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Media Release

Published: 03/24/2009
CONTACT(s):
Contacts: Jeanette Miller, National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, 505-245-2137 ext. 102, jkmiller@sandia.gov OR Megan Mayo, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, 505-222-4349, mayo@itsatrip.org

National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque Transforms

Museum to re-open with new name, new home
The new National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will open its doors on 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 remain a Smithsonian affiliate.

The new location at 601 Eubank Blvd. SE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, includes a newly constructed 30,000-square-foot building and 12 acres of exterior space. For the first time in more than seven years, the public will be able to view the historic aircraft, nuclear missiles, and other large artifacts belonging to the Museum, as those items have been moved from their location on Kirtland Air Force Base to the new site.

A series of grand opening events in early April will celebrate the Museum. There will be a black-tie optional reception on April 2, a ribbon-cutting and building dedication on the morning of April 3, a member preview on the afternoon of April 3, and festivities for the public on April 4 and 5, 2009.

“We couldn’t let such a great moment in our Museum’s history pass without some fanfare and fun,” said Jim Walther, Director of the Museum for the past 12 years. “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 interior space will continue to present nuclear history, power, medicine, weapons, uranium mining, energy and radiation in its major exhibits. Also included is Little Albert’s Lab, complete with an animatronic Little Albert, where children of all ages can learn the fundamentals of Albert Einstein’s famous formula of E=mc².

The Museum started out 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 that would allow visitors from other countries to continue to visit. Space was then rented in Albuquerque’s Old Town, a tourist destination.

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.

The Museum has a thriving education effort, designed for life-long learning. The Museum's educational programs include docent-led school tours, summer camps, visits to schools by the “Up n Atom Mobile” and lectures for the public.

The Museum is open 361 days a year. The Museum’s website is www.nuclearmuseum.org. The phone number will remain the same: 505-245-2137.

An exterior image of the new facility is available upon request. 

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