Since its opening in 1969,
the objective of the National Atomic museum has been to provide a
accessible repository of educational materials, and information on the
Atomic Age. In addition, the museum's goal is to preserve, interpret,
exhibit to the public memorabilia of this Age. In late 1991 the museum
was chartered by Congress as the United States' only official Atomic
Prominently featured in the
museum's high bay is the story of the Manhattan Engineer District, the
unprecedented 2.2 billion dollar scientific-engineering project that
centered in New Mexico during World
War II. The
Manhattan Project as it was more commonly called, developed, built,
and tested the world's first Atomic bomb in New
Mexico. This display also
includes casings similar to the only Atomic bombs ever used in warfare.
Dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima
these two bombs helped bring World War II to an end in mid-August 1945.
The story of the Manhattan Project's three secret cities, Hanford,
Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak
Ridge, Tennessee, is also
presented in this area.
A portion of the museum,
the low bay, is devoted to exhibits on the research, development, and
of various forms of nuclear energy. Historical and other traveling
are also displayed in this area. Also found in the low bay is the
store, which is operated by the museum's foundation.
Adjacent to the low bay is
the theater. The featured film is David Wolpers classic 1963
Ten Seconds That Shook The World. This excellent film is a 53-minute
on the Manhattan Project. Other films relating to the history of
the Atomic Age are available for viewing and checkout from the library.
Next to the theater is the
library/Department of Energy public reading room, containing government
documents that are available to the public for in-library research. The
library also has many nuclear related books available for reference and
Located around the outside
of the museum are a number of large exhibits. These include the Boeing
B-52B jet bomber that dropped the United States' last air burst H-bomb
in 1962, and a 280-mm (11 inches) Atomic cannon, once America's most
field artillery. Also found in this area is a Navy TA-7C (a modified
Corsair II fighter-bomber, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Many
nuclear weapons systems, rockets, and missiles are found in this area.
In front of the museum are
a pair of Navy Terrier missiles. The Terrier was the Navy's first
surface to air missile. To the south of the museum, next to the
parking lot, is a Republic F-105D Thunderchief fighter-bomber. Further
south is a World War II Boeing B-29 Superfortress. This plane is
to the B-29's, Enola Gay and Bockscar that dropped the Atomic bombs on
The National Atomic Museum,
is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except for New Years Day, Easter,
and Christmas. The museum is located at 20358 Wyoming Blvd. SE, on
Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guided tours for groups are
by calling (505) 845-4636 in advance. Admission and tours are
cameras are always welcome!
100 Suns - By Michael Light -
July 1945 and November
1962 the United States is known to have conducted 216 atmospheric and
nuclear tests. After the Limited Test Ban Treaty between the United
and the Soviet Union in 1963, nuclear testing went underground. It
literally invisible—but more frequent: the United States conducted a
723 underground tests, the last in 1992. 100 Suns documents the era of
visible nuclear testing, the atmospheric era, with 100 photographs
by Michael Light from the archives at Los Alamos National Laboratory
the U.S. National Archives in Maryland. It includes previously
material from the clandestine Lookout Mountain Air Force Station based
in Hollywood, whose film directors, cameramen and still photographers
sworn to secrecy.
The title, 100 Suns, refers
to the response by J.Robert Oppenheimer to the world’s first nuclear
in New Mexico when he quoted a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, the
Vedic text: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst forth at
once in the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I
am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This was Oppenheimer’s
to describe the otherwise indescribable. 100 Suns likewise confronts
indescribable by presenting without embellishment the stark evidence of
the tests at the moment of detonation. Since the tests were conducted
in Nevada or the Pacific the book is simply divided between the desert
and the ocean. Each photograph is presented with the name of the test,
its explosive yield in kilotons or megatons, the date and the location.
The enormity of the events recorded is contrasted with the understated
neutrality of bare data.
Interspersed within the sequence of
are pictures of the awestruck witnesses. The evidence of these
is terrifying in its implication while at same time profoundly
as a spectacle. The visual grandeur of such imagery is balanced by the
chilling facts provided at the end of the book in the detailed
a chronology of the development of nuclear weaponry and an extensive
A dramatic sequel to Michael Light’s Full Moon,
100 Suns forms an
unprecedented historical document.