The Smithsonian and the Enola Gay

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Discusses background of the controversy surrounding the exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum of the Enola Gay, the airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb. The Congressional politics involved, and arguments made by opposing interests regarding presentation of the exhibit are also discussed. The author contends that it was a poor decision to provide a single estimate of potential casualities had the U.S. invaded Japan, and urges the public to demand accuracy in exhibits.


  • Heyman, Ira Michael 5/30/1930-11/19/2011
  • United States Congress
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Enola Gay (Bomber)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Author was director of the American Studies Program at the Smithsonian Institution when he wrote the article. He was not personally involved in the Enola Gay exhibit preparation; opinions expressed in the article reflect his prior military experience.

Contained within

The National Interest Vol. 40 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


Summer 1995


  • Airplanes
  • WW II
  • Atomic bomb
  • Education
  • Controversies
  • Secretaries
  • Museums
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Museum exhibits
  • Museums--Educational aspects


United States

Physical description

pgs. 40-49

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