Atomic Heritage Foundation

Atomic Heritage Foundation Dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age, AHF's goal is to provide the public a better understanding of the past and a basis for addressing scientific, political, and ethical issues of the 21st century.
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Current Projects Preservation -Legislative mobilization for a Manhattan Project National Historical Park -Collaborating with key stakeholders on preservation and restoration efforts in Los Alamos, Hanford, Oak Ridge, Wendover, and other Manhattan Project sites. Interpretation -Collecting new oral histories and adding more from our collection to our "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website, which launched in November 2012 -Developing a series of "Ranger in Your Pocket" tours with video and audio vignettes on: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford's pioneers, and innovation in the Manhattan Project -Designing a traveling exhibit on the Manhattan Project to be featured in history and science museums nationwide Education -Comprehensive development of Manhattan Project online resources, including lesson plans -Developing and publishing a comprehensive guidebook to the Manhattan Project sites

Mission: The Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF), founded by Cynthia Kelly in 2002, is a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age and its legacy. The Foundation's goal is to provide the public not only a better understanding of the past but also a basis for addressing scientific, technical, political, social and ethical issues of the 21st century. AHF works with Congress, the Department of Energy, National Park Service, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and the former Manhattan Project communities to preserve and interpret historic sites and develop useful and accesible educational materials for veterans, teachers, and the general public.

Operating as usual

Many people are astounded by how humble the cottage was where  J. Robert Oppenheimer, his wife Kitty, toddler Peter and ...
11/20/2020

Many people are astounded by how humble the cottage was where J. Robert Oppenheimer, his wife Kitty, toddler Peter and baby Katherine ("Toni") lived. The baby was born on December 7, 1944 in a seven room hospital that had been dubbed “RFD,” for “rural free delivery” due to the high number of births (over 300) that occurred during the Project’s three years.

As the director of the top-secret laboratory at Los Alamos, Oppenheimer was entitled to live in one of the former Los Alamos Ranch School properties. Most of these seven cottages once housed the masters who taught at the school.

At home, Oppenheimer shared in some family responsibilities. Listen to this "Ranger in Your Pocket" vignette where Oppenheimer describes his morning routine, taking Peter to nursery school on the way to work in the Technical Area. (https://www.atomicheritage.org/tour-stop/bathtub-row-0#.X6H6DllOmw4)

Overall, growing up in the Oppenheimer household with brilliant but eccentric parents was not easy. For more on the Oppenheimers, read Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "American Prometheus" by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin.

Did Manhattan Project scientists suspect that some of their colleagues were actively conducting espionage? Watch the C-S...
11/17/2020

Did Manhattan Project scientists suspect that some of their colleagues were actively conducting espionage? Watch the C-SPAN video on espionage in the Manhattan Project, part of the AHF's symposium on the 70th anniversary of the Manhattan Project. (https://www.c-span.org/video/?326373-2/discussion-espionage-manhattan-project)

The session features historian Dr. Robert S. Norris and Manhattan Project veterans James Schoke and Benjamin Bederson. The veterans talk about spies they knew including Klaus Fuchs, David Greenglass,Ted Hall and George Koval. Neither veteran suspected their colleagues of espionage. According to Schoke, Koval was "a wonderful guy."

Nancy Greenspan’s book, “Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs,” searches for a deeper understanding of why Klaus Fuchs betrayed both Britain and the United States by handing over the designs for the plutonium bomb to the Soviets. Fuchs was convicted of espionage but was he really evil? How did the cataclysmic events of history shape his decisions to provide atomic information to the USSR? With the ambiguity of history, Greenspan observes that questions of moral accountability are difficult to resolve.

The Hispano and Pueblo communities of northern New Mexico played a significant role in the life of Los Alamos Laboratory...
11/16/2020

The Hispano and Pueblo communities of northern New Mexico played a significant role in the life of Los Alamos Laboratory. In interviews on “Voices of the Manhattan Project,” (www.manhattanprojectvoices.org) you can listed to dozens of interviews from both Hispanos and Pueblos. Many were taken by Willie Atencio and David Schiferl, both formerly with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“People in the area were very poor at that time,” Lydia Martinez (photo) said. “Most people did farming. But once the lab came in, everybody started prospering. It was a good thing for us living in the Valley. If it had not been for Los Alamos, it would have been hard.”

However, not all regarded the laboratory so positively. In addition to concerns about the laboratory’s impact on the environment, some expressed nostalgia about life before the war. Virginia Montoya Archuleta was born in Los Alamos and spent her early childhood there. Her father, Adolfo Montoya, was a homesteader and the head gardener at the Los Alamos Ranch School. “We didn’t want to give up our beautiful life,” she stated. “We had such a great upbringing that we did not want to leave.”

For more, see article, “Northern New Mexico and the Manhattan Project” at https://www.atomicheritage.org/article/northern-new-mexico-and-manhattan-project.

In the midst of the Great Depression, many African Americans saw the Manhattan Project as an opportunity for higher-payi...
11/15/2020
On the Job

In the midst of the Great Depression, many African Americans saw the Manhattan Project as an opportunity for higher-paying jobs and a better future. Despite the hardships and discrimination, black workers, technicians, and scientists became integral to the project. Their contributions, from the plants of Hanford and Oak Ridge to the laboratories of Chicago and Columbia, helped bring World War II to an end.

To watch engaging programs with documentary photos and commentary, check out AHF’s series of twenty-one short videos as part of our Ranger in Your Pocket series, “African-Americans and the Manhattan Project.” These videos incorporate excerpts from interviews with many African American participants, historians and other experts. (https://www.atomicheritage.org/tours/African-Americans%20and%20the%20Manhattan%20Project)

For individual interviews of African Americans, see AHF’s “Voices of the Manhattan Project” and search for African-Americans. https://www.manhattanprojectvoices.org/

To read more, please see “African Americans and the Manhattan Project” (https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/african-americans-and-manhattan-project).

Jackie Peterson: Unfortunately, though, when most women, African American women in particular, arrived at Hanford, they were pretty much offered cleaning positions or kitchen positions, very traditional women’s work.

"Doctor Atomic" was first performed in Santa Fe in 2018. Inspired by the performance, the "Doctor Atomic Trail" has doze...
11/14/2020

"Doctor Atomic" was first performed in Santa Fe in 2018. Inspired by the performance, the "Doctor Atomic Trail" has dozens of videos which capture the Manhattan Project in several important New Mexico sites. Part of the Ranger in Your Pocket series (https://www.atomicheritage.org/tours/%22Doctor%20Atomic%22%20Trail), the "Doctor Atomic Trail" is the perfect guide for the (armchair or actual) tourist interested in visiting the places where it happened.

Starting with Lamy, Manhattan Project veterans recount their bewilderment when they arrived at the train station there. Their next stop was 109 East Palace in Santa Fe where Dorothy McKibbin, the beloved "Gatekeeper" of Los Alamos, greeted them. Other videos highlight life in Los Alamos, the neighboring Hispano and Pueblo communities, and the Trinity Site, where the first atomic test was conducted in July 1945.

For more about the opera, check out AHF's articles on "Doctor Atomic" at see article on "Doctor Atomic" at https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/doctor-atomic and on "The Manhattan Project in Popular Culture" at https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/manhattan-project-popular-culture.

Bathtub Row is where the top echelon of Manhattan Project leaders and their families lived at Los Alamos. Visitors to Lo...
11/13/2020

Bathtub Row is where the top echelon of Manhattan Project leaders and their families lived at Los Alamos. Visitors to Los Alamos can take self-guided tours of Los Alamos with their cell phones using the "Ranger in Your Pocket" website (www.rangerinyourpocket.org).

Under Los Alamos heading, each of the Bathtub Row programs includes an expert guide or the voice of one of the former residents. In "The McMillan's New Home," Elsie McMillan recalls that Master Cottage #1 (see below) left much to be desired.

In "Vera Comes to Los Alamos," explosives expert George Kistiaskowsky's daughter describes how "I slept in the bedroom and my father slept on a couch" in the tiny converted powerhouse. Even the most desirable accommodations were very humble!

The houses on Bathtub Row was originally built by the Los Alamos Ranch School founded by Ashley Pond in 1917. Most of them were where the masters lived or were classrooms for the boys. Designed by the famous architect John Gaw Meem, the structures are of native logs and stone. The Manhattan Project took over the Ranch School and its properties in early 1943.

In honor of the 5th anniversary of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, AHF is pleased to make its documentar...
11/12/2020

In honor of the 5th anniversary of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, AHF is pleased to make its documentary film A Sense of Place available online. See https://www.atomicheritage.org/article/sense-place for the link to the video.

In 2006, the Los Alamos National Laboratory had just completed the restoration of the “V Site" (photo below). Located in a secure area of the laboratory, the “V Site” was where the “Gadget,” the plutonium bomb tested at the Trinity site, was designed.

The film provides a tour of the properties that are part of new Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Los Alamos. Because of on-going top-secret work, most of the sites located behind the security perimeter of the Los Alamos National Laboratory are not yet accessible to the public on a regular basis.

The smaller photos below (left to right) are of the Gun Site, Slotin Building, Concrete Bowl, and Quonset Hut (TA-22). In the meantime, enjoy a chance to take a virtual tour through this documentary!

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was not inevitable. On Thursday at 5:00 PM MT, Cindy Kelly will recount t...
11/12/2020

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was not inevitable. On Thursday at 5:00 PM MT, Cindy Kelly will recount the history beginning with the embryonic years in the late 1990s. Click here to join by zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82179358448.

By 1997, the Los Alamos National Laboratory had scheduled 50 or so Manhattan Project properties for demolition including the V Site (photo below). Weren't any going to be saved?

The next several years began a flurry of activities to preserve the Manhattan Project properties. In 2004, Congress passed legislation requiring the National Park Service to study whether a Manhattan Project National Historical Park was "feasible, suitable and manageable."

Over the next 10 years, the possibility of a Manhattan Project park was thrashed out by the National Park Service, the Department of Energy, historic preservation groups, and local communities with many ups and downs. With bipartisan Congressional leadership from NM, TN, and WA delegations, an omnibus package passed with seven new parks and over 80 other park and public land provisions. Remarkable!

Join the webinar as Cindy Kelly shares highlights of this history as part of the celebration of the Manhattan Project park's fifth anniversary. For more information, see LACNM.COM/MAPR for the the webinar link and other 5th Anniversary events.

Voices of the Manhattan Project (www.manhattanprojectvoices.org) is a treasure trove of first-hand accounts from Manhatt...
11/11/2020

Voices of the Manhattan Project (www.manhattanprojectvoices.org) is a treasure trove of first-hand accounts from Manhattan Project participants. Over 600 recordings capture the Manhattan Project through the lens of the people who were part of it. Seventy interviews were taken in 1965 with J. Robert Oppenheimer, General Leslie Groves, and other notable scientists and military leaders.

Hundreds of other interviews are with the complete spectrum of participants, from scientists, engineers, technicians, flight crews on the Japanese missions, secretaries, telephone operators, construction crew, military police, cafeteria workers, to doctors and nurses. To quote historian Richard Rhodes, the Manhattan Project was a “great work of human collaboration.”

As captured by artist John Hull, the young men below were making high explosive lenses for the plutonium bomb. Thousands were recruited from the Army and enrolled in the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). The "Voices" site has dozens of interviews with former SEDers.

Voices of the Manhattan Project is a treasure trove of first-hand accounts of Manhattan Project participants. Over 600 r...
11/11/2020
Manhattan Project Voices

Voices of the Manhattan Project is a treasure trove of first-hand accounts of Manhattan Project participants. Over 600 recordings capture the Manhattan Project through the lens of the people who were part of it. The entire collection is transcribed and may be searched for names, places or terms. Many interviews are with notable scientists including J. Robert Oppenheimer, military leaders such as General Leslie R. Groves and members of the 509th Composite Group who flew the missions to Japan. Other interviews are with technicians, secretaries, telephone operators, construction crew, military police, cafeteria workers, doctors, nurses, and a spectrum of other participants. To quote historian Richard Rhodes, the Manhattan Project was a “great work of human collaboration.”

https://www.manhattanprojectvoices.org/

Voices of the Manhattan Project "Voices of the Manhattan Project" is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families. Our online collection features 600...

The Manhattan Project was a great work of human collaboration! Some estimate 600,000 were enrolled at one point during W...
11/11/2020

The Manhattan Project was a great work of human collaboration! Some estimate 600,000 were enrolled at one point during World War II. Now 75 years later, we recognize the thousands who worked in secrecy with patriotism and pride. Their success brought an early end to the most horrific war in human history. Hats off to the Manhattan Project veterans!

Los Alamos will be hosting a virtual event to commemorate the five year anniversary of the creation of the Manhattan Pro...
11/06/2020
Manhattan Project National Historical Park 5th Anniversary Celebration

Los Alamos will be hosting a virtual event to commemorate the five year anniversary of the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The full event page can be accessed here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/RuYhCETlfD3B5/?fbclid=IwAR1NpVBmi8S3edXFR5DtgQKxW_eaFOP2mcUvU33rXs18WHbVOLc_SYxRKuc

Atomic Heritage Foundation founder and president, Cindy Kelly, will provide a retrospective on the making of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. In the 1990s, the Los Alamos National Laboratory slated its abandoned Manhattan Project buildings for demolition as part of a nationwide clean-up effort. With Kelly’s help the site was not demolished and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation took a closer look.

Kelly will recount how the V Site’s successful preservation at Los Alamos was the impetus for similar efforts at Hanford and Oak Ridge.

Like the Manhattan Project itself, the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park depended upon a great deal of collaboration--from Congressional and government leaders, non-profit organizations, Manhattan Project veterans and individuals.

Please join us on November 12, 2020 at 5:00pm to hear Cindy Kelly discuss the process of preserving such an important site at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82179358448.

See the story

Los Alamos will be hosting a series of virtual events to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the creation of the Manhatta...
11/05/2020

Los Alamos will be hosting a series of virtual events to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Culminating with the release of a newly updated virtual Atomic City Spy Tour hosted by the Visit Los Alamos website, events will run from November 10th to the 17th.

Full details and a list of events are available at https://spark.adobe.com/page/RuYhCETlfD3B5/ where you can access the main event page.

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the ending of WWII.
08/13/2020
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the ending of WWII.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Manhattan Project, the Atomic Heritage Foundation has produced a special edition of its anthology, The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses, and Historians. The book is published by Black Dog & Leventhal, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, and is available here: https://www.blackdogandleventhal.com/titles/cynthia-c-kelly/the-manhattan-project/9780762471270/

We love #ManhattanProjectMonday!
08/03/2020
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

We love #ManhattanProjectMonday!

This #ManhattanProjectMonday, we’re highlighting Bob Cook, a nuclear engineer. Cook had a long career with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission & worked as a consultant for the Yakama Nation. His interview describes problems he identified with the Basalt Waste Isolation Project, as well as opinions on the ethics of governmental decision making and risk assessments in relation to the health of Hanford-area residents. #nuclearengineer #nuclearhistory #manhattanproject

Would you like to become a Smithsonian Member?! Now is your chance, and it comes with so many amazing benefits! When you...
05/01/2020

Would you like to become a Smithsonian Member?! Now is your chance, and it comes with so many amazing benefits! When you join the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History at any membership level, you can add-on the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership for only $25 more. These unique and awesome benefits include a one-year subscription to either the Smithsonian Magazine (12 issues) OR the Air & Space Magazine (seven issues), reciprocal admission/discount benefits at other participating Smithsonian Affiliate Organizations, and more! https://www.nuclearmuseum.org/support/membership/

Did you know when you visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History you are greeted by the Periodic Table of El...
04/23/2020

Did you know when you visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History you are greeted by the Periodic Table of Elements in our lobby area known as Periodic Hall? How about some other cool facts? Did you know all the elements above Uranium in the Periodic Table are man-made and radioactive? Did you know Uranium (atomic number 92) is the heaviest naturally occurring element found on Earth? (the atomic mass shown on the Uranium tile, 238, is for the isotope with the longest half-life, U-238)

Do you enjoy digging deeper into the fascinating history of the early atomic age and Cold War? Become an Atomic History ...
04/14/2020

Do you enjoy digging deeper into the fascinating history of the early atomic age and Cold War? Become an Atomic History Patron of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, and you will receive exclusive benefits with your membership that allow you to delve into the museum's archives, explore newly acquired artifacts, and learn from our amazing Curatorial department. (PS, you will also get into over 370 museums and science centers nationwide for free!) Check out the benefits today! https://www.nuclearmuseum.org/support/membership/atomic-history-patron-member/

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Visit "Voices of the Manhattan Project," a digital archive of the oral history collections of the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society. http://www.manhattanprojectvoices.org Donate to support our work here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/AtomicHeritageFoundation Check out our Youtube site, with educational videos on the Manhattan Project and interviews with Manhattan Project veterans: http://www.youtube.com/user/AtomicHeritage Follow us on Twitter @AtomicHeritage! You can subscribe to our monthly e-newsletters, which provide updates of our work and information on the history and legacy of the Manhattan Project, here. http://ow.ly/knqRA

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