A museum by definition is an institution devoted to the procurement and exhibition of objects that have artistic, cultural, religious, historical, or scientific value for people’s enjoyment and education. Aspell (2016), in her book Introducing Peace Museums, stresses the one challenge of creating spaces that display the material culture of peace, bring to light peace histories, show expression to peace cultures, and share peace narratives. First, peace as outcome, gets tucked under the glory and complex strategies of war – war as absolute, peace as ongoing- situating the ego of ‘power over’ as perhaps more spectacular than the humility of ‘power with.’ Around the world, many war museums capture the breadth of human history in our attempts to create peace from war.
The Gernika Peace Museum in Spain and the Kyoto Museum for World Peace in Japan gained support and provide consolation to the horrors of war, but they also project a future along a very different path. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Preamble to the Constitution states “[t]hat since wars began in the minds of man, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” (2)
Second, peace as process, is more easily captured by focusing on issues- human rights, civil rights, structural violence—looking for peace in the exploits of social justice. Peace is the absence of war, but true peace or “positive peace” depends on the existence of political, social, economic, and environmental justice, a respect for all human rights and respectful communication, the maintenance of nonviolence, and on the just resolution of international tensions.