Atomic Testing Museum gets new name, designation

With the new year came a new name for the Atomic Testing Museum.

It’s now the National Atomic Testing Museum thanks to a provision in this year’s Defense Authorization Act signed by President Barack Obama.

In a statement Tuesday, museum and Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation Chairman Troy Wade lauded the efforts of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., for including language in the bill that gave Nevada its only “national” museum designation.

Wade thanked Reid “for taking the lead in obtaining this unique designation for our museum.”

He credited Heck “for assuring that the language passed the conference review” in the House.

The museum, at 755 E. Flamingo Road, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. It opened in 2005 to recognize the unique role that the test site, now called the Nevada National Security Site, played in defending the United States during the Cold War.

“Designation as a national museum is a significant step forward for this unique museum,” said Allan Palmer, the museum’s executive director and CEO.

“Joining a distinguished family of just 36 museums to have been designated as national museums of the United States, the newly minted National Atomic Testing Museum adds a luster to the already glittering city of Las Vegas,” he said.

Palmer added that the new designation will foster growth of the museum as a storehouse for America’s nuclear testing artifacts.

During the three-day New Year weekend, more than 400 people per day visited the museum.

Of the 36 national museums, only two are nuclear museums. The other one is in Albuquerque, N.M.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at or 702-383-0308.

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