Marriott Library seeks ‘Downwinder’ testimony

Moab event May 20

Officials with the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will be interviewing people throughout Utah who have been affected by nuclear testing. Staff will be visiting Moab on Monday, May 20 from 1-6 p.m. at the Grand County Library to interview individuals who have been affected by the nuclear weapons testing that occurred in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Officials will visit Blanding on Tuesday, May 21, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the San Juan County Public Library, Blanding branch. In Price, interviews will occur on Wednesday, May 22, from 1-6 p.m. at the Price City Library, 159 East Main Street.

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 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, noted a press release from the university.

Representatives from the Marriott Library will be visiting public libraries throughout northern, southwestern, and southeastern Utah. Examples of oral histories currently included in the archive can be found here. New interviews will be included in the Downwinders of Utah Archive, a free resource providing information on nuclear detonations, radioactive fallout and events that resulted in devastating effects for Utah’s “Downwinder” population.

“The archive focuses on individuals, families and geographic areas that were negatively affected,” said Justin Sorensen of 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.”

Scheduling interviews isn’t necessary; just stop by during the hours listed above. Questions should be directed to Justin Sorensen at [email protected]. For more information on the archive, events or the current compilation of oral history interviews, visit www.downwindersofutah.org.