‘Alert Today’ debut in Elmhurst returns to a not-so-distant time of Cold War via The Chicago Tribune

“Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow: Living with the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965” is a new traveling exhibit making its national debut at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, and its goal is to remind us of those not-so-happy days.

The exhibit is co-curated by Michael Scheibach, an author, editor and adjunct college professor from Independence, Mo. Most of the artifacts in the show are part of his collection, assembled over the last 15 years or so. That material fills the first floor of the museum; the second floor features items from the museum’s collection, plus related material from new research.

“A lot of time with traveling exhibits, they don’t have a lot of local material. We signed to do this quite awhile back, so we had plenty of time to gather items for upstairs,” says Lance Tawzer, the Elmhurst Historical Museum’s curator of exhibits. “I was really intrigued by the subject and thought we could do something locally.”

Scheibach’s collection is a nod to his interest in the era. He was especially intrigued by how the Atomic Age flowed into everyday life. So on display is a Kix cereal “atomic bomb ring,” Atomic Razor Blades, a Dazey Atomic Ice Crusher. The Atomic Age also had its darker side. One item on display is a cutout paper doll family that comes with Mom, Dad, two kids and a paper bomb shelter for them to live in, complete with bunk beds, a stove, a radio and a first aid kit. There are posters, brochures, pamphlets and books warning Americans about seemingly unavoidable nuclear attacks.

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