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Rogers Historical Museum  

Traveling Loan Exhibits

The Life Atomic! Growing Up in the Shadow of the A-Bomb

We are pleased to announce that in 2009 we will be debuting a brand new traveling exhibition, "The Life Atomic: Growing Up in the Shadow of the A-Bomb." Funded by a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this exciting new exhibit will consist of panels with images and text, plans for construction of a re-creation of a portion of a family fallout shelter, and props and teaching collection objects to be used in the shelter and/or in exhibit cases.
     In the schools, “duck and cover” drills trained students to react to an atomic attack by crawling under their desks and covering their heads with their arms. Courtesy of The Detroit News.


The Life Atomic is intended as a vehicle for intergenerational discussion about the threats faced by Americans in the early atomic age and the threats that face our nation today. But the exhibit will include a more light-hearted aspect of the topic, the impact of the bomb on the popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s.

Museums are encouraged to supplement Life Atomic with local materials. An educational packet is also included with the exhibit which will challenge students to think critically about life during the Cold War. Many of the exercises focus on group activities and will make students more aware of the impact of the Cold War on society, government, and popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s.

     About 1960 Louis Severance built this fallout shelter adjacent to his home near Akron, Michigan. The shelter included a special ventilation and escape hatch, running water, sanitary facilities, a small kitchen, and sleeping and living space for a family of four. It had concrete walls and a 10-inch reinforced concrete ceiling with a thick cover of dirt. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (397-MA-2S-160).

Exhibit Specifications

The exhibit consists of 22 metal-framed exhibit panels of various sizes and requires approximately 75-80 running feet. Panels consist of: text, photographs, and two-dimensional printed objects. Each panel is printed on Masonite and several of the panels containing objects are covered in Plexiglas.

Panel dimensions are as follows:

  • Ten panels are 30” high by 40” wide.
  • Two panels are 27” high by 40” wide.
  • One panel is 40” high by 27” wide.
  • One panel is 18” wide by 24” high.
  • One panel is 15” wide by 18” high.
  • Two panels are 11” wide by 14” high.
  • One panel is 40” wide by 20” high.
  • Four panels are 16” wide by 20” high.

Ignorance of the long-term effects of fallout led to years of above-ground testing. Structures, equipment, and vehicles were tested for survivability, while soldiers were marched across ground-zero soon after a blast. To these two Marines clowning for the camera after a 1952 atomic blast, the cloud formed by the detonation seemed close enough to touch. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps (127-N-A325429).

Moderate security is required.

Shipping requirements: common carrier such as Roadway or R&L; each exhibitor pays shipping to the next booking site.

Weight: three crates, total weight to be determined

Six-week booking periods, some double bookings available upon request.

200 brochures and 25 posters for each six-week booking period.

Rental fee for each six-week booking period: $800.





Contact for Availability

For further information or to arrange a booking, contact:

John Burroughs
Rogers Historical Museum
322 S. Second Street
Rogers, AR 72756-4546

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