On a quick weekend trip to New Mexico, we decided to visit Los Alamos and found the Los Alamos History Museum. It had a lot of exhibits related to the obvious topics – the development of the atomic bomb and the Cold war – but the parts that most interested me were the exhibits detailing what life was like living in Los Alamos during World War II and after. Talk about living in a company town, where everything was tightly controlled and no one could ever mention anything that’d happened at work that day.
Anyway, part of the museum includes the Hans Bethe House (Hans Bethe was a German-American nuclear physicist who made important contributions to astrophysics, quantum electrodynamics and solid-state physics, and won the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physics), parts of which have been refurbished to replicate a mid-century dwelling. (Mr. Bethe’s Nobel prize is also on view.)
This kitchen, though. Right away I saw four things that were exactly like things in my mom’s kitchen – the mixer, the coffee pot on the stove, the glass coffee carafe on the counter, and the set of metal canisters. And then, later, I noticed that there was a knob missing from the stove. As much as I can recall, our stove had all its knobs, but I know for certain that the oven door on our stove didn’t stay closed and we had to wedge a chair under the handle to keep it shut. Reader(s) with a good memory may recall that my dad was a civil engineer, and may be surprised at his “solution.” He was sort of that way, though – a brilliant engineer who would complete cheap out on home repairs.
Los Alamos History Museum
Los Alamos, New Mexico