LAPS National History Day Club Members Tour Oppenheimer House

LAPS National History Day students Anna Batista, center, and Mikey Bane about to step into history at the Oppenheimer House Saturday with Los Alamos Historical Museum Educator Dr. Aimee Slaughter. Photo Courtesy LAPS

National History Day Club members Mikey Bane and Anna Batista, center discuss restoration ideas with Los Alamos Historical Museum Educator Dr. Aimee Slaughter outside the Oppenheimer House. Photo Courtesy LAPS


The Los Alamos Historical Society gave scholars from the National History Day club a special preview tour of the Oppenheimer House on Bathtub Row Saturday (August 21). The house was donated to the Historical Society last year upon the death of its long-time owner Helene Suydam.

National History Day president, Anna Batista, thought it was interesting that, “Even though many parts of the house were added on in the 1950s, the core of the house—where Oppenheimer and his family lived—is still intact, made with rocks and wood from the nearby canyon.”

The Historical Society is interested in how history students think the important structure should be displayed for future interpretation as a museum artifact.  

Reigning junior documentary film champ, Mikey Bane, enjoyed seeing old pictures of the house in its former glory, as well as hearing how much information was known about the house. “It will be amazing to see the house again after it is restored and observe the amazing work of the Historical Society,” he commented. “I cannot wait to see what other facts are unearthed about the Oppenheimer House.”

NHD sponsor, Brent G. Collom pointed out that this is a great example of how the Historical Society supports our students and the research they do through National History Day.  “I am really impressed that the Historical Society reached out to listen to student ideas for this important project.”  

Dr. Aimee Slaughter, Los Alamos History Museum Educator, reflected, “It was great to give these really engaged history students a behind-the-scenes look into how history museums work. They had so many thoughtful questions and suggestions.” 

The Los Alamos Historical Society hopes to open the Oppenheimer House to the public late next year, and is documenting the process of getting it ready at The current temporary exhibit in the Los Alamos History Museum, Opening Doors, also shares some of the house’s history and asks for your feedback on what stories you’d like to see shared in the Oppenheimer House when it’s open to the public.National History Day is a competition where students complete research on a topic and then present their findings through one of five projects: performance, exhibition, documentary film, website or research paper.  “Our partners at the Historical Society support NHD students with research and by reviewing projects at each stage of competition: regional, state and national,” according to Mr. Collom.

Students in grades 6th-12th, who love history and project-based learning can join NHD and compete.  Contact Mr. Collom at to find out about meeting times as well as more information about the National History Day program in Los Alamos Public Schools.