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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: