Digital History Project Draft – American Cold War Nuclear Sites

The HistoryPin I have entitled “American Cold War Nuclear Sites” is off to a productive start. I have five out of the seven sites that I want to include finished. I have chosen seven sites because these examples are particularly important to the nuclear production era in American history. However, the brilliance of the project is that I have not even scratched the surface yet of potential sites that the HistoryPin can include. That is why the project is also interactive. Schools can use this as an interactive teaching tool, while the students have a visual representation of just how expansive the United States’ nuclear arsenal was at one point the American history. Since these plants are either shut down or unable to tour in person, not to mention they span across the continental United States, creating a HistoryPin collection with map replaces a ‘Walking Tour’ of the plants.


For further study, there could be another section of the map that shows just how many have closed, and how many have been changed to different purposes. For example, the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina has switched from the production of nuclear fuels during the Cold War to now mostly environmental cleanup and non-defensive uses of these fuels, but remain in the same location as when it was first constructed which brings relevancy to the project. For the final draft of the digital project, I am looking to finish the other two sites on the map, including their historical information. I will also include outside links for each of the sites or their historical significance as another way of making the project interactive and educational. There have not many problems with this project so far. The only minor issue is that HistoryPin’s interface is sometimes not the easiest to navigate (this may be more of a personal problem considering my limited abilities regarding technology). Secondly, when I set out to create a “tour” within HistoryPin, I did not realize that it meant a “tour” of the Collections, not Pins within the Collections. I am also running into highly propagandized websites on these former plants, that downplay significantly the issues that these plants have caused. I am looking to include as much factual information as possible regarding concerns and issues that have been attributed to each plant, as well.

Here is the current map showing the location of the five plants I have included:

The current sites I have completed are:

Savannah River Plant (SRP)

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Oak Ridge Laboratory

Hanford Site

Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas

The two remaining sites I have yet to complete are:

Fernald Feed Materials Production Center

Rocky Flats Plant

Below is the link to my current project:

American Cold War Nuclear Sites


One Reply to “Digital History Project Draft – American Cold War Nuclear Sites”

  1. Great to see your project coming together. I was able to visit the site and see the various individual pins. I hadn’t realized (but it makes a lot of sense) how many of the Department of Energy’s national labs were sites created for the production of material for nuclear arms.

    Going forward, it might be helpful to try and identify some additional images that could be used and pinned at some of these sites. The pictures of the sites showing the size and scale of their operations is useful, but it would be great if you could potentially include some more images of the sites that included illustrations of some of the points you are making about the history and development of nuclear weapons.

    With that noted, it’s great to see how you project is coming together. To your point, given that people can’t really visit many of these sites this is a great way to show them. Similarly, your point about the value of mapping these sites to show the wide range of locations across the country involved in the production of nuclear weapons is well taken. As the map fills up with more sites that point will become clearer and clearer.

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