving operations.

Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to citizens and secretariat office of the Miyagi Network of Preserving Historical Materials.

 (to be continued)

 NB: The photos are all from the homepage of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

 *1 Byobu: a holding screen with a coloured paintings or a black-and-white drawing using Japanese patterns.




About Nerwork for Historical Materials
A volunteer group for preserving Cultural Heritage suffered from natural disasters

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