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Exhibiting the Bomb

Exhibiting the Bomb

Grade Level: 
The Enola Gay on display at the Smithsonian today


Students design parts of a fictional Manhattan Project exhibit by consulting primary sources and identifying relevant artifacts.


  • Writing materials
  • Internet access and books
  • The Manhattan Project by Cynthia Kelly
  • Poster board, markers, and other materials for designing presentations



The teacher tells the students that a new, fictional history museum is looking to host an exhibit on the Manhattan Project. Their task is to design this exhibit. The class discusses together which areas of the Manhattan Project to highlight (e.g. scientific aspects, military aspects, spying, life at Los Alamos, environmental aspects of the project, presidential decision-making, etc.). Why have they chosen these areas?

Students are divided into groups, each of which will focus on a different aspect of the project. They must design that part of the exhibit, selecting artifacts, primary and secondary sources, areas for visitor interaction, etc. They then summarize their research and presentation on the poster board.