50 Years Ago: Government stops investigating UFOs
Press Release · Wednesday, November 20, 2019
To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of Project Blue Book, the National Archives will display records from the Air Force's unidentified flying objects (UFOs) investigations. The documents display opens on December 5, 2019, and runs through January 8, 2020.
The display will be in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. Museum hours are 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Enter on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.
Featured Document Display: 50 Years Ago—Government stops investigating UFOs
Report of a “flying saucer” over U.S. airspace in 1947 caused a wave of “UFO hysteria” and sparked Federal investigation of unidentified flying objects. For more than 20 years, the U.S. Air Force analyzed UFO sightings and any security threat they posed; most notably through Project Blue Book, which launched in 1952.
After investigations found no evidence of any UFO that was extraterrestrial in nature or that threatened national security, the Air Force announced Project Blue Book’s termination on December 17, 1969. Of the 12,618 UFO sightings reported between 1947 and 1969, 701 remained “unidentified.” Project Blue Book concluded its investigation 50 years ago, but American fascination with UFOs endures.
Project Blue Book’s duration coincided with a tumultuous period in American history. Domestic unrest during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War protests had spurred growing American distrust of the government. Aware of this mounting skepticism, the Air Force quickly declassified and transferred its UFO investigation records to the National Archives, where they are available for public examination. The records on display come from those files.
Related online resources:
- The Text Message blog post, “See Something, Say Something”: UFO Reporting Requirements, Office of Military Government for Bavaria, Germany, May 1948
- National Archives News: Do Records Show Proof of UFOs?
- Prologue: Pieces of History Blog: INVASION! (of privacy)
- Prologue: Pieces of History Blog: UFOs: Natural Explanations
- Prologue: Pieces of History Blog: UFOs: Man-Made, Made Up, and Unknown
This page was last reviewed on November 26, 2019.
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