Back in 2007 when Sharon and I came to Ota ku as a member of the Salem Ota tour, we visited the Ota Folk Museum. It is better thought of as the Ota Cultural History Museum. It is about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, so this afternoon I waled over and made the rounds.
The museum is relatively small and tucked away on a side street, but it contains good exhibits of Ota’ archeological history and modern industry.
Ota is the site of the famed Omori shell mounds. First noticed by Edward Sylvester Morse, an American scientist who was travelling inJapan in the 1870s, it turned out to be wond of many such sites in Ot. It was a mound of shells and other discarded items from pre-historical times. At that time, archeology was unknown in Japan, so his findings were very important. He was invited to teach at the thennew Tokyo University, and to this day is known as the father of archeology in Japan. Whenhe returned he was name a direcctor of the Peabody Science Institute – now the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), in Salem Massachusetts. He dontated much of his collection of Japanese items to prehistori the museum, such that it has one of the best collections of Edo period artifacts in the world. (he also donated much to the Boston Museum of Fine Art)
Sometime in the latter half of the twentieth century, Ota created this museum, and included lots of relics from the many prehistoric sites in Ota. They consulted with the Peabody Museum (now PEM) to learn about Morse Out of that came a sister museum agreement signed in 1984. This later led to the sister city agreement signed in 1991.
Ota has a rich archeological history and a rich modern day industrial history – much of the story is told in this museum.