Los Alamos National LaboratoryBradbury Science Museum
Your Window into Los Alamos National Laboratory
Bradbury Science Museum

Meet the Bradbury’s guides

Introducing Eluterio Garcia, who remembers when Los Alamos was a “closed” town
October 1, 2020
Bradbury Science Museum Guide, Eluterio Garcia.

Bradbury Science Museum Guide, Eluterio Garcia.


  • Stacy Baker
  • (505) 664-0244
  • Email
In 1969, after completing my service with the Army and returning to Los Alamos, I began working with the Lab as a machinist apprentice.

If you’ve ever been to the Bradbury, you’ve no doubt been welcomed and given a quick orientation by one of our eight Museum guides. As we all eagerly await the re-opening of the Bradbury (no firm date yet), we thought we’d share a bit about them with you. Eluterio Garcia is the sixth profile in this series.

So Eluterio, tell us a bit about where you’re from.
Well, I’m a native New Mexican and was born and raised just up the road from Los Alamos, in Abiquiuú. As a teenager growing up in those parts, I had the pleasure of meeting Georgia O’Keeffe and even worked for her briefly one summer, an experience that I still treasure.

Where have your travels taken you and which places were your favorites?
After I graduated from high school, I joined the Army and got to live in Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. I also spent 13 months in Korea, which was the most rewarding and probably my favorite, although I didn’t think so it at the time.

Can you tell me a little about what it was like to grow up in the area, post WWII?
As a boy, I started visiting Los Alamos in the 50s, when it was still a “closed” town. At the time, my father worked for Zia Company and lived in a dormitory located where the LA Family YMCA sits now, directly behind the present-day Bradbury Science Museum. Each summer, my father would get my mother, myself and my brother a day pass to visit him. I remember watching in awe as guards paced the catwalk overhead with their rifles, while we waited below for other guards to check our passes. I also remember going across the street to the theater, where I could watch a movie for about 25 cents, including a soda and popcorn!

As a young man, I returned to Los Alamos after my service in the military. It was here that I met and married my wife, and we rented our first apartment. Fortunately, I’d always wanted to live in Los Alamos, so agreeing to join her in town was an easy decision.

Can you tell me a little about your career?
I got my first job when I was just 11, pulling weeds in the potato fields for 25 cents an hour for local farmers. After a few years working with potatoes (and none too soon), I hired on with Zia Company in Los Alamos and spent the summer between my junior and senior years in high school with them. That’s when I got my “Z number,” and it was my first step towards a career with the Lab.

In 1969, after completing my service with the Army and returning to Los Alamos, I began working with the Lab as a machinist apprentice. Norris Bradbury was still the Lab’s director then, which means I’ve worked under every Lab director except for Oppenheimer!

What experiences come in handy when you’re working at the Museum?
Because I worked at the Lab during the Cold War, I got to experience Los Alamos and the Lab in a very different environment, to watch it evolve. I also got to watch first-hand as the Lab tackled serious, scientific challenges, to see the effort it takes to address and solve those challenges. This long history with the Lab, and with the local community, makes it easy for me to help visitors understand and connect to the Lab’s historic mission on a personal level.

What are some of your favorite parts about working at the Museum?
Really, I just enjoy the interaction with the public. On one hand, many of our visitors had never even heard of the Lab, or Los Alamos, until a relative or friend started work here. On the other hand, many have done their research and know more than I do. Either way, I get to meet folks from all around the world and share experiences; every day’s a win!