The subject of my archival research, appreciating Las Vegas.

There are three main threads to my archival research. I am searching for:
(1) any images or textual accounts of the L.A. Darling Co. Mannequins, information on their public display at the downtown J.C. Penney store in Las Vegas and the tour they allegedly made of other cities, confirmation that they were displayed both before and after the March 17, 1953 ‘Annie’ Test, and any leads to their current whereabouts;

(2) newspaper accounts of nuclear testing at Yucca Flat of the Nevada Test Site, any form of visual or textual documentation that provides a supplementary view to that of the Department of Energy, as well as images and films of atmospheric and underground testing activity, subsidence craters, cables, towers, vehicles, structures, and other ruins of testing experiments; and

(3) an analysis of the effects of nuclear testing on people, environment, politics and culture, documentation and records on (for example) the Baneberry venting case, protests at the NTS, and designed exhibits and publications.

Over the course of this project, I have searched the microfilm, manuscript, photo, film, map, book, and military collections of the Library of Congress, the Mercury Core Library and Data Center, the USGS Central Region Library, and the National Archives. This past December in Las Vegas, I spent several days in the archives and libraries of the Cahlan Research Library of the Nevada State Museum, the University of Nevada Las Vegas Special Collections, and the Nuclear Testing Archive. As a result of these hours spent, combing through personal collections, publications, ephemera, newspaper clippings, microfilm, photos, and film reels, I have hundreds of images and notes to add to my findings. This material will give further dimension to the project. In the next several weeks I will be working to interpret these discoveries and incorporate them into the archive and into my exhibition proposal.

I want to thank the people I met in Las Vegas who helped me with my research:
Crystal R. Van Dee, Curator of Manuscripts at the Cahlan Research Library
Karen Green, Curator at the National Atomic Testing Museum
Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator, Historian at the Las Vegas News Bureau Archive
Dan Garrison, Producer at Joshua Tree Productions Inc.
Jennifer Cornthwaite, Director of the Emergency Arts Center
Su Kim Chung, Manuscripts Librarian at UNLV Special Collections
Kelli Luchs, Photograph Archivist at UNLV Special Collections
Delores Brownlee, Library Technician at UNLV Special Collections
Thomas Sommer, University and Technical Services Archivist at UNLV Special Collections and
Dennis McBride, Director of the Nevada State Museum.

Thanks to James Eure for his assistance.

A page out of a scrapbook of clippings regarding Civil Defense, Patricia Lee Collection, Cahlan Research Library.
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Artifacts of Atomic Testing.

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On Tuesday, December 11, I met with Jennifer Cornthwaite, Director of Emergency Arts, at Fremont and sixth to discuss exhibiting in LV, and to get insight into the arts center. I met with Karen Green afterwards at the National Atomic Testing Museum. She is Curator and Collections Director at the Museum. The National Atomic Testing Museum has a collection of artifacts from the atomic testing period, mostly from the Nevada Test Site, but growing in scope to include objects and artifacts from all of the U.S.’s testing locations. I was able to visit the exhibition quickly, and then we went upstairs to the collections room. Karen had received an anonymous donation of two 1950s era mannequins that were used in testing at the NTS, a woman and a boy. The words ‘Property of the Atomic Energy Commission Yucca Flat Range Ground Zero’ are stenciled in black on their backs. Their hair wigs are lost, but their eyes are intact. They have hand-painted glass eyes.

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I have been spending time in the University of Nevada Las Vegas Special Collections library. I looked through several photographs of testing activities (from the Department of Energy) and manuscript collections from journalists and historians. I also consulted the thesis dissertation of Angela Christine Moor entitled, ‘Selling Civil Defense: The Politics and Commerce of Preparedness, 1950-1963.’ I met her at the Cahlan Research Library in 2008 as she was finishing her MA in History at UNLV.

We will be at the UNLV library one more time before we leave, on Tuesday, December 18.

Las Vegas Review Journal (UNLV Special Collections: Dorothy Dorothy 95-20)
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NTS News, Vol. IX, No. 3. February, 4, 1966 (UNLV Special Collections: Edward Halligan T84)
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Images courtesy of the UNLV Special Collections (Department of Energy 0282 Collection):
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Images courtesy of the UNLV Special Collections (Department of Energy 0282 Collection):
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