Support history buffs

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By The Staff

The second Heritage Partners Annual Campaign for the Los Alamos Historical Society is under way. This year’s theme, “$40,000 for the Museum’s 40th,” celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Los Alamos Historical Museum, which opened in July 1968.

“The annual campaign is critical this year because a three-year grant we received for Manhattan Project preservation has been completed,” Museum Director Hedy Dunn said. “We are counting on the community and our members to help us keep the momentum going that started with the grant.”

The $226,000 grant allowed the historical society to expand its offerings, including publishing 11 new and reprinted titles; redesigning and expanding the society’s website; completing more oral histories; cataloging more artifacts, documents and photographs related to the Manhattan Project; and bringing in a variety of World War II-related traveling exhibits.

Dunn explained community support is valuable to maintaining the level of services the historical society has provided.

She said the county supports one quarter to one-third of what it takes to run the historical museum. Plus, there is no admission fee to go to the museum and membership dues only cover the basics. Dunn added many museums and cultural institutions have specific drives to supplement their budgets.

To spread the word about the campaign, Dunn said society members will go out into the community and discuss the campaign at organizations’ meetings, senior centers and retirement centers.

Additionally, one of the society’s board members, Barbara Lange, created a film about the museum. In the movie, a pair of moccasins is shown as proof of the significance of this institution.

Dunn said the moccasins belonged to Edith Warren, a significant woman in the area during the Manhattan Project days. The moccasins, Dunn said, were made by one of Warren’s friends and were donated to the museum by the Bradburys; Norris E. Bradbury was the second director of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

She concluded that at first glance, this particular piece would just appear to be a pair of old shoes, but the museum helps reveal the value behind this artifact.

“We’re kind of the town’s memory bank,” Dunn said.

Memberships in the Los Alamos Historical Society begin at $40 ($35 for seniors and students) while Heritage Partnerships begin at $100. Anyone interested in joining the Los Alamos Historical Society may pick up a membership form at the Historical Museum, just north of Fuller Lodge, or visit the society’s website at www.losalamoshistory.org/membership.htm.

To contribute to the campaign, call the historical museum at 662-6272 or send donations to P.O. Box 43. Dunn said the campaign is expected to wrap up July 1.

The Los Alamos Historical Museum is open every day except New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.