April 5, 2024

JAM Award 2023 goes to the Akashi Municipal Planetarium


The Japanese Association of Museums (JAM) officially celebrated the Akashi Municipal Planetarium (Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture) as the winner of the JAM Award 2023 at the opening ceremony of the 71st National Museum Convention held on November 15, 2023.

The JAM Award was established in 2020 to commemorate JAM’s 90th anniversary and to honor institutions that have made significant contributions to the promotion of museums in Japan and achieved outstanding results, serving as models for other museums. The award winner is selected from among JAM members. The selection committee, consisting of academics and museum professionals, selects the winners, and the JAM’s Board makes final decisions.

The Akashi Municipal Planetarium is located right on the meridian of Japan Standard Time at 135 degrees east longitude, which makes it one of the most unique planetariums in the world. Since its opening on “Time Day” in 1960, the planetarium has been popular among the residents as a symbolic icon for Akashi City or “Town of Time” and a cultural hub in the region for over 60 years. Its facility has a unique structure: a four-story reinforced concrete building, a round planetarium with a diameter of 20 meters, and a clock tower of 54 meters high. It was designated as a Tangible Registered Cultural Property in 2010. It is known as the oldest planetarium in Japan, which is still in operation, with a planetarium (Carl Zeiss Jena, Germany) at its establishment.

The planetarium, known as the “Time and Space Museum,” is actively involved with the local community by holding various events, such as star-watching events and Star Club gatherings, as well as its exhibitions and planetarium operation so that the community members can learn with fun. Also, the museum fosters learning for infants and junior and high school students and develops volunteer activities with citizen participation. Furthermore, the planetarium is highly regarded for its initiatives for fun learning in cooperation with meridian-related parties, such as events featuring SHIGOSENGER, the characters of the museum.

Coincidentally, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first planetarium in Germany. To celebrate this milestone, the International Planetarium Association launched a series of projects between 2023 and 2025. The JAM Award has gone to the deserving museum in light of these global initiatives.

As a winner of the JAM Award 2023, the Akashi Municipal Planetarium will be interviewed online with The Best in Heritage (TBIH), which will be available on their YouTube Channel.