"Living Under a Mushroom Cloud: Fear and Hope in the Atomic Age"
Between 1945 and 1965, Americans had ambivalent feelings about atomic power. They were pleased that American-developed atomic bombs had ended World War II, but afraid of that power being turned against them. This fear escalated once the Soviet Union detonated their own nuclear bombs. Increased interest in civil defense and atomic blast survivability was one manifestation of the concern over atomic energy's destructive power. At the same time, Americans were bombarded with positive images of atomic energy, some fantastic and some realistic, which promoted an optimistic view of the future. American culture reflected some of the contradictions created by the coexistance of fear and hope in the so-called "Atomic Age".
Leslie A. Bellais, Curator of Costume and Textiles
David B. Driscoll, Curator of Business and Technology
Webpage design by: Paul Pope
The original exhibit was displayed at the State Historical Museum from
June 24, 1997 through January 11, 1998.
Curator's Note: This is the State Historical Museum's first attempt at hosting a 'virtual' exhibit. We plan to improve the quality of our images in future exhibits, and possibly add audio and video clips. Any other comments you may have about improving this website, or 'virtual' exhibits in general, would be greatly appreciated. Send your comments to: Leslie Bellais
The Wisconsin Historical Museum is a division of The Wisconsin Historical Society.