In the early 1940’s, while World War II was raging in Europe, the Germans were eagerly seeking a fuel source for a weapon that would give them the ultimate power. Meanwhile, the United States, was just as eagerly looking for a site in the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee to build a top-secret city that would be used to create the world’s first Atomic Bomb.
Seventy-five thousand people converged on a rural area in 1943 in East Tennessee and not only built four massive production facilities, but they also built a city complete with housing, churches, stores, schools, and even a bus system.
If you want to learn everything you can about Oak Ridge and it’s contribution to ending World War II, we recommend visiting the following museums to learn the fascinating story:
K-25 History Center: The History Center is a 7,500 square foot facility that features interactive exhibits with more than 250 original artifacts, all sharing the incredible story of the men and women who constructed and operated a site that helped to end a global war and power America. Here's a sneak peek of the K-25 History Center.
The next museum we recommend visiting to continue learning all about Oak Ridge is the Oak Ridge History Museum. This museum really dives into the history of the people of the Manhattan Project and their daily lives. Visitors will see hundreds of historical and visual artifacts from the Secret City. Take a quick tour with us through the museum.
The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) tells the story of the advances in science and engineering that have occurred in Oak Ridge since the first days of the Manhattan Project. AMSE is educational for both adults and children and offers a variety of fun, interactive exhibits to keep visitors engaged. Be sure to check out the 3D printed Jeep at the museum. Here is a brief overview of what you'll see at AMSE.
We also recommend a visit to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park headquarters located at the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge. Visitors can meet with a park ranger to discuss the history of the Secret City and learn about other places throughout the city of Oak Ridge that tell a part of the history. In addition to speaking with a ranger, the Children's Museum's “Difficult Decisions” and “Manhattan Project” exhibits house many artifacts from the period and help tell the story of Oak Ridge for all ages.