The Nuclear Museum is Open to the Public

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is open to the public. For more information, please click here.

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Virtual Museum Tours

Are you interested in having a National Museum of Nuclear Science & History professional or volunteer speak to your group, organization, or students in a live, virtual tour of this Smithsonian Affiliate museum? The Nuclear Museum will provide the Zoom platform for a tour where all participants can engage and interact with their very own tour guide as your group explores your chosen area of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History.

Our museum has a team of professionals who provide the most in-depth and interesting topics for virtual events that share the museum's mission as America's resource for nuclear science and history. With such dynamic and diverse backgrounds, you will likely find a tour guide who will provide another level of expertise to your virtual tour.

With 30,000 square feet inside and nine-acres outside, there is truly so much to see and learn!

You have the option of building your own museum tour by selecting either two or three different exhibits. A tour of two exhibits lasts approximately 30-45 minutes, and a tour of three exhibits lasts approximately 45 minutes - one hour.

As a special promotion, you also have the option to choose from two very unique and VIP tours with the museum's Executive Director of 24 years, Jim Walther. Please see below for these options and pricing.

A tour of two exhibits costs $25, and a tour of three exhibits costs $50. We ask that the group stay under 20 participants, but the option to allow more attendees is available at an additional fee. This will be determined at the time you speak with your museum representative when planning your tour.

Once you view the museum's list of tours below, please fill out the Tour Inquiry form to better inform our team of your needs. We will be in touch soon after we receive your form in order to discuss further. Once you have spoken with a museum representative about your virtual program, you will receive a link to complete payment.

Each program will take place via Zoom through the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History's account. We will send you the links needed for each program once the museum team member has been in touch and payment has been received.

Tour Inquiry Form

Exhibition Choices (Pick Two for $25 or Three for $50)

  • Manhattan Project: This tour explores the initial panic among scientists in 1938 as fission was discovered in Germany during Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in the Nazi regime. The realization of the immense power that would be released leads to the American Manhattan Project, the super-secret crash program to beat the Nazi’s to gaining the atomic weapon. Tour the museum's impressive exhibition of Critical Assembly and follow the timeline of the secret Manhattan project through other displays.
  • Trinity, The First Test: As the Manhattan Project progressed, Army leaders and Manhattan Project scientist realized that the complex technologies that were expected to work in the “implosion weapon” needed to be tested. Explore the effort to create plutonium in CP-1 and at Hanford, the Trinity test; the world’s first atomic detonation and what it revealed that lead to the devastation of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and end of WWII.
  • The Dark Cube: This exhibition focuses on a dense, two-inch charcoal-black cube made of pure uranium metal that Nazi scientists suspended with 663 other similar cubes during World War II in an effort to create the world’s first atomic bomb.During Hitler’s rise to power, Germany was at the cutting edge of nuclear technology, having discovered how to split the atom and then realizing the immense amount of energy that is released in doing so. This intriguing object will be highlighted in telling the story of Heisenberg’s efforts and eventual failure to create an atomic weapon during a critical time in world conflict.
  • The Cold War: In 1949 the Soviet Union conducted its first atomic test kicking the west into a panic and signaling the start of the “cold war”. How could they achieve this so quickly after only 4 years? Advances in weapon technologies and delivery capability lead quickly to an arms race and high anxiety as other countries joined the “nuclear club”. Explore MAD, “the triad”, and the fall of the wall that saw the collapse of the USSR.
  • Heritage Park: This outside walking tour of our nine-acre outdoor exhibit area explores significant historical artifacts such as the B-29 Superfortress, the B-52B Stratofortress that dropped the last atomic weapon test, the beautiful B-47 Stratojet, ICBM’s, Cruise Missiles, “Atomic Annie” the atomic cannon, fighter jets including the striking F-16 Fighting Falcon, and a MiG 21 Russian jet. Explore the only full-scale, 100 ft Trinity test tower, and look at the scale of the conning tower of an actual nuclear submarine.
  • Atomic Culture: As with any new technology that is really cutting-edge, advertisers, toy makers, and cultural products soon reflect this newest of new. In the 50’s,60’s, and 70’s, toys, home appliances, movies, music, and even cars had atomic themes. With artifacts such as comic books, a De Lorean car, and awesome nuclear-themed toys, this unique tour is a fun look back at many artifacts of these eras that reflect a futuristic flair of science in our lives.
  • Energy Encounter: Nuclear Power is an important option for the United States and the rest of the world to meet all our future energy needs. Currently, nuclear power plants provide about 17% of the world’s electricity. This exhibit looks at the world’s dependence on all energy forms and how nuclear power will help fulfill those needs.
  • Nuclear Waste Transportation: Nuclear waste and its related issues are often hot items in our news. Radioactive waste occurs at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, whether it is from producing electricity or from nuclear medicine applications. Dealing safely with radioactive waste is critical to the environment as well our own safety. Visitors will learn how waste is characterized, treated, handled, transported and stored, as well as options for recycling and reprocessing.
  • Nuclear Medicine: See the history of nuclear medicine and how it contributed to the advancement of medical technology. Visitors will learn how modern-day advances in nuclear medicine are saving millions of lives every year. By using very small amounts of radioactive material, diseases can be diagnosed and treated.

Special Director's Tour with Museum Executive Director, Jim Walther (Pick One for $100)

    1. Collections Tour with Jim: Join long-time Museum Director, Jim Walther, as he invites you into the museum's private collection area where all of the institution's objects that are not currently on display are managed and preserved as we care for our community's collective memory of the atomic age. Jim will introduce his viewers to a unique artifact that is not available for public viewing, allowing your group an experience that is completely one of a kind. Most of the objects in the museum's collection focus on the history of the nuclear era, and if you are lucky, you may see some of our curatorial team working, as well! (30-45 minutes)
    2. Overview Tour with Jim: Enjoy a fast paced overview of The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History as you go on a tour with our museum leader through 14 exhibitions to see the major themes and associated artifacts that come together to tell our nuclear story. (45 minutes)