Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow

If you are not just headed to the Kansas City Public Library to look at porn or have sex, you may want to visit their excellent free exhibit Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living With the Atomic Bomb, 1945-65. Whether you are a history buff or just want to know why your crazy grandpa is storing canned water in the basement, you will find this collection of books, posters, games, educational materials, art and toys curious, exciting and somewhat morbid.

It’s hard to comprehend that generations of Americans grew up with the thought of a nuclear blast being a sure thing always in the back of their mind. And although Geiger counters and Atomic trains seem like cool toys today, at the time they served to get the children used to the idea that someday they will be using the real thing. From the neighborhood and personal fallout shelters to the best-selling atomic handbooks the subject of an inevitable nuclear attack  determined the foreign and domestic policy for 20 years after United States bombed Japan and throughout the Cold War era.

As always I took a lot of pictures, but I suggest you check it out for yourself. The exhibit is fairly small and will take you about 30 minutes to get through.

All radios had mandatory CD – Civil Defense band which eventually evolved into the Emergency Alert System we hear on TV and radio.

Fallout shelter cut-out book:

I was always amazed with my American friends’ ability to identify planes in the air. Now I know why:

If your city is attacked – know what to do, presented by Phillip Morris Cigarette Co. because it cares:

Air Raid Board Game:

Just another Friday:

Family time in close quarters. Notice “kidde kokoon” in the back:

Atomic Rocket Kite:

This is your father:

KIX Atomic Bomb Ring:

Real and toy Geiger counters:

Bonus: Newspaper headlines from August, 1945 (microfilm reader at the Central branch is not that great, sorry).

Art imitates life:

  • Super Dave

    Wow a bit of a flash back for me, I remember some of those things

  • Donna Allen Wood

    I had a turquoise radio very similar to the one in the picture!

  • Mark Smith

    Marilyn probably got that nasty mushroom shaped ,and clearly out of control , infection from one of the Kennedy boys. They did get around.

  • Nick

    There are at least two 50s-era underground bomb shelters in the Ruskin – Grandview neighborhoods that now host an amazing number of Grow Lights….

    • I’d like to get into one or two. I will not see the lights. Promise.

      • Nick

        I’ll make some discrete inquiries….

  • David Remley

    This was one of the biggest bombs around until Lindsay Lohan started making movies.

  • Bob

    Being in the ag business, the poster about fallout reaching my farm intrigued me. I wonder if the Civil Defense people would have advised me to share my shelter space with 30 cows. Thank God I don’t have hogs.

  • Wow, that was a cool job you did on the expo. Reminds me some olden times and old stories, especially the cartoon where the hubby runs around a shelter packed with all manner of canned food, cursing his spouse for forgetting the can opener 😉