Tag Archives: ordnance

The Museum of Unexploded Bombs

Unexploded Cluster Bomb

Unexploded cluster bomb in Iraq. flickr.com/airborneshodan

The curator of the Museum of Unexploded Bombs is not, as you might expect him to be, a nervous man. Nor is he stoic, slow-witted or even suicidal. Rather he is a man who lives like a soldier, unoblivious to the immanent possibility of death and thereby open to every marvel that existence offers in the moment. The curator of the Museum of Unexploded Bombs knows that when the time comes he will not know.

The Museum of Unexploded Bombs does not charge an entrance fee and receives no public subsidy. It is dependent solely on donations from members of the public. Little old ladies with world war leftovers from their back gardens, scuba divers, policemen and even war criminals turn up on the doorstep with their offerings. The Museum turns nothing down: all gifts are accessioned, catalogued and displayed.

The collection of the Museum of Unexploded Bombs is not organised along taxonomical or historical lines, but in displays that reflect the aesthetic predilections of its curator. An early twentieth century tank shell wears a belt of machine gun ammunition uneasily. A display of hand grenades of all eras is organised in a tidy pyramid. A glass vitrine of bullets spells out the ranks of the Sudanese army.

The management board of The Museum of Unexploded Bombs has put a Change Transition and Risk Management strategy in place for the day when it becomes the Museum of Exploded Bombs.

The Museum of Unexploded Bombs organises schooltrips to the minefields of Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia. Children are taught to tiptoe alongside ordnance, they visit a prosthetics factory that manufactures in junior sizes, and are taught a cultural history of bombs. They meet other children for whom unexploded bombs are an unremarkable part of everyday life.

Offers made to The Museum of Unexploded Bombs to make the collection ‘safe’ have been rejected, and press releases issued to explain to the public that a collection of disarmed bombs would no longer be unexploded but technically unexplodable, and that this would run contrary to the Museum’s Founding Charter

Visitors to the Museum of Unexploded Bombs are not required to leave their coats, hats or bags in the cloakroom. In focus groups conducted by a market research firm on behalf of the Museum, visitors describe their visits to the museum as ‘awe-inspiring’, ‘life-affirming’ and ‘rewarding’. There are positive comments about the catering.