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Exhibit: Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by Jim Sanborn

Overview

Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by American Sculptor Jim Sanborn,” is now on permanent display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. This special exhibit, created by world-renowned sculptor Jim Sanborn – best known for creating the encrypted “Kryptos” sculpture at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia – invites visitors to explore and study the artist's rendition of the super secret experiments from the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb program. 

Critical Assembly is a tableau based on the laboratory environment for the assembly of the first atomic bomb and is gleaned from many scholarly and eyewitness accounts of the appearance of the Manhattan Project Laboratories as they existed from 1943 to 1945.

This Critical Assembly installation includes original electronic instruments, hardware, furniture, tools and materials used by Los Alamos National Laboratory during the 1940s. These objects were acquired by Sanborn during a six-year period from a variety of sources, including former laboratory employees. Any materials Sanborn was unable to collect in Los Alamos, he machined and fabricated himself.

This special exhibition at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History was made possible through sponsorships by Lockheed Martin/Sandia National Laboratories and Dorothy and Clay Kemper Perkins.