Duck and Cover

Time Period
1925 to Today
Politics & Government
Civil defense brochure
When the Bomb Goes Off — Don’t Be There!
Virginia’s military bases and its proximity to Washington made it a primary target. Northern Virginia had a special evacuation plan, but the population density and rural routes would have made a mass evacuation impossible. Brochures like this may have given people a sense of control and security. Plans for evacuating the government included a secret “relocation facility” with 800 beds to house congressional members. The bunker’s location was kept secret until 1992, when a reporter for the Washington Post Magazine revealed that it had been built under the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (VHS call number: UA926.5 E92 N874 1960z)
Civil Defense Fallout Shelter checklist
Civil Defense Fallout Shelter Check List
A number of businesses marketed various Cold War merchandise. The Wallace Ceilings & Sound Conditioning Co. in Richmond distributed this flyer listing the supplies needed for the well-equipped shelter. All of this equipment could be used today for disaster preparedness except for the DDT and the "home–use radiation instruments." (VHS accession number: 1992.105)
Fallout shelter construction instructions
Clay Masonry Family Fallout Shelters (1977)
The family fallout shelter is an enduring symbol of the Cold War, but the practice of building a bomb shelter in the back yard was never widespread. Some estimates place the number of families with shelters at 1 percent of the population. The instructions shown here are for the construction of a basement shelter that could be built for $300 by a "do–it–yourselfer" with the help of a neighbor in two weekends. (VHS call number: TH1097 S927 1960)