The Traveler's Guide To Nuclear Weapons


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Great Atomic Museums

Museums that display nuclear weapons casings, delivery systems, and/or historical artifacts related to nuclear science are scattered throughout the United States. Click the buttons below to view photographs of a sampling of these museums. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were taken by the authors during their atomic tours around the nation. These photographs may not be reprinted or reproduced without the prior express written permission of Historical Odysseys Publishers, LLC. We will add new museums and photographs periodically.

Army Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

The front entrance to the Army Ordnance Museum.

The 280mm Atomic Annie Cannon. It carried either a Mark-9 or Mark-19 warhead, with a 15-kiloton yield. Only this one and the two others at the National Atomic Museum and Fort Sill still exist. An Atomic Annie Cannon did fire a live nuclear warhead in 1953 (Shot Grable) within Frenchmans Flat at the Nevada Test Site.

Looking up the business end of the 280mm Atomic Annie Cannon.

A preserved V-2 German rocket from World War II.

A Pershing I medium range ballistic missile. It carried a 400-kiloton W-50 thermonuclear warhead.

Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico

The Bradbury Science Museum.

The Bradbury Science Museum entrance.

Memorabilia and other historical artifacts from the Los Alamos Laboratory on the wall in the Manhattan Project section.

High speed camera used to film the first atomic tests. Located in the Manhattan Project section.

The chair that J. Robert Oppenheimer used while acting as the Director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II. Located in the Manhattan Project section.

A World War II artifact from Los Alamos' V-Site. A plaque below it reads "Soldiers and scientists used commercial candy cookers at the Laboratory's V site to melt explosives. Mixtures of dry, grainy explosives, similar to sugar, were melted in the double-wall cookers and then poured into molds, where they were stirred, and cooled to obtain the proper shapes for producing an implosion. Exposure to the elements and to the Cerro Grande fire nearly destroyed this candy cooker."

A megaton range B-83 atomic bomb (on the right) and a 200 kiloton yield W-80 warhead (on the left), which is carried by cruise missiles.

On the left is a sample of native rock at the Nevada Test Site. In the center is a core collected from the glassified rock created in an underground atomic detonation. On the right is another glassified rock sample collected from the mud removed from the drillback hole.

An exhibit of the instrumentation used for subcritical atomic tests at the Nevada Test Site.

Little Boy (the nearer one) and Fat Man atomic bomb casings.

Display of atomic bomb detonators.

A multiple independently-retargetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) from an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

A model of a nuclear weapon test rack.

B-61 atomic bomb casing (on the right) and a W-80 thermonuclear warhead (on the left).

Close-up of the W-80 thermonuclear warhead casing. Engineers presumably used the small hole at the bottom to load a tritium canister. Tritium is used to boost the yield of the "primary" during the first microseconds of detonation.

Cobra - Russian Foxtrot-Class Submarine, Pier 48, Seattle, Washington
(Now located in San Diego, California)

Close-up of the Cobra from the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry. The Russians also called it Project 641 Diesel Electric Submarine (Podvodnaya Lodka).

The Cobra with Seattle's two new stadiums in the background.

View down the gangway to the Cobra. The entrance into the submarine is at the lower right.

Close-up of the Cobra's conning tower.

View toward the Cobra's bow and its bulbuous passive sonar. Seattle's historic Smith Tower is in the background to the left.

Close-up of the Cobra's bow diving planes and passive nose sonars.

View aft in the forward torpedo room.

Tour guide Karl, a former U.S. submariner, describes in the forward torpedo room how many nuclear-tipped torpedos the Russians inserted into the tubes.

The Cobra's claustrophobic dining hall.

One of only three toilets for a complement of 78 men (adjacent to Control Room).

High pressure air and trim manifolds and valves in the Cobra's Control Room.

Control station for the bow and stern planes in the Control Room, adjacent to the helm.

Cooks prepared four meals per day here in the galley.

View aft of the main diesel engine controllers.

Karl describes the equipment in the engine room as tourists sit on top of Cobra's three 2,000 horsepower Kolomna diesel engines.

These motor controllers routed electric power from either the diesel engines or batteries to electric motors that turned Cobra's three propeller shafts.

The aft torpedo room.

The aft torpedo tubes.

The lower left torpedo tube held the nuclear tipped torpedo.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I), near Arco, Idaho

Entrance to the EBR-I facility at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

The old EBR-I control room.

The top of the reactor and a reactor fuel display.

The electrical generators where nuclear energy first produced electricity.

The EBR-I reactor sits within this concrete shielding structure.

A hot cell for handling highly radioactive materials.

Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, California

View west of the Lawrence Hall of Science. Ernest Lawrence's 37-inch cyclotron stands out front.

View southwest of the Lawrence Hall of Science and its grand plaza.

Close-up of Ernest O. Lawrence's 37-inch cyclotron.

The entrance to the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Hall.

Some of the exhibits inside the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Hall.

Close-up of one of Lawrence's early cyclotrons.

Close-up of two of the first cyclotrons that Lawrence assembled in 1929.

Los Alamos County Historical Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico

The museum occupies the former Los Alamos Ranch School guest cottage, where General Groves stayed when he visited The Hill.

National Atomic Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The National Atomic Museum at its "new" location in old Albuquerque.

Closer view of the front of the National Atomic Museum.

A Fat Man atomic bomb casing. In the back is a Mark-28 thermonuclear weapon exhibit. (Courtesy of the National Atomic Museum.)

An exhibit of the Mark-28 thermonuclear weapons that were lost over the Mediterranean Ocean in 1966 near Palomares, Spain. A parachute is hung from a submarine grapling hook over the rear.

A B-61 nuclear weapon casing that contained a 100 to 500 kiloton warhead.

A B-83 nuclear weapon casing that contained a megaton range warhead. Behind it is a British WE-177 nuclear weapon casing.

Casings for the W-70 (left) and W-80 thermonuclear warheads.

The multiple sections of a submarine-launched Trident ballistic missile.

The Trident missile third stage main bus that carries the nuclear-tipped multiple independently-retargetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs).

An exhibit of nuclear weapon electronic components.

The Cold War of the 1950s and 1960s exhibit area. On the left is a Mark-8 atomic casing in a rack, a Naval gun atomic shell, re-entry casings for warheads, and a Mark-5 atomic bomb casing. On the right are a Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) (small canister on the floor), a Mark-7 atomic bomb casing, a Medium Atomic Demolition Munition (against the wall), and a Genie rocket.

A 1,900 pound Mark-23 16-inch atomic Naval shell. It yielded 15 to 20 kilotons.

A Mark-5 re-entry vehicle for a Minuteman I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) (left), and a Mark-5 atomic bomb casing (which yielded 40 to 50 kilotons).

A Manhattan Project-era Calutron for electromagnetically separating Uranium-235 from Uranium-238. A technology originally developed at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, this device was used in the Y-12 area at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, TN.

A close-up of the Calutron receivers.

A close-up of the Calutron ion source.

A nuclear medicine exhibit. (Courtesy of the National Atomic Museum.)

The lobby with the gift shop in the back and a Titan missile model hanging from the ceiling. (Courtesy of the National Atomic Museum.)

The former location (prior to 9/11) of the National Atomic Museum at Kirtland AFB.

An exhibit in the old museum of the Mark-28 thermonuclear weapons that were lost over the Mediterranean Ocean in 1966 near Palomares, Spain. A parachute is slung over the rear of the nearest one.

A B-29 bomber in front of the old museum.

Navy Museum, Washington, D.C.

Inside the museum at the Washington Naval Shipyard.

Fat Man atomic bomb casing.

Little Boy atomic bomb casing.

A guided missile display near the waterfront.

The waterfront at the Washington Naval Shipyard.

New Mexico Mining Museum, Grants, New Mexico

Rear entrance and other mining equipment.

A realistic mine exhibit in the basement.

A display describing the production of yellowcake (U3O8).

Nike Missile Site SF-88, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco, California

A Nike missile poised for launch.

A Nike missile on an elevator in the missile storage bunker ready to be lifted into position. Atomic tourists can also ride this elevator.

A Nike missile opened up in the maintenance building displaying its guidance system.

The interior of the warhead shop. The large canister protected the missile's 40-kiloton warhead during shipment to and from the launch site.

The launch control trailers and radar beacons for guiding the Nike missiles.

Inside the Nike missile launch control trailers.

Some of the antiquated Nike missile launch control equipment in the maintenance building.

A close-up of the guidance system electronics in the Nike missile nosecone.

The portion of the Nike missile casing behind the nosecone where the nuclear warhead was carried.

USS Turner Joy (DDD-951), Bremerton Boardwalk, Washington

Overview of the USS Turner Joy, a Forrest Sherman class Destroyer, which was launched in May 1958 from the Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company in Seattle.

View forward of one of three 5-inch, 54-caliber guns, mounted on the stern.

Inside the stern-mounted 5-inch gun turret.

The starboard Mark 32 torpedo launcher, which carried three Mark 46 torpedos.

The port side torpedo launcher. A Mark 46 torpedo can be seen to the left on the deck. Each torpedo warhead consists of 96.8 pounds of high explosive. The captain's "yacht" is in the background.

View aft of the forward 5-inch gun.

An atomic tourist inspects maps on the bridge.

The outside portion of the bridge.

Some of the navigational equipment on the bridge.

Safety precautions in case of an atomic attack.

The Captain's dining room.

The Captain's quarters.

An atomic tourist waits for his meal in the mess hall.

Sick bay.

One of the control rooms.

One of the catwalks through the engine room.

The main gear reducers in the engine room.

The throttle board in the engine room.

Watervliet Arsenal Museum, Watervliet, New York


Cannon and artillery display room.

Man-portable Davy Crockett nuclear weapon launchers.

Close-up of a Davy Crockett nuclear weapon casing.

Nuclear weapon artillery shells.

West Point Museum, West Point, New York

Olmstead Hall at the U.S. Military Academy.

Fat Man atomic bomb casing.

A Davy Crockett nuclear artillery weapon.

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