Take Shelter: Nuclear Anxieties, the Family Unit, and Civil Defense during the Cold War

The fallout shelter remains one of the most iconic symbols of the Cold War. In the fifties and sixties, civil defense became a part of the national conversation regarding the atomic bomb. A debate soon emerged among proponents of personal family shelters that ensured the safety of loved ones, and advocates for mass community shelters that provided a more ethical, inclusive solution. This exhibit illustrates the tensions between the private and the public, stable family homes and uncertain futures, reassuring narratives and uncomfortable truths- while American culture at the time was characterized by conformity and consensus, the possibilty of nuclear war threatened to shatter the ideals Americans had modeled their lives upon in the postwar period.

Credits

Eva Molina