Oral History and The Bomb

Los Alamos Monitor story on UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project
Lecture by the director of the UNLV NTSOHP (now that’s a mouthful!), Mary Palevski.

In her lecture, Palevsky will discuss “Atomic Fragments” and how it led to her current work directing the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project at UNLV, during which oral history interviews are being conducted with over 150 individuals affiliated with the site in a variety of capacities during the Cold War. She will be conducting several interviews while in New Mexico

The article also discusses a bit about Oral History itself:

Although oral traditions are as old as humankind, the discipline of oral history came into being in the 20th century, with the rise of recording technologies. Palevsky will discuss the value of oral methods when researching and documenting nuclear history and two oral historical focuses as they relate to the Manhattan Project, the NTS and the dawn of the nuclear age.

The first is the notion of “elite oral history”, interviews conducted to document and preserve the memories of key decision-makers and leaders, who can recount firsthand, events of national and international significance.

The second is the notion of oral history as a democratizing force, one that can capture the points of view of “ordinary people” whose involvement in certain historical events was crucial, but often remains unknown or anonymous.

The NTS Oral History Project is dedicated to both aspects of the history of the test site. Between 1951 and 1992, 928 nuclear tests were carried out at the NTS, 100 atmospheric and 828 underground.

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 23, 2004 in • Oral history in the news
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