Masaru Kumagai examines fossils recovered from the Rikuzentakata City Museum, Iwate Prefecture Image credit The Mainichi Daily News
 
The Mainichi Daily News reports today that –
 
When the Iwate Prefecture city of Rikuzentakata was hit by a deadly quake on March 11, 2011, hundreds of thousands of items at local museums were engulfed by the tsunami waves. Now, however, the efforts of the city’s only surviving curator have sparked hope that many items will be restored and put back on display. Masaru Kumagai, a 45-year-old curator at the Sea and Shell Museum, has teamed up with people including retired museum workers to help restore the museums’ damaged specimens. “I won’t let the riches of my hometown be lost,” Kumagai says.
 

Over 440,000 items from the city museum and other locations were swallowed by the tsunami waves. Following the magnitude-9.0 earthquake in March 2011, Kumagai fled from his workplace in the city to the roof of the city hall, located about two kilometers away. However, most of the city’s employees who were knowledgeable about the museum’s cultural properties, including the head of the city museum, died in the tsunami.

Work to collect the scattered articles began in April. Researchers and museum workers from around the country, as well as Self-Defense Forces helped to uncover them. By mid-June they had recovered around 310,000 items. However, Kumagai says that what is more important is how many can be restored to good condition. The quality of articles soiled by seawater and mud degrades over time, so speed is needed for the restoration work. Workers must be thorough, sterilizing, drying, and cataloging the items.

Full article here.

陸前高田の博物館:標本守れ、復元急ぐ…生存の学芸員奮闘

東日本大震災で甚大な被害を受けた岩手県陸前高田市では、市立博物館などに収められていた標本や文献など44万点以上が大津波にのみ込まれた。震災から11カ月、生き残ったスタッフが「古里の財産を失わせない」と収蔵品の復元に取り組み、将来の博物館の再生を目指している。縄文時代の土器、サンゴの化石、三陸の動植物の標本、三陸海岸で使われてきた漁具、古い家電、掛け軸、マンガ--。同市郊外の旧生出(おいで)小(11年3月閉校)の体育館と教室に保管している津波被害にあった収蔵品だ。「これは震災後、博物館で保管してほしいと寄贈されました」。同市でただ一人生き残った学芸員、熊谷賢さん(45)が指さす先には、針が2時46分で止まった古い柱時計があった。