photo: Barbara Reynolds (middle), founder of PRC, at Peace Pilgrimage
Given renewed concerns regarding the use of nuclear weapons by the United States and other foreign powers, the need to educate the public about the consequences of nuclear weapons is again at the forefront. The Peace Resource Center (PRC) at Wilmington College, driven by its mission to share the stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a-bomb survivors and the nonviolent legacies of nuclear disarmament activists is expanding its historical archives into innovative online digital exhibits that will be available to the Ohio public.
The PRC, founded by nuclear disarmament peace activist Barbara Reynolds in 1975, received a 2017 media grant from the Ohio Humanities Council to develop an online exhibit using digital mapping and three-dimensional representation regarding Barbara Reynolds’s 1964 World Peace Study Mission (WPSM) and the WPSM’s Ohio connections.
The 1964 WPSM was an awareness-raising mission led by Ohioan Barbara Reynolds consisting of 27 survivors of the atomic bombing and 14 translators who remarkably traveled to the United States, France, United Kingdom and USSR — then the world’s handful of nuclear powers. The delegation met with Pres. Harry Truman while in the U.S., and also traveled to major Ohio cities such as Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus, garnering the support of noted Ohioans such as famed Cleveland industrialist Cyrus S. Eaton and Dayton civil rights activist and minister Harold Levesconte.
“The WPSM is a compelling example of Ohio political and civic engagement directed outward to global issues.” shared Tanya Maus, Director of the PRC. “Barbara Reynolds, an Ohioan herself, possessed a deep desire to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
““The grant gives the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College the resources needed to reach new audiences in Ohio and beyond with histories of nuclear disarmament that can be more easily accessed” – Maraya Wahl, WPSM outreach coordinator
“The grant gives the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College the resources needed to reach new audiences in Ohio and beyond with histories of nuclear disarmament that can be more easily accessed,” shares Wilmington College senior Maraya Wahl, outreach coordinator for the WPSM project.
PRC staff, including Wilmington College student employees and interns from the local area, has been actively developing online platforms to share information, beginning with a more recent online “History Pin” (an online user-generated archive) exhibit entitled The Voyage of the Phoenix: A Peace Odyssey. Focused on the Reynolds family’s journey into peace activism through a trip around the world in their yacht The Phoenix of Hiroshima; the exhibit (which can be displayed in poster form) also examines the current state of nuclear weapons and the nonviolent responses nationally and internationally.
PhD students from Watanave Laboratories at Tokyo Metropolitan University will travel from Tokyo in July to educate PRC staff how to use the open source digital mapping platform known as Cesium js, which allows a high level of visualization and interaction in telling the story of the World Peace Study Mission.Other partners in developing the online exhibit include Antioch College and Wright State University. It is the goal of the PRC to make the exhibit available to college and high school educators and students in Ohio and beyond so that the stories of atomic bombing survivor activism and the international nuclear disarmament movement that arose during the 1950s and 60s will not be forgotten.