The fate of the Chicago Peace Museum is in question. The museum, which presents peaceful solutions to social issues through exhibitions and community involvement, is on the verge of permanently closing its doors because of a lack of funding.
For 20 years, U2 have been associated with the Peace Museum. In May 1983, the band visited the museum and viewed an exhibition on the Hiroshima bombing titled “Unforgettable Fire,” which inspired the name of the band’s 1984 album. When asked why the band chose to name the album after the exhibition, Bono responded, “People should use art to get something out of themselves. It [the exhibition] stuck on me and it stuck in my memory. And when I was writing the words for the ‘Unforgettable Fire,’ it just came back.”
Through the years, the band have donated several items to the museum’s permanent collection, including handwritten lyrics to “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day.” They also loaned the white flags stage backdrop from their War tour for another Peace Museum exhibition titled “Give Peace A Chance.”
Since the band’s initial visit to the museum, Bono has commented on the museum at nearly every U2 performance in Chicago. During the first leg of the Elevation tour, Bono even dedicated one of their Chicago performances to the Peace Museum, saying “Lest we forget, lest we forget…”
The museum has left a lasting impression on the band and many U2 fans who have visited it. Those who wish to pledge their support to the museum should visit its web site or phone 773-638-6450.