Happy New Year from the Atomic Heritage Foundation, and best wishes for 2017! We hope you spent the holidays doing what you love. Perhaps you played some ice hockey, as the hardy Los Alamos Ranch School students enjoyed doing in their shorts on Ashley Pond in 1924.

This year we have an ambitious agenda of interpretive and educational resources for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Our goals include developing new "Ranger in Your Pocket" programs on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Chicago and Berkeley; interviewing dozens of Manhattan Project veterans; and publishing oral histories with Hispanos and Pueblos who worked on the project. 

Special thanks to the dozens of donors who came through for AHF at the end of the year. With your support, we can make great progress in preserving and interpreting this history.

Los Alamos History Museum Reopens
The ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy of the Museum.
After being closed more than a year for renovation, the Los Alamos History Museum celebrated its grand reopening on December 30, 2016. The reopening event at Fuller Lodge included remarks by guest speaker Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of President Harry Truman. The ceremony was covered by the Albuquerque Journalthe Los Alamos Monitor, and the Los Alamos Daily Post .
Daniel shared memories of his grandfather and praised the Museum for its approach to Los Alamos's often-contested history. "You tell the story with pride, but also with empathy for the other side," Daniel said. "That's invaluable."
The exhibits trace Los Alamos's history from the Ancestral Puebloans to the Manhattan Project to today. In the words of Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan, the Museum tells the "people stories" of Los Alamos. Several remarkable artifacts are now on display, including a pitcher designed by renowned Native American potter Maria Martinez. Other highlights include the original gate from Dorothy McKibbin's office at 109 East Palace Avenue in Santa Fe and a wedding dress that Eleanor Bartlett created from a parachute sent to her by her fiancé, Albert, during his preparations for the Trinity Test.
The Museum incorporates numerous oral histories from Manhattan Project participants from AHF's "Voices of the Manhattan Project" collection. Many are first-hand accounts of life in the "Secret City." In a Reflections Gallery, Manhattan Project veterans recall the Trinity Test and discuss their reactions to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Visitors are asked to share their opinions on the responsibility of scientists for how their discoveries are used.

The reopening celebration in Fuller Lodge. Photo courtesy of Los Alamos County.

A new activity that takes place throughout the Museum is "Bences' Challenge," a scavenger hunt based on the life of Bences Gonzales. The Gonzales family were homesteaders on the Pajarito Plateau long before the Manhattan Project. Bences Gonzales worked for the Los Alamos Ranch School and the Manhattan Project and became an important civic leader following World War II. "Bences' Challenge" recognizes the important roles of Hispanos in Los Alamos's history and should engage visitors of all ages.
The new Harold Agnew Cold War Gallery in the historic Hans Bethe House, donated by philanthropists Clay and Dorothy Perkins, interprets Los Alamos's history during the Cold War. The Gallery explores the evolution of the Los Alamos community after World War II and the growth of Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

Clay and Dorothy Perkins by the 109 East Palace gate in the Museum. Photo courtesy of Los Alamos County.
Highlights include a "Nobel Nook" recognizing the 23 Nobel Prize winners connected with the Manhattan Project or Los Alamos National Laboratory and an electronic display by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto depicting the more than 2,000 nuclear explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998. A sign notes that Elsie McMillan and Lois Bradbury, the wives of two leading Manhattan Project scientists, saw the flash of light from the Trinity Test through the house's windows on July 16, 1945. You can listen to Elsie McMillan recount that dramatic moment here .
The Atomic Heritage Foundation congratulates the Los Alamos Historical Museum. The new exhibits will be invaluable to visitors to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. You can watch video from the reopening ceremony  here and photos of the celebration here .
AMSE to Move to New Location
(L to R) Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Mayor Warren Gooch, DOE official Kenneth Tarcza, and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the transfer ceremony. Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today.
On December 30, 2016, Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz and Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch signed a land transfer agreement for the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE). AMSE is owned by DOE and operated by UT-Battelle. 

Oak Ridge Today reported on the agreement transferring AMSE's property: "The roughly 17.42 acres will be transferred from the U.S. Department of Energy to the City of Oak Ridge. It could then be transferred in two phases to a company set up by the developer of Main Street Oak Ridge.

"Under the agreement, the AMSE missions will be relocated within about one year to 18,000 square feet of space in a two-story building that once housed a Sears store next to JCPenney at Main Street Oak Ridge. That space, once finished, will be provided by TN Oak Ridge Illinois LLC, a Main Street Oak Ridge company, to the city at no cost for 15 years.

AMSE Deputy Director Ken Mayes by the exhibit on Manhattan Project photographer Ed Westcott
"The city will, in turn, sublease the former Sears space to DOE at no charge for 15 years, and it can be used for the public outreach and education missions now conducted at AMSE. It will also serve as a temporary visitor center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park that is now housed at AMSE."

Secretary Moniz praised the agreement: "From the Manhattan Project of World War II to the cutting-edge materials research of today, Oak Ridge has long played a vital role in American science and security. This agreement will ensure that Oak Ridge's history is preserved and shared while providing the city a new opportunity to create jobs and strengthen the local economy."

But some Oak Ridgers are concerned that the move will negatively impact the museum and Oak Ridge's heritage tourism industry. AMSE currently attracts 65,000 visitors per year, and that number is expected to grow as the Manhattan Project National Historical Park welcomes more tourists. 

"I would hate to see this museum downsized," Lloyd Stokes, a historic preservation advocate, was quoted in Oak Ridge Today. "What we are doing here is trying to tell a story that needs to be told. We can't do it in 18,000 square feet." Historic tourism can generate a lot of revenues, he said. "You sell the property," Stokes said, "You sell the golden egg." 

Entrance sign at AMSE
AMSE was first opened in 1949 as the American Museum of Atomic Energy. It moved to its current building in 1975 and was renamed the American Museum of Science and Energy or AMSE in 1978. The current 55,000 square foot museum building sits at the top of a long gracefully rolling hill with oak trees. However, AMSE needed significant funds to renovate the building and put its operations on a sound footing. 

PearlHarborPresident Obama & Prime Minister Abe Visit Pearl Harbor
PM Abe and President Obama greet Pearl Harbor survivors during their visit.  Photo courtesy Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.
On December 27, 2016, President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Pearl Harbor together

Japanese leaders had previously visited Pearl Harbor, the site of the Japanese surprise attack that brought the United States into World War II and killed 2,403 Americans. But it was the first time a Japanese leader visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which is situated above the sunken USS Arizona. Of the 1,512 crewmen on board the USS Arizona, 1,177 were killed during the attack and many are still entombed in the ship.

The spot where the USS Arizona was anchored during the attack.
After visiting the memorial, Abe stated, "As the prime minister of Japan, I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place." He said that the visit to the memorial "brought utte r silence to me," and that Japan "must never repeat the horrors of war again."

President Obama spoke of the US-Japan relationship: "The United States and Japan chose friendship and they chose peace. Over the decades, our alliances have made the nations more successful." Obama visited Hiroshima in May 2016, becoming the first sitting president to do so. Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor is considered a reciprocal gesture. 
RoundupHistory Article Roundup
Several fascinating articles were published in December on Manhattan Project, World War II, and science history.
  • My Life with the Physics Dream Team: Wonderful interview with renowned mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson. He recalls interacting with Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, and J. Robert Oppenheimer after the war. He remembered Oppenheimer as a "a very temperamental, unpredictable kind of character. He would suddenly blow hot or cold and you never knew which one you had to deal with. He could be extremely generous and friendly or he could be very harsh."
Voices"Voices of the Manhattan Project"
Here are some oral history interviews we have recently added to the  Voices of the Manhattan Project website

Carl D. Anderson was a physicist who won a Nobel Prize for the discovery of the positron. He studied and taught at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he took a class with a young professor named J. Robert Oppenheimer. In this interview, he discusses his impressions of Oppenheimer, including Oppenheimer's early struggles as a teacher. Anderson describes the research that was going on at Caltech during the 1930s, including the groundwork that went into his Nobel-winning discovery. He also details why he turned down a role on the Manhattan Project, and the work he did on rockets during World War II instead.

Hal Behl and his wife, Reggie, an art teacher, arrived in Oak Ridge in 1945. A member of the Special Engineer Detachment, Behl served as Assistant Supervisor in an Engineering Department laboratory at the K-25 plant. He focused mainly on designing and building laboratory, process, health physics, and quality assurance equipment. In this interview, Behl describes everyday life at Oak Ridge and his experiences renting various rooms around the "Secret City." He also discusses how his Manhattan Project work helped lead to his postwar career in aerospace and weapon system technology.

Harold Cherniss was an American classicist. He initially met J. Robert Oppenheimer at Berkeley in 1929, and they reconnected after the war in Berkeley and later at the Institute for Advanced Study. In this interview, Cherniss reflects on his friendship with Oppenheimer and his experience with others who knew him. Among other subjects, he discusses Oppenheimer's personality, intellectualism, friendships, and political leanings. He recalls Oppenheimer's interest in literature, especially French poetry. Cherniss explains how and why Oppenheimer became interested in studying Sanskrit - because Oppie loved a challenge.

Roger Fulling served as a division superintendent in DuPont's War Construction Program. In this interview, he discusses the priority that the Manhattan Project received in the industrial sector, especially with materials like aluminum. He talks about coordinating production with the armed forces, including General Douglas MacArthur. He explains how General Leslie R. Groves would intervene if a company was having difficulty acquiring materials or producing products to certain specifications. 

Edwin McMillan and his wife Elsie were among the first people to arrive at Los Alamos. Edwin, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was involved in the initial selection of Los Alamos. In this lecture, Edwin describes visiting Jemez Springs and Los Alamos when he, Oppenheimer, and General Groves were deciding on the site for the weapons laboratory. McMillan also discusses his involvement in implosion research, the gun program, and recruiting scientists including Richard Feynman to the project at Princeton University. He also remembers requisitioning Harvard's cyclotron for the Manhattan Project.

Elsie McMillan was the wife of Nobel Prize winner Edwin McMillan and sister-in-law of another Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Lawrence. She came to Los Alamos in 1943 with Edwin and their baby Ann. In this speech, she takes the audience on an imaginary tour of Los Alamos, complete with detailed descriptions of various buildings and their home, today known as the Hans Bethe House. Her speech characterizes what civilian life was like at Los Alamos for the wives of many scientists, including the challenges of shopping with ration cards and dealing with the tight security. She fondly recalls Pascualita, a Pueblo woman who helped her around her home and invited the McMillans to her home in the Pueblo. Elsie dramatically recalls the tension of the Trinity Test, waiting to find out whether the test was a success and that all the scientists were uninjured.

Dr. Baldwin Sawyer was a metallurgist who worked at the Chicago Met Lab during the Manhattan Project. He got involved with the Manhattan Project through his father Charles Baldwin Sawyer, who conducted important research into beryllium. In this interview, Sawyer recounts his experiences during the war. He describes the challenges of developing the uranium canning process for the reactors at Hanford, the project's sense of urgency, and the boardinghouse he lived in on the South Side of Chicago. He also explains his postwar work with quartz and the pioneering research he conducted into silicon at Bell Laboratories.

Vincent ("Bud") and Clare Whitehead worked at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. Bud was a counterintelligence officer and Clare was a secretary and a member of the Women's Army Corps. In part two of their interview with S. L. Sanger, the Whiteheads discuss crime at Hanford and the project's intense secrecy. Clare recalls when she was stricken with polio and how the DuPont doctors were far superior to the Army doctor. Bud recalls chasing and bringing down a Japanese balloon bomb.

Thanks to all the Manhattan Project veterans, their families and many others who have supported our efforts over the past 15 years.  The "Voices of the Manhattan Project" website now contains more than 420 oral history interviews. We are continuing to interview Manhattan Project veterans, family members, and experts around the country.

Your  donation will make a difference! Please consider taking a minute to support our efforts. Thanks very much!

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