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Case Studies

Case Study: Multisensory Experience at Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall, Tokyo

Tokyo’s Daigo Fukuryu-maru or Lucky Dragon #5 Exhibition Hall displays a wooden fishing boat that was contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll in 1954.  The boat is now a multi-sensory exhibition — visitors can walk around it, absorbing its salt-water smell and experiencing its size, and visitors with visual impairments can also experience it through a tactile model.  This case study was contributed by our colleague Yayoi Mashimo(artclassinquiries@gmail.com)

Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall or Lucky Dragon #5 Exhibition Hall is located in the bay area of Tokyo. The small pavilion features a wooden fishing boat involved in the nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on 1 March 1954.
(Website in Japanese only.)

The huge bow of the ship welcomes and overwhelms visitors as they enter the space.  The smell of the ship’s old lumber that absorbed sea water almost half a century ago is still strong. The museum has only one floor, so that audiences can easily explore and walk around the ship.  There is an accessible restroom.

The museum has a tactile model of the ship, so that visitors with visual impairment can explore it by touch. The model was created by one of the ship’s crew members a couple of decades ago.  He volunteered to make it when he heard that the museum occasionally accepted field trips from schools for the blind.  The model is behind glass,  but the museum staff  take it out for touch tours for visitors with visual impairments.

While the Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall staff do not think of themselves as  a barrier-free institution, the curators and educators are very flexible and interested in maximizing the visitors’ experience.

 

Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall external view

boat inside the Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall

tour inside the Daigo Fukuryu-maru Exhibition Hall

 

 

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