About The National Atomic Testing Museum
The Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of the atomic age and of the more local National Testing Site (NTS). The museum explores all aspects of the atomic era including its origins, the historical context such as the Cold War and its local and global effects.
The National Atomic Testing Museum history
The Nevada Test Site (NTS), 65 miles north of Las Vegas, was one of the most significant nuclear weapons test sites in the United States. Nuclear testing, both atmospheric and underground, occurred here between 1951 and 1992. After World War Two, the U.S. government established the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to monitor the peacetime development of atomic science and technology. The 1950s became a period of rapid expansion for U.S atomic weapons. Fear of the Soviet Union increasing their atomic weapons, and the belief that building up nuclear arms could help establish U.S. power, contributed to this rapid expansion.
In 1950 the AEC considered many sites for U.S. nuclear weapons development and effects testing, ultimately selecting the Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range.
The National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) is a national science, history and educational institution that tells the story of America’s nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site. The Museum uses lessons of the past and present to better understand the extent and effect of nuclear testing on worldwide nuclear deterrence and geo-political history. It provides collection-based exhibits and learning activities.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is one of a handful of private national museums and showcases some of the rarest of artefacts relating to the nation’s atomic testing program. The permanent exhibit hall includes artefacts on loan from personal collections, the Smithsonian Institution, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, pieces of the Berlin wall and World Trade Centres.
The museum is designed to be a highly interactive experience and the exhibits include touch screens, motion-sensitive plasma TV presentations, audio interviews with former workers from the test site and more.
The National Atomic Testing Museum today
The National Atomic Testing Museum is home to both the Silo Museum, which plays a short film about the Nevada Test Site, and the multi-sensory Ground Zero Theater, which explains the history of atomic testing. Video footage of the actual atomic tests can also be found in other parts of the museum.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is filled with fascinating exhibits, from a display of authentic Geiger counters, radio badges and other testing devices to a range of ancient artefacts discovered in and around Nevada’s test area. Enormous drill bits and other equipment can be found in the Underground Testing Gallery, which offers a look at underground atomic testing.
One of the most interesting exhibits features an assortment of atomic-related memorabilia and explores the impact that the atomic age had on pop culture.
Getting to the National Atomic Testing Museum
The National Atomic Testing Museum is a bit under a mile and a half to the east of the middle section of The Strip (with Caesars Palace and the Bellagio), at 755 E. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
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