Thursday, June 16, 2016

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

Addendum 6.7.16: I lost my business card case today at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. It is a black leather fold-over case with about 15-20 cards in it which match this web site. I will gladly reimburse the finder for postage if they can mail it to the address on the cards. If you have PayPal, I can send the postage as soon as I receive the case and cards. If you do not have PayPal, I will send a money order. Please email me at the address on the cards if you have found the case. I don't normally answer unrecognized numbers on the phone. Thank you in advance.

We are winding down our month here in the Albuquerque area. As I write this, it is Saturday morning. Ed and I have had a nice farewell breakfast at Denny's, and now he is on his way farther west. My wife should be in Ketchikan today, the last port before her final port at Vancouver. I have a lot of tasks ahead of me here at "home" before I pick her up on Tuesday.

But I want to get some posts written about the places Ed and I got to visit this week, and schedule them for publication a few days apart, so they will show up while we are on the move. As of Tuesday, Sharon and I will be on our way to Texas to get our vehicle tags and driver's licenses updated. As soon as we get that business done, we'll be on our way west again, with no particular plans on our agenda, other than "maybes". Maybe we will go to Colorado, or maybe we will head back toward Payson to be with some friends and help them out. If we can't help them, maybe we can at least keep them company for awhile through some difficult times they are having. We still plan to go to Colorado after that, though... and maybe even farther north for awhile.


On Tuesday, Ed Helvey and I decided to visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. Ed being an Air Force veteran had an interest in seeing it. Sharon and I had visited the museum in 1994 when it was called the National Atomic Museum and still on Kirtland Air Force Base. At that time, we were even allowed to drive our 40-foot Bounder onto the base. Our toad was at the Ford dealer that day, getting a new fuel pump installed. But on 9/11/01 all that "permissiveness" changed and the museum shut down immediately that morning under heightened security measures on the base, never to open again at that location. For a while afterward, it moved to the museum section of Old Town Albuquerque, until property was purchased near the air base, but yet outside of it, and then it was renamed to its current name and opened here in 2009.

Terrier Missles guard the front plaza.

A Redstone rocket stands sentry at the entrance drive, while many other airplanes and rockets can be seen through the fence.

A Redstone rocket stands sentry at the entry drive.

An F-105, an A-7 and a F-16 guard the front fence.

Ed looks over the display of the Fat Man atomic bomb (replica) and B-52 airplane.

An atomic cannon, capable of launching a 280mm projectile.
The plaque for the atomic cannon.


The new building was well designed to house the displays of this unique museum, but there is still plenty of vacant ground outside for the displays to expand. This museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and the only Congressionally-chartered museum about nuclear science and history. As such it covers everything from the discovery and consequent mining of radioactive ore, through the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, to the current use in other phases of nuclear physics and energy production.

Although we only spent about three hours there, we didn't read every display board in the museum. We sat through a couple of videos, and read what was of particular interest to us, but skipped over many things. A person who was actually studying the history of  the nuclear age, could easily spend all day here, if not more. There were also a few other items on display, too, such as these pieces of the Berlin Wall and the barbed wire that topped it.

Chunks of the Berlin wall with pieces of barbed wired topping it.

Another display showed how atomic energy has affected the making of everything from comic books and TV shows to the "Back to the Future" movie, complete with an original Delorean automobile.

A stainless steel bodied Delorean auto with the "Back to the Future" display.

They also had  room dedicated to Old Route 66, showing some before and after photos of iconic locations along the route, complete with replicas of the old Burma Shave signs.

An early Mustang with a "66ROUTE" license plate.

After we left the museum and stopped for a late lunch, I realized that my business card case was gone from my back pocket. I had slipped the brochures from the museum in that same pocket early in our visit, and being slick, they probably allowed the case to slip out... possibly when we sat down to watch one of the videos. This is why I have been adding the addendum to the top of the posts. I realize the card cases themselves can be purchased inexpensively from any office supply store, and I print my own cards, so therefore the value is next to nothing. Still, if anyone finds it, they can mail it to me at the address shown on the cards, and I will gladly reimburse them for postage. And if I never see the case again... well... I guess I will be more careful the next time!

My next two posts will be about our brief visit to Old Town Santa Fe, and then our drive to the very top of Sandia Peak.

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This has been a rough month at this particular location, but the reasons for it will be explained in future posts. Just know that it has nothing to do with us, or with Ed. As Yogi Berra used to say... "It ain't over till it's over"... on Tuesday. Enough said for now.

Stay well and travel safe.


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