Tour #9: National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

Tuesday, June 25, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Tour Price: $50
Note: A shorter version of this tour is offered as Tour #4 on Monday 

A guided tour of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque. This is the nation’s official museum for the history and science of the Nuclear Age. Museum features replicas of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”. Exhibits cover topics such as atomic theory, the Cold War, pioneers in nuclear science, uranium processing and radiation facts.

Lunch will be at the Owl Restaurant, a landmark restaurant known for its “Owl Burgers”, shakes and Onion Rings.

This facility is the national repository of nuclear science information chartered by the 102nd United States Congress under Public Law 102–190, and located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The mission of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is to serve as America’s resource for nuclear history and science. The Museum presents exhibits and quality educational programs that convey the diversity of individuals and events that shape the historical and technical context of the nuclear age.”

For toy train enthusiasts the Museum will be hosting the collection of Joel Lubenau’s Toy Trains in the Atomic Age from June 1 through December 31, 2019. (Click to download the flyer below.)

Download the Nuclear Museum Flyer

B-29 Superfortress

Sail from the James K. Polk submarine

B-47 Stratojet


The Museum was originally sited in 1969 on the grounds of Kirtland Air Force Base in an old 90 mm anti-aircraft gun repair facility, and named “Sandia Atomic Museum”. It was the result of a six-year effort to establish a museum to tell the story of the base and the development of nuclear weapons, and was staffed by United States Air Force (USAF) personnel with help from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). In 1973, the Museum name changed to “National Atomic Museum”, but it did not yet have a national charter.

In 1985, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) became responsible for the Museum, and the staff became DOE employees. In 1991, the Museum received its charter as a national museum and its mission expanded to include aspects of nuclear science and history beyond the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. The Museum also became affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. In 1992, the National Atomic Museum Foundation (NAMF) was created to act as a supporting organization for the Museum and reduce the financial burden on taxpayers. DOE transferred Museum operation to SNL in 1995, and Museum staff became SNL employees.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, increased security restricted public access to the Museum’s on-base site and forced relocation to a former REI store in Old Town Albuquerque’s museum district. In 2005, SNL transferred operational responsibility to NAMF. SNL employees working as museum staff moved to other positions within Sandia. The Museum hired new staff who became employees of NAMF

When the Museum relocated to Albuquerque’s museum district, the site had inadequate space for outdoor exhibits. In January 2005, NAMF asked DOE/NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) for 12 acres of land at the intersection of Eubank and Southern Boulevards in southeast Albuquerque for construction of a new museum. In October 2006 a formal Land Use Agreement was signed with SNL as Grantor and NAMF as Grantee. Ground was broken and construction was begun. Museum staff documented its construction project via a blog and a Flickr gallery where photos were posted weekly to show the building's progress.

The new Museum opened on April 4, 2009 in its new location under the new name National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

F-105D Thunderchief


Mushroom Cloud from “Fat Man”

PGM-11 Redstone Missile

Visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History website

One-way Driving time:  ½ hour.

Tour includes:  Round-trip motor coach transportation, museum admission, taxes and gratuity. Lunch is on you own at the Owl Restaurant. 

Special Wear:  None

ADA Compliant: