Research at the National Archives, Annie Test Mannequins.

I have been doing research at the National Archives facility in College Park, MD for the last three days. I looked at hundreds of archival documents: photographs, moving pictures, slides, and textual records that relate to nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site, the Department of Energy, and the Federal Civil Defense Administration. In particular I am searching for any image of the L.A. Darling Co. Mannequins used in the early tests of the 1950’s and documentation of the activities that were carried out in preparation for measuring and assessing the effects of nuclear weapons. I have yet to find evidence of the nationwide tour that the mannequins are supposed to have taken after withstanding the nuclear blast of March 17, 1953.

I requested over 35 boxes of archival records at the Archives and was able to capture reference shots of the material. I will be returning to the Archives to scan the most important findings. Special thanks to my research assistant, Millie Riley.

Here are few images of mannequins used in the 1953 Annie Test that were new to me:
(Images courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
Before the test, the mannequins are gathered for a photo shoot:

Sometimes I find it hard to tell who is alive and who is a mannequin:

A lean-to shelter installed in a house at the Nevada Test Site:

I will be posting a few installments of examples from my visit: more images of mannequins (1953/1955), early views of Yucca Flat valley, documentation of detonations, and information on the traveling exhibit ‘Pathway to Peace.’