This week, Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed an agreement officially establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. This park, comprised of three former laboratories whose work was critical to the Manhattan Project, includes sites located in Los Alamos, NM, Hanford, WA; and, Oak Ridge, TN. Over many years, the National Trust has worked tirelessly with partners and the U.S. Congress to achieve a stated goal – to create a national park which acknowledges scientific innovation while depicting the complexities associated with this era of the American experience.
Secretary Moniz praised achievements emerging from the work of the Manhattan Project. The new park, he stated, “will provide the platform for our citizenry to understand the roots of this history and what it means for future responsibilities.” Secretary Jewell remarked how the park “can more widely tell the human story” of the 600,000 people who worked on the Manhattan project. “We are a country,” she stated, “that strives to tell the complete story.”
With the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park becomes one of over 50 national historical parks, including Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln Birthplace, Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, and Alaska’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
On December 21, 2014, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act was created, permitting the Departments of Energy and Interior a twelve-month window to agree on planning and management approaches necessary to establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The DOE and DOI estimate park planning will take two or more years, with three to five years needed to prepare the three sites for public access. Though park planning has yet to begin, locally-based museums and tours are currently available at each site with these amenities fully open to the public.
As one of the nation’s few national parks to focus on technology and industry, the Manhattan Project Park will engage the public in understanding innovative technology and engineering while creating sites which reflect on the legacy surrounding this era of American history.