This is a postcard from the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, back when it was based on Kirtland Air Force Base. I went there once when I was younger going with my dad. It was one of the few places where civilians could go on the base.
It was established in 1969, and as its website states, it is “the only public museum that preserved the history of the nuclear industry. After 9/11 with a bigger security environment civilians had less access to military enclaves like Kirtland. So the museum, operated by Sandia National Labs and partially funded by a foundation, made plans to move off of Kirtland. It acquired an old REI building near the city’s Old Town, and the site of other museums in the city. It opened at its new location in May 2002.
This was the time right after 9/11 when the U.S. was building up for the invasion of Iraq. When it opened it put up a large missile replica in the front of the museum. The anti-war movement made the museum a target for its displaying of militarism. One group, Stop the War Machine, held several anti-war protests that went by the Museum. Local activist figures Bob Anderson, Jeanne Pauls, and Greg Mello, gave speeches in front of the missile at the museum.
In 2009 the Museum moved yet again, and also changed its name. They acquired land up in the Southeast part of the city four years prior, and opened in April 2009. They also changed their name, to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. The military after all is skilled at use of language.
The TV show Breaking Bad, filmed in Albuquerque, features the old Museum in Old Town in many of its shows, often used as a place for drug drops to go down.
Next time I’m in Albuquerque I will be sure to visit the new “Atomic Museum” site and do a review.