Founded in 2002, AHF has produced over one-hundred oral histories of Manhattan Project veterans, hosted many symposia, events, and educational workshops, designed museum exhibits, and published Manhattan Project related publications. A summary of our previous projects can be found below.
- National Historic Park/Hearings and Legislation: One of the Foundation’s major successes has been presenting a report to Congress on the preservation of Manhattan Project sites. On October 18, 2004, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Study Act of 2003 (PL 108-340) was signed into law by President Bush. The legislation has authorized a National Park Service study to investigate the inclusion of Manhattan Project sites in the National Park system. A draft study was later released that supported the creation of the National Historical Park at Los Alamos, NM. The Foundation has been heavily involved in this process by working with the National Park Serviceand the Department of Energy, has testified in Congress about the Park, and is currently working with local communities to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park at three major Manhattan Project sites: Los Alamos, NM, Oak Ridge, TN, and Hanford, WA.
- Los Alamos Preservation Activities: AHF has worked arduously on preservation efforts for Los Alamos historic properties relating to the Manhattan Project. Through collaborative work, we have located and acquired funds to preserve Los Alamos properties through the help of the Save America’s Treasures grant, various foundations and other sources. Thanks to these efforts, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s house has been acquired by the Los Alamos Historical Society as part of the living trust agreement and preservation work on the “V-Site” and potentially ten other properties has begun. To read more about the story behind the demolition plans and resurgent preservation efforts, please see the feature story of our 2010 Annual Report.
- Enola Gay Hangar: AHF led the efforts to preserve the Enola Gay Hanger (assembly site of of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb) in Wendover, UT. Through our efforts, we were successful at convincing the National Trust for Historic Preservation to designate the Wendover site as one of American’s Most Endangered Historic Places in April 2009 and began preservation efforts in the area.
- Oral Histories: One of AHF’s priorities has been to capture oral histories from remaining Manhattan Project participants. the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s continuing priorities will be to capture the oral histories of the remaining Manhattan Project participants. Currently, we have produced documentaries and video collections available for purchase to the public. These efforts were also recognized on August 6, 2005 by C-SPAN which featured a 90-minute program with recordings of our oral historyarchives, including original and unique interviews with Manhattan Project veterans Thomas O. Jones, Herman Snyder, Harold Hoover, and Donald Ross.
- Documentaries: We have produced documentaries and video collections available for purchase to the public. These efforts were also recognized on August 6, 2005 by C-SPAN which featured a 90-minute program with recordings of our oral history archives, including original and unique interviews with Manhattan Project veterans Thomas O. Jones, Herman Snyder, Harold Hoover, and Donald Ross.
- Race for Atomic Power Exhibit at Idaho Falls, ID: AHF designed a museum exhibit that opened on May 24, 2005 at the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) site, the first nuclear reactor capable of producing usable amounts of electricity. Visitors had an opportunity to experience and access first-hand accounts of the work of the reactor. The overall exhibit also featured accompanying companion exhibits at the Museum of Idaho Falls that traced the history of the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS). AHF is committed to increasing awareness about not only the history of the Manhattan Project, but also about the implications of nuclear power for energy security in the 21st century.
- General Leslie Groves Symposium and Exhibit: In 2007, AHF hosted an exhibited dedicated solely to educating the public about the role that Leslie Groves, Manhattan Project Director, served in operations and management of the Manhattan Project.
- B-Reactor Exhibits: In 2007, AHF put on a museum exhibit at the Hanford, WA B-reactor to illustrate the role of Washington State and Hanford, WA in plutonium production for WWII war efforts. In 2013, AHF developed and installed two models in consultation with the B Reactor Museum Assocation. The first model helps visitors understand the importance of the Columbia River and the dozens of auxiliary buildings that once surrounded the B Reactor. Lights on the model trace the flow of water from the Columbia River, through several pump and treatment buildings, to the reactor and back into river. The second is a display that enables visitors to understand how the “pile” of graphite blocks and process tubes worked. Panels explain how exacting the engineering of the blocks was to ensure the smooth operation of the reactor. A series of video vignettes complements these two exhibits so that visitors can learn more about the role of the Columbia River and the design of the graphite “pile.”
- 2011, 2010, 2009 Teachers’ Professional Development Workshop: Teachers from New Mexico were invited to a 4-day Teachers’ Professional Development Workshop in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, 25 teachers were housed at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM where they attended lectures and workshops given by prominent historians, authors, veterans, and government officials and toured numerous museums and historic sites. The 2010 workshop followed a similar format, but included a behind the scenes tour of Los Alamos sites associated with construction and design of the bomb. The workshops offered a unique opportunity for educators to share teaching strategies for history and science instruction to students of all grade levels.
- “Revisiting Reykjavik” Symposium: On March 14, 2009, AHF hosted a diverse group at the Carnegie Institution for Science, which included a reading by Richard Rhodes from his play “Reykjavik” that dramatizes the historic Cold War summit. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation, National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the symposium was a great success and was broadcast by C-SPAN. To view sample papers from the symposium, click here or here.
- “Doctor Atomic” in Chicago and at the Met: AHF organized an exclusive matinee performance of “Doctor Atomic” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on January 5, 2008. Written by Peter Sellars and composed by John Adams, the opera is a powerful interpretation of the scientific, political, moral, and ethical tensions felt by the engineers and scientists that worked on the bomb. A second performance was organized in November the same year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and AHF led a brief workshop for opera attendees to introduce them to the historical context of the opera production.
- “An Evening with Oppie”: AHF hosted a symposium on J. Robert Oppenheimer on June 8, 2005 at the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC. Attendees had an opportunity to listen in to original recordings of Oppenheimer and ask questions of two prominent Oppenheimer historians Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Fittingly, the room for the symposium was also the site of the Office of Science and Research Development that oversaw the Manhattan Project.
- Oppenheimer Centennial Symposium and Book: In June 2004, AHF hosted an event commemorating the accomplishments and life of J. Robert Oppenheimer in Los Alamos, NM. Through tours of local museums and Oppenheimer’s house and lectures by prominent historians of Oppenheimer, attendees gained a greater understanding of the role that Oppenheimer served as Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project and received a copy of Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, a publication designed exclusively for the symposium by AHF staff.
- Publications, Articles, and Media: AHF has produced a plethora of articles, publications and media relating to Manhattan Project history, the scientific developments of WWII, and current nuclear energy and policy debates. For a listing of our books and media, please visit our store.