Los Alamos Historical Society News:
The Los Alamos Historical Society is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 lecture series. “The Anniversary Lecture Series” honors the History Museum’s 50th anniversary and mostly focuses on 50 years of history in the community and the region.
All lectures are the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in Fuller Lodge, unless otherwise noted. The lecture series is generously sponsored by Raffi Andonian and Nicole Kliebert.
Sept. 18 (please note date change from the second Tuesday of the month) — Andrew Wulf, Cold War Cultural Diplomacy
This lecture revisits the American National Exhibition in Moscow, which for six weeks in the summer of 1959 showed more than 2.7 million Russians various aspects of the American way of life. It studies the international political climate that motivated a cultural exhibition to raise awareness of America and its values among a Soviet audience.
It also investigates the exhibition itself and how this complex cultural diplomatic effort was intended to shape a very specific public opinion.
Wulf is executive director of the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Oct. 9 — Ned O’Malia, The Spirit of Place: Sacred Northern New Mexico
Northern New Mexico is home to a diversity of spiritual traditions: Catholic, Protestant, Eastern, Native American, New Age, and communal. Into this small geographic area of Native American practice came Catholicism, Hermano/Penitentes, Converso Jews and Protestant missionaries. Starting in the 1960s, as if drawn by the earth, sky and water itself, came communities of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and a variety of Buddhist traditions. This lecture reviews the many traditional and contemporary spiritual communities and ends with a focus on the reasons why so many spiritual groups have been attracted to this unique portion of New Mexico.
O’Malia, a speaker for the New Mexico Humanities Council, has a PhD in Asian religions earned from Temple University. He has widely traveled the world studying religions.
Nov. 13 — Vicent Ialenti, Waste Makes Haste: An Anthropologist’s View of the 2014 LANL-WIPP Organic Kitty Litter Accident
This talk explores political, social, and financial factors that contributed to a LANL transuranic waste drum bursting open and spewing out fire underground at the WIPP deep geologic repository on Valentine’s Day 2014. To what extent was this infamous “organic kitty litter” accident symptomatic of the hasty tempos of the DOE’s, LANL’s, and the State of New Mexico’s accelerated waste shipment campaign? Ialenti, an anthropologist who spent 10 weeks doing fieldwork in Los Alamos and Carlsbad—logging over 45 interviews about the accident—will discuss his findings so far.
Ialenti is a MacArthur Postdoctoral Fellow at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from Cornell University and an MSc in Law, Anthropology, & Society from the London School of Economics.
Jan. 8 — Samuel Buelow, Becoming the Atomic City: Community Growth and Change in Los Alamos during the Cold War
How did Los Alamos transform in the post–World War II period and become the town we know today? Drawing on archival material and oral histories, this presentation examines the everyday experience of Los Alamos residents during the Cold War to better understand both the transformation of the community and its role in greater geopolitics. Testimonies of both the world-shaking and the mundane will be interwoven to examine the history of place that was anything but average.
Buelow is an anthropologist who grew up in Los Alamos at the very end of the Cold War period. He has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Indiana University and a BA in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. After conducting research in the post-Soviet Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, he is excited to return home to examine community history on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
Feb. 12 — Paulette Atencio, Traditional Stories from Northern New Mexico
Atencio delights audiences with cuentos (stories) she learned growing up in Peñasco, New Mexico, and a lifetime traveling northern and central New Mexico. The stories focus on traditions, what it means to be of Hispanic descent, and universal humor and lessons.
Atencio, a speaker for the New Mexico Humanities Council, has been a professional bilingual storyteller for over twenty years and has also published collections of authentic stories.
March 12 — John Hopkins and Denny Erickson, The Life and Cold War Legacies of Harold Agnew
From 1970–1979, Manhattan Project pioneer and Cold War veteran Harold Agnew served as the third director of the Los Alamos Laboratory. As director, Agnew oversaw development of the majority of today’s nuclear stockpile. Among his other legacies were the increased security and safety of the stockpile. Agnew also opened the Laboratory to research that diversified programs beyond the historic nuclear weapons mission. Hopkins, who had a leadership role during the Agnew years, and Erickson, who began his Los Alamos career with Agnew as his first director, will discuss Agnew’s enduring contributions in the context of a dramatic and unusually productive life.
April 9 — Heather McClenahan, Perspectives on Los Alamos History
After falling in love at first sight with Fuller Lodge, McClenahan has devoted the last 20 years to studying the history of Los Alamos. From conducting interviews with those who created the community’s history to reading old newspapers to lobbying for the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, as executive director of the Los Alamos Historical Society, she has met wonderful people and made many discoveries along the way. This talk will share some of those stories while looking toward the future of Los Alamos.
May 14 — Reykjavik, performed by the Pajarito Players
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes, Reykjavik tells the story of the historic 1986 meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Based on the actual transcripts of the two-day summit in Iceland’s capital city, the play is a dramatization that depicts the world leaders almost reaching agreement on the abolition of their countries’ nuclear weapons.