National Atomic Museum transforms with new location and name
The new National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (nuclearmuseum.org/) will open its doors on Saturday, April 4, 2009. This "new" museum has served as a national resource through its collections and programming for 40 years. Formerly the National Atomic Museum, which opened in 1969 and was chartered by Congress in 1991, the new museum will continue to serve as a repository and steward of nuclear-related historical items, and it will remain a Smithsonian affiliate.
The new location at 601 Eubank Blvd. SE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, (itsatrip.org/) includes a newly constructed 30, 000-square-foot building and 12 acres of exterior display space. For the first time in seven years, historic aircraft, nuclear missiles, and other large artifacts will be on display after being moved from Kirtland Air Force Base.
"We are thrilled about the new facility and outdoor space that will once again allow us to share this fascinating history with the world. The new museum presents engaging artifacts and exhibits, from the oldest understanding of the atom to the newest applications in nuclear medicine, " said Jim Walther, museum director for the past 12 years.
The interior space will continue to present nuclear history, power, medicine, weapons, uranium mining, energy and radiation. Little Albert’s Lab is complete with an animatronic Little Albert, to demonstrate the fundamentals of Albert Einstein’s famous formula of E=mc(2).
The museum began in 1969 as the Sandia Base Weapons Museum at its location on Kirtland Air Force Base. After September 11, 2001, the museum was forced to seek an alternative site in Old Town Albuquerque to allow visitors from other countries to visit.
The museum’s artifacts range from a minute sample of ekanite, an uncommon gemstone with a high Thorium content, to a B52-B bomber airplane, an item regulated in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty to this day. The museum’s best-known artifacts are casings used for the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic bombs of World War II.
"This is an exciting time for one of our cornerstone attractions. The new museum will deliver a dynamic and innovative experience for visitors, " said Dale Lockett, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau President/CEO.