Sunday, February 21, 2016

Manhattan Project National Historical Park: Oak Ridge, Tennessee Unit

It was a rainy day today but Noelle, Sierra and I all wanted to get out f the house for a bit. I knew the most logical way to spend a rainy day outside the house was a museum visit and so we headed west to Oak Ridge and the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. This is one of the newest units of the National Park Service and an unusual park in that it is spread over three units in three different states: Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington. Because the park is so new, it is not completely set up yet. A visit to the Tennessee unit requires a visit to the American Museum of Science and Energy.

We arrived at the museum right at opening time: 1 pm. The staff did not seem quite ready for visitors when we arrived and so we milled around the lobby a bit
silly Daddy
before they were ready for us to pay the $5 per adult entrance fee. There were some interesting exhibits about the town of Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project. There were also lots of exhibits about energy; not just atomic energy, but coal, oil, etc. Many of the exhibits were outdated and there were several interactive science exhibits that did not work at all. It was a bit disappointing.
radioisotopes sign

One of the highlights of the visit was that of a Flattop House which housed the workers who worked on the Manhattan Project.
Flat House
ACE pillow
There was also some interesting information regarding the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The exhibit talked about why that site was chosen and what its purpose is. Overall, I would say that the museum could use some work. As I mentioned earlier, many exhibits seemed old and some others were too wordy. It should be interesting to see how the National Park Service partners with the existing museum in the future. Of course before we left we had to get our Passport stamps.
passport stamps
Then we got in the car for our drive back to Greeneville.

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