Monday, August 10, 2009

This Seems Tacky, Even for Las Vegas

I was surprised to learn that the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas held a "Family Fun Day" event on Saturday. I thought Las Vegas gave up the family-fun business model back in the 90s.

While I realize that a lot of families live in Las Vegas, and it is not inappropriate for an educational museum like the ATM (the only Smithsonian-affiliated institution in Las Vegas) to try to attract their business, it just seems wrong for "Family Fun Day" at the Atomic Testing Museum to be subtitled: "Journey Through Japan." Activities include Japanese dancers, sushi rolling and origami folding.

It might be more appropriate if the Atomic Testing Museum dealt seriously with the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, the museum mostly avoids that by focusing on the bomb tests conducted by the U.S. government (especially those conducted in Nevada). It briefly mentions unfortunate health effects to workers and those who lived near testing sites but assures visitors that the government made every effort to minimize them, and that the tests were necessary to national security.

The short documentary film on Operation Crossroads does not discuss the devastation of the Bikini Islanders culture following their removal, nor the horrific effects of the unnecessary and deliberate exposure to radiation of thousands of U.S. Sailors.

The museum does not mention the filming of John Wayne's film The Conqueror and its legacy of cancer deaths among almost half the film's cast and crew.

With all of those omissions, holding a "Family Fun Day" celebration of Japanese culture at the Atomic Testing Museum is rather like having a production of Fiddler on the Roof at Germanfest would be. Hopefully, the folks in Wisconsin will always have more sense than that (at least outside of Washington County).

1 comment:

Dan said...

Living in Vegas, I'm sorry I missed it. But it will be intresting in going to see their take on it currently.
But there is still time to visit the Liberace museum, though. That is just basically down the street from the ATM