Staff from The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will be in southern Utah collecting oral histories about the impact of nuclear testing on individuals and their families. These interviews will be included in the Downwinders of Utah Archive, which provides historical data on the nuclear testing that occurred at the Nevada Test Site and the fallout that resulted.

Representatives from the Marriott Library will be at the Washington County Library in St. George on June 12, the Cedar City Public Library on June 13 and the Kanab City Library on June 14. Examples of oral histories currently included in the archive can be found here.

“It is critical that the stories of the downwinders be recorded and preserved,” said Mary Dickson, downwinder, playwright and advocate. “Not only are these stories a valuable record of a shameful chapter of our shared past, they also serve as a reminder and a warning that we all live downwind. Without this important archive, our stories die with us.”

Beginning in 1951, the era of nuclear weapons testing was a time of tremendous change at both national and local levels. In the name of national security, a variety of nuclear weapons were tested in a remote area of the Nevada desert known as the Nevada Test Site. Fallout and radiation from these tests have affected communities across the nation, in many cases resulting in the loss of property, health and life.

The Downwinders of Utah Archive presents an in-depth study of nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events that resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s downwinder population.

“The archive focusses on individuals, families and geographic areas that were negatively affected,” said Justin Sorensen, GIS specialist at the Marriott Library and creator of the archive. “Our hope is that the archive illustrates the events and impacts in greater detail, while educating future generations in the hope that the mistakes of the past will never occur again.”

Events details:

Washington County Library, St. George Main Branch
88 W. 100 South, St. George
Monday, June 12, 1-7 p.m.

Cedar City Public Library
303 N. 100 East Cedar City
Tuesday, June 13, 1-7 p.m.

Kanab City Library
374 N. Main Street, Kanab
Wednesday, June 14, 1-7 p.m.

For more information on the archive, events or to view current oral history interviews, visit downwindersofutah.org or contact Justin Sorensen at the Marriott Library, Justin.sorensen@utah.edu or 801-585-7349.

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