Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
National Air and Space Museum
Enola Gay Exhibition Records, 1968, 1970, 1981-2006
This accession consists of records created and maintained by Martin Harwit, Director of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), 1987-1995, documenting plans to exhibit the Enola Gay and the resulting controversy. A script for The Crossroads: The End of World War II, the Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War was released for comment in January 1994. The exhibition was retitled The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II and the script underwent several major revisions through January 1995. Each version of the script was met with controversy, particularly from veterans groups. On January 30, the exhibition was cancelled and Harwit resigned as Director on May 2, 1995. Prior to his resignation, Harwit had collected copies of all of NASM's current and historical documents related to the Enola Gay in order to prepare for his testimony during Congressional hearings on the matter; however, the hearings occurred shortly after his resignation and Harwit was not asked to testify. On June 28, 1995, Enola Gay was presented as a fact-based exhibition with little interpretation and significant emphasis on the aircraft's restoration.
After his resignation, Harwit continued to collect clippings, journal articles, and television coverage related to the Enola Gay and its exhibition and received related materials from veterans groups. He also spoke on the subject in a variety of settings. In 1996, Harwit published the book An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay. A Japanese translation was published in 1997.
Materials include correspondence and memoranda; exhibition scripts (some annotated); Congressional hearing transcripts; journal articles, preprints, and book reviews; copies of An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay in English and Japanese; Director's calendars, notes, and Rolodex; chronology of the Enola Gay's restoration and exhibition; lecture scripts and slide presentations; newspaper clippings and videotaped news stories and television programs; radio interviews with Harwit on audiotape; video elements created during the production of exhibition videos; and related materials. This accession also includes several compilations of documents related to the Enola Gay that served different purposes. Some materials document projects and professional activities undertaken by Harwit after his resignation.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Harwit, Martin, 1931-
- Enola Gay (Bomber)
- National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Office of the Director
- The Crossroads: The End of World War II, the Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War (Proposed exhibition)
- The Last Act: The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II (Proposed exhibition)
- Enola Gay (Exhibition) (1995-1998: Washington, D.C.)
- An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay (Monograph : 1966)
- Aeronautical museums
- Atomic bomb
- Museum exhibits
- World War, 1939-1945
- Legislative hearings -- United States
- Museum directors
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
- Black-and-white transparencies
- Color transparencies
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 14-100, National Air and Space Museum, Enola Gay Exhibition Records