Leadership Los Alamos Meets At Fuller Lodge For Session #5 On Culture

Joining in the Leadership Los Alamos History panel discussion are, from left, J.T. Stark, Los Alamos National Laboratory Historic Buildings Specialist; Jeremy Brunette, LANL Archaeologist; Elliot Schultz, LANL Historian of Science; and Myron Gonzales, Bandelier National Monument Preservationist. Photo by Kateri Morris

LLA Class of 2022 in front of the Romero Cabin. Photo by Kateri Morris

Leadership Los Alamos

In February, Leadership Los Alamos met at the historical Fuller Lodge for a session on Culture. Creative District Curator and Events Manager, Jeremy Smith and Elizabeth Martineau, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director, facilitated the session. 

The day began with a history panel discussion with Jeremy Brunette, Los Alamos National Laboratory Archaeologist; Myron Gonzales, Bandelier National Monument Preservationist; Elliot Schultz, LANL Historian of Science; and J.T. Stark , LANL Historic Buildings Specialist. 

Myron Gonzales (San Ildefonso and Jemez Pueblo), shared about the importance of preserving the historical culture of our local areas. As a tribal council member in 1998, he immersed himself in his community and participated in the Cultural Preservation Department formed by the local tribes in 2000. As Director, he learned various laws pertaining to preservation and brought in subject matter experts to incorporate holistic approaches to preserve archaeological sites. Today, he reminds native students to stand up for their culture and find direction in order to understand what they are trying to accomplish. He tells them that the act of preservation is more than preserving the ‘physical,’ but through the preservation of culture, they will be able to provide the ‘perspective.’ Mr. Gonzales disclosed there are around 10,000 ancestral archeological sites discovered and preserved in Los Alamos alone. 

As a Historian of Science at LANL, Elliot Schultz, has an interesting job of writing eulogies for old federal buildings that are about to be demolished. He told the class the importance of documenting what we know and experience before we lose the history and memory. Mr. Schultz said, “Cultural resources interpretation touches on the emotional aspect of communicating the importance of preservation.” Artifacts, the written word, and understanding the motivations provide the broader context of what was made, including all voices and perspectives. His team is respective of legal obligations, but they also require collaboration and hearing other perspectives, as neighbors and as professionals.

Jeremy Brunette is responsible for the preservation of the ‘significant’ buildings in Los Alamos, as a LANL Archaeologist. He said there are 40 designated long-term preservation cold war and Manhattan buildings and many homestead sights. Alongside, J.T. Stark, LANL Historic Buildings Specialist, Manhattan Project preservation has been a continual feat as several sites identified need attention, restoration, and maintenance. In collaboration with the Department of Energy and the National Park Service, LANL’s Manhattan Project works together to preserve and share the nationally significant historic sites.

Martineau and Smith conducted a ‘behind the scenes’ walking tour with the LLA class around the Los Alamos Historic District. They explored inside the Romero Cabin, Oppenheimer’s house, Hans Bethe House, and the Women’s Army Corps dormitory. They also took a stroll down Bathtub Row, learning about the unique houses along the way. They finished the tour with a quick visit to the Los Alamos History Museum.

A movie about the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Director Christopher Nolan, will be filmed in Los Alamos in upcoming weeks. The production company consulted with the Los Alamos Historical Society on the various historical buildings that will be featured in the film. Martineau, who contributed historical context and information about the locations, was impressed by the attention to detail they wanted to capture in the movie.  The LLA students were excited to walk through the movie sets knowing that it will be in an upcoming film. 

In the afternoon, the class participated in an art panel discussion with Arts in Public Places Board Chair, Jen Baker; Ken Nebel, Los Alamos Arts Council Assistant Director; Paul Lewis, Los Alamos Little Theater; and Jeremy Smith, Los Alamos Creative District, where each shared about their organization’s mission, purpose, and various projects underway. 

The class walked to the Los Alamos Little Theater (LALT) to learn more about the venue with actor, director, and producer, Paul Lewis, who has been involved with LALT for 20 years. The organization was formed during the days of the Manhattan project in 1943 performing in various places in town and in Fuller Lodge.

“The current location was previously a town recreation hall after the war. When it was going to be torn down, they converted it to a theater,” Lewis said. 

LLA finished the day at the Bathtub Brewing Co-op to hear from Head Brewer, David Seymour. Moving from St. Louis, Missouri with extensive knowledge and experience on the craft of brewing, he is known for his specialization in recipe creation, focusing on classic beers from around the world. Seymour explained the brewing process, his techniques, and how he enjoys using local indigenous ingredients in his local brews. 

Leadership Los Alamos is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify current and emerging leaders in Los Alamos and surrounding communities, to enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing the community. Each class learns about a variety of topics like community organizations, cultural and history, youth, education, local government, economic development, and environmental issues. For more information or sign up for the next class (Sept 2022- May 2023), go to: Leadership Los Alamos – An educational organization dedicated to the future of Los Alamos

LLA students explore the Women’s Army Corps dormitory (WAC) in the LA Historic District. Photo by Kateri Morris

The Leadership Los Alamos Art panel members were, from left, Jeremy Smith, Los Alamos Creative District; Paul Lewis, Los Alamos Little Theater; Ken Nebel, Los Alamos Arts Council Assistant Director; and Jen Baker, Arts in Public Places Board Chair. Photo by Kateri Morris

Paul Lewis gives a background on Los Alamos Little Theater. Photo by Kateri Morris