Students of public history at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) had the opportunity to delve into atomic pop culture. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM), they opened an exhibit at the Atomic Legacy Cabin in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The exhibit, which is on display through February 2020, explores the alluring era of the Atomic Age, both locally and nationally. Visitors to the interpretive center can view items from the late 1940s through 1960s that represent the many ways American businesses and entertainers capitalized on the popularity of the uranium boom. Highlights include atomic-related items in commercial products and mass media platforms, such as songs, comic books, and films.
Dr. Steven Schulte, CMU history professor, challenged students in his Introduction to Public History class to select a field experience that put their knowledge into practice. The students identified the topic for presentation, conducted research, collected artifacts, and proposed the exhibit for temporary display at the Atomic Legacy Cabin.
“The Office of Legacy Management approached the exhibit as a learning experience for the students,” said Schulte. “Every student I have spoken with came away with a greater understanding of not only the region's atomic heritage, but also the museum curation process. It was a pleasure for my class and me to work with the team at the Atomic Legacy Cabin.”
In addition, the students reached out to the local historical society and others interested in attending a reception held for the exhibit opening on December 3, 2019. Approximately 40 people attended and were treated to light refreshments served by the students following the presentation.
“Working with the CMU public history students has been an exciting and educational experience,” said Shawn Montgomery, LM public participation specialist. “Their creativity and enthusiasm towards creating a pop culture uranium project has reminded our Atomic Legacy Cabin visitors how important uranium has been to the Western Slope of Colorado. I look forward to supporting their future ideas and increasing our opportunities of engagement.”
Find more information on the Atomic Legacy Cabin.