Information on:

Bradbury Science Museum

1350 Central Avenue

Primary Mission:

To interpret Laboratory research, activities and history to official visitors the general public and Laboratory employees.

To promote greater public understanding of the Laboratory's role in national security programs.

To assist the taxpaying public in making informed judgments in these matters.

And to contribute to visitors knowledge of science and technology and to improve the quality of math and science education in northern New Mexico.


In 1953, Robert Krohn, who was in charge of early nuclear tests at Los Alamos National Laboratory, decided that the Laboratory needed a museum to house historical weapon-research artifacts. Krohn convinced Norris Bradbury (Laboratory director, 1945-1970) that a museum could preserve the Laboratory's history while at the same time providing a place for official visitors to learn about the Laboratory's weapon programs.

An old ice house on the bank of Ashley Pond across from Fuller Lodge became the first Laboratory museum. Already fitted with a vault door, the ice house satisfied security standards for housing the classified exhibits Krohn wanted to preserve. The ice-house museum opened to official visitors in 1954.

In 1963, Robert Porton, director of community relations at the Laboratory, expressed an interest in adding unclassified exhibits to the museum. Bradbury approved the transfer of unclassified exhibits to an area open to the public, and soon World War II era documents and photographs tracing the development of the town and the Laboratory were displayed with scientific memorabilia and working models of unclassified research projects. In its first year, 14,000 visitors from 50 states and 40 countries visited the museum.

In 1965, the museum was moved to larger quarters. The range and number of exhibits grew rapidly and included many hands-on models contributed by scientific groups and divisions within the Laboratory.

In 1970, the museum was renamed the Norris E. Bradbury Science Museum, honoring the Laboratory's second director. Eventually, the Museum's official name was shortened to the Bradbury Science Museum. Major renovations to the Museum took place in 1981. Informal, donated exhibits gave way to professionally designed exhibits in a formal museum atmosphere. Videotapes, videodisks, and interactive computer programs were introduced. New artifacts included a Mark 12A warhead, models of Vela and Navistar verification and communication satellites, and an air-launched cruise missile.

By 1987, annual attendance had reached 80,000, and parking space for visitors was disappearing. Laboratory officials began exploring options for relocating the Museum site. In April, 1993, the Museum moved into its new and present location in the heart of downtown Los Alamos. The building was designed by William Agnew and Associates and is leased by the Laboratory from a private owner.

Today, approximately 40 interactive exhibits trace the history of the WWII Manhattan Project, highlight the Laboratory's current and historic research projects related to defense and technology, and focus on Laboratory research related to national and international economic, environmental, political, and social concerns. These exhibits together with extensive educational and community programs draw nearly 100,000 visitors a year.


Ann Sholem

Monday, June 18, 2018
A great museum with lots of information pertinent to Los Alamos and there are 2 films as well as good displays. We took a couple of hours to see it all and the bonus is it's free!

Cale Whicker

Friday, Jan. 5, 2018
To be honest, this museum is not so great. It seems like there is no planning or mission other than put information out and let people read it. There seems to be very few if any thought behind it. That being said some of the information is interesting and a handful of exhibits were educational. I would not go back unless I had to kill time.

Chris Olsen

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Great free museum - you can learn a lot about the history of Los Alamos; both the Manhattan project as well as the great science that is going on today. Combine a visit with the Atomic City Tour which will pick up right in front of the museum.

Nate Chertack

Sunday, March 18, 2018
The museum itself is informative, with one room dedicated to the Manhattan project and the other rooms discussing the current research being done in the area. However, most people aren't driving all the way to Los Alamos to see exhibits they could see at their local science museum. I wish the museum had more info about the development of the atomic bomb and what happened after the war. The other exhibits are mildly interesting. At least the museum is free. Worth a short stop. The drive into Los Alamos is worth the trip alone.

Sanjay Dhir

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018
Great interactive place. Among other stuff, it tells story of project Manhattan along with full scale models of ‘Fat man’ and ‘Little boy’. There are two short movies screened in the auditorium giving the background story. Well worth a visit for historical reasons, friendly staff and it’s free to visit.

Bradbury Science Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media