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This year is the 21st anniversary of the Chicago Peace Museum, which has a unique role in the history of U2.

It was when the band visited the Peace Museum in 1983, that they came across an exhibition of paintings by survivors of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at the end of World War II.

The exhibition was to prove inspirational in the writing of The Unforgettable Fire, U2's 1984 album. And when the band came to tour the new songs that year they performed against a stage backdrop of images also inspired by the paintings ­ including Japanese writings and lithographs.

Today the Peace Museum continues to be the only one of its kind in the United States, exploring the impact of war and peace through the arts. Its collection of 10,000 artifacts includes original paintings, sculptures, drawings, ribbon banners, posters and buttons. And at a time when the drums of war are beating more loudly than ever, its role was never more important.

Exhibits focus on individual peacemakers and artists, on the the horrors of war, human rights, prisons, and women's leadership. And the Museum also endeavours to develop peace making and conflict management skills by exploring creative, nonviolent solutions to social issues through education and community involvement.

One current exhibition is called 'Artifacts of Vigilance' and is a survey of peace movements in the 20th century: 'Most often, when people in the United States think of peace movements, they think of the Vietnam anti-war movement. As this exhibit illustrates, concern for peace transcends boundaries of time and place. Peace movements have existed throughout history. They are not isolated reactions to war, but rather an ongoing struggle for peace and social justice in which one movement feeds the next.'

And from February: 'Martin Luther King, Jr. - Peacemaker'
Tracing Dr. King's career and important events in the history of civil rights and peace.

Well worth a visit, more information here
www.peacemuseum.org

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