Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon

In 2018 the Doomsday Clock was set to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever been to striking midnight since the height of the Cold War in 1953 when both the United States and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time within ten months of each other. Today, while the Cold War’s lessons and fears have largely faded from our collective memory, it is critical to view a decidedly uncertain present through the lens of the past.

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol created in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as a metaphor to communicate humanity’s proximity to self-destruction. The Doomsday Clock and “2 Minutes to Midnight” are both protected trademarks of the Bulletin, a nonprofit organization that equips the public, policymakers, and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to our existence. Visit: learn more.

Through two photographic essays, photographers Jeanine Michna-Bales and Adam Reynolds offer a calculated look at the “Architecture of Armageddon,” both the offensive and defensive implications of nuclear war. These quiet architectural spaces, devoid of people, allow viewers to come face to face with present nuclear realities while also offering a look into the collective psyche of the American people during the Cold War.

Reynolds’s project, No Lone Zone, documents the offensive side of the Cold War through nuclear missile silos in the United States. It provides a contemplated look at the nuts and bolts of Mutually Assured Destruction, the MAD logic behind nuclear deterrence. Michna-Bales’s project, Fallout, delivers typological documentation of the defensive side through various shelters and propaganda across the United States, both private and public. These fallout shelters, endorsed through Civil Defense programs, in reality offered little more than a government sponsored placebo to the American people, convincing them that something tangible was being done in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

This exhibition is aimed to spark curiosity, and encourage discourse among audiences of all backgrounds as the works seek out places that are often hidden in plain sight. While Mid-America Arts Alliance and Exhibits USA consulted with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon, it is not an official Bulletin exhibit.

About the artists

Jeanine Michna-Bales is a fine artist working in the medium of photography. Her work explores our fundamentally important relationships—to the land, to other people and to oneself—and how they impact contemporary society. Her work lives at the intersection of curiosity and knowledge, documentary and fine art, past and present, anthropology and sociology, and environmentalism and activism. Her practice is based on in-depth research—taking into account different viewpoints, causes and effects, political climates—and she often incorporates primary source material into her projects. Her images have appeared in solo and group exhibitions around the United States, including ExhibitsUSA’s current traveling exhibition Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad.

Adam Reynolds is a documentary photographer whose work focuses on contemporary political conflict. He pursues visual research projects that balance photographic creativity with a journalist’s thematic fidelity. Reynolds has worked as a freelance photojournalist in the United States and the Middle East, where he lived in Israel/Palestine, Egypt, and Yemen. Reynolds’s photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad.

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Tour Schedule

Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon is touring April 2021 through March 2026. The dates below reflect seven-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • April 6–May 25, 2021 Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum
    Temple, TX
  • June 16–August 11, 2021 Texas Tech University
    Lubbock, TX
  • September 1, 2021-January 7, 2022 Irving Museum and Archives
    Irving, TX
  • November 10, 2022–January 7, 2023 National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
    Albuqueque, NM
  • January 28–March 16, 2023 Museum of Science and History
    Memphis, TN
  • September 1–October 20, 2023 Louisiana Old State Capitol
    Baton Rouge, LA
  • November 10, 2023–January 7, 2024 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
  • January 28–March 16, 2024 National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
    Pooler, GA
  • June 16–August 11, 2024 City of Carrollton
    Carrollton, TX
  • September 1, 2024–January 7, 2025 MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
    Little Rock, AR
  • January 28–March 16, 2025 Converse Library at Glenrock
    Glenrock, WY
  • April 6–May 25, 2025
  • June 16–August 11, 2025 Park City Museum
    Park City, UT
  • September 1–October 20, 2025 Western Heritage Museum
    Hobbs, NM
  • November 10, 2025–January 7, 2026
  • January 28–March 16, 2026

Exhibition Details

48 photographic images

  • Content

    Fee Includes:
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Organized By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee


  • In-Region Rental Fee


  • Duration

    7 weeks

  • Shipping

    Van Line

  • Running Feet

    275 minimum

  • Square Feet


  • Security

    Moderate B

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    4 crates estimated/TBD

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.

Downloads & Resources

Click HERE to view and download the Factsheet for Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon.