One Turtle’s Story


May 23rd is World Turtle Day,
a day sponsored annually by the American Tortoise Rescue organization to
increase knowledge of, and respect for, turtles and tortoises worldwide. 

here are six sequential photographs of a sea turtle being tested for radioactivity
on July 26, 1957, at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Between 1946 and
1958, the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. military conducted 67
atmospheric nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands during the early phases of
the Cold War. Government personnel or contractors in these photographs wanted
to gauge the extent to which local sea life might have been impacted by
radioactive fallout.

We hope the turtle wasn’t adversely affected and went on to live a long life despite the possible nuclear contaminants in the local environment!

Series: Jobsite Photographs
of the Pacific Islands, 1953 – 1959. Record Group 326: Records of the Atomic
Energy Commission, 1923 – 1975. (National Archives Identifier: 7584062)



Future statue, by Robert Aiken, 2015. (Photo by Jeff Reed, National Archives)

The National Archives’ larger-than-life statues

Do you want to learn more about the history and architecture of National Archives Building in Washington, DC? Join us online Thursday, May 24, 2018, at noon for a Facebook Live tour of the building’s exterior. For more information, follow us on Facebook!

On each side of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC (on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues), sit two 65-ton statues. Each statue is more than 10 feet high and, with their bases, tower 25 feet above the sidewalk.

They were carved from 1934 to 1935, and each came from a single piece of Indiana limestone. The sculptors and carvers worked on site in temporary structures created for them.

Because the stones were so large and heavy, they had to be brought by train to Washington from Indiana on specially designed flat cars.


Rough block of stone from which one of the National Archives statues was carved, 1934. (Stone Magazine)


Rough block of stone from which one of the National Archives statues was carved, 1934. (Stone Magazine)

Read more about the other giants over at Pieces of History. Which of the four “guardians” is your favorite?