August 2011
Manhattan Project National Historical Park
Upgrading AHF's Website
Atomic Theater in Los Alamos
Hanford Locomotives and Cask Cars
Hanford Leaders Receive Award
Quick Links



We are pleased to announce that the Institute for Museum and Library Services recently awarded a $38,500 grant for a joint proposal by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society! Entitled "Voices of the Manhattan Project," this venture is to digitize our collections of Manhattan Project oral histories and make them available on a new website. This website will make these interviews searchable along with their transcripts and related photographs. It will also ensure that the stories of the Manhattan Project veterans are preserved for future generations. 

George Cowan and Jay Weschler
George Cowan and Jay Weschler, two Manhattan Project veterans whose interviews by AHF may become available through this project.

We must first match the IMLS grant with non-Federal funds. A $10,000 grant from the Kerr Foundation has gotten us off to a good start. We are currently seeking another $40,000. If you are interested in seeing these collections of unique oral histories online, please consider making a donation to help make it happen!

Manhattan Project National Historical Park 

Moves to Congress


Alexander Corker Cindy

The Department of Interior's formal recommendation to Congress on July 13, 2011 calls for Congress to designate a three-unit Manhattan Project National Historical Park.  This recommendation, supported by the Department of Energy, was a major milestone towards the preservation of this important history. 


Thanks to the leadership of the Manhattan Project delegation in Congress from New Mexico, Washington, and Tennessee, including Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R-TN), pictured on the left with AHF President Cynthia Kelly last month.


In anticipation of the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016, the National Park Service Second Century Commission studied the future of the parks. The Commission advocated that the the NPS make education a core mission and include parks that reflect the diversity of the American experience. The Manhattan Project has many compelling stories including how innovations in science, engineering and technology can change history, politics and society. By capitalizing on these and other aspects of the Manhattan Project, the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park could become a model for educating the public and students about science and society.


In partnership with the National Parks and Conservation Association and National Trust for Historic Preservation, State and local governments, historical societies and others, we hope the 112th Congress will make legislation for the new park a priority.  


Upgrading AHF's Website: 

New Videos on the Manhattan Project 


Heather at Romero Cabin

Thanks to a generous donation from Clay and Dorothy Perkins, the Atomic Heritage Foundation is improving its website. Our goal is to create a valuable resource for teachers and the public interested in learning about the Manhattan Project and its legacy.   


As one component, we are putting together excerpts from the presentations at the New Mexico Teachers Workshop in June 2011. Many distinguished speakers such as Jon Hunner, professor of public history at New Mexico State University (pictured left), Cas Milner, adjunct professor of physics at Southern Methodist University, and Nancy Bartlit, author of "Silent Voices" about New Mexico's role in World War II, shared their expertise. Watch for postings to our YouTube channel in the weeks ahead.  


Summer interns Carolyn Lipka and David Tidmarsh contributed significantly to the first round of improvements to our site. Carolyn created this short video of clips from the teachers who attended our 2011 New Mexico Teachers' Workshop. David worked on the Manhattan Project Hall of Fame. Keep an eye on our site, because there is much more to come! 

Atomic Theater Coming to Los Alamos 


Atomic Theater

Actors rehearse for Robert Benjamin's play Galileo's Footsteps. Actors (from left): Pete Sandford, Roxanne Tapia, Pat Beck, Warren Houghteling. Photo by Larry Gibbons.

During the weekend of August 26th-28th, two plays with different perspectives on the history of the atomic bomb will be shown at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos. Robert Benjamin's play Galileo's Footsteps is about "coping with the demise of the Cold War - a tale of judgment and science, sprinkled with filial loyalty and romance." 


Joey Chavez's play Manhattan Glass features an aging Los Alamos couple as they remember their Manhattan Project experience with very different perspectives. Joey Chavez talked to New Mexico teachers after a performance of Manhattan Glass as part of AHF's workshop on June 20, 2011. 


Reservations are recommended for both plays. If you would like to attend, visit for more information. 

 Hanford Locomotives and Cask Cars


This locomotive (pictured on the left) was used during the Manhattan Project and is now parked behind the B Reactor. Some 40,000 carloads of freight were hauled by train to build the three Manhattan Project reactors, two chemical separation plants and hundreds of other facilities at the Hanford Engineer Works during World War II. 


In addition to two locomotives, two cask cars are on display behind the B Reactor.  The cask cars were used to transport the fuel rods after they had been irradiated in the reactors.  From the B Reactor, they were hauled some 10 miles to the 200 area where the plutonium was extracted by chemical separation in the 221-T plant.


The old locomotives were not only used to pull train cars. In fact, 23 old steam locomotives were used to provide steam to heat the Hanford construction camp.

Locomotives and cask cars


The locomotives and cask cars, (pictured on the right) were salvaged for display behind the B Reactor thanks to the persistent efforts of Manhattan Project veteran Watson Warriner. Check out our album on Flickr for more pictures of these and other historic relics at Hanford. 

Hanford Leaders Receive ACHP Award  

From Left: Colleen French, Maynard Plahuta, Pam Larsen, Matt McCormick, Carl Adrian, Kris Watkins, ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson

On Thursday, July 11, 2011, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) presented the Chairman's Award to the Department of Energy's Regional Manager Matt McCormick and Government Affairs Manager Colleen French for their efforts to preserve the B Reactor.  In addition, the ACHP recognized the important roles of community leaders Maynard Plahuta, Pam Larsen, Carl Adrian, and Kris Watkins. Congratulations to all involved for this well-deserved honor!  
This as an exciting time for those who care about preserving the Manhattan Project.  But to realize the full potential of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, we need as strong a partnership as there was for the original Manhattan Project. Your contributions help us continue to make the case for preserving the Manhattan Project's historic sites and creating a national historical park. Thank you very much for your support!


Atomic Heritage Foundation