The Hanford History Project is making Tri-Cities history come alive this month
RICHLAND, Wash. — This month culminates a year-long initiative by members of the Tri-Cities community to commemorate a key period in local and international history – the 75th anniversary of the Hanford site.
On September 26, 1944, the B Reactor at Hanford was launched. Throughout the month of September, WSU Tri-Cities’ Hanford History Project will offer several events for the community to learn more about the unique history of Hanford and the impact that it has had on the region, state and world.
“The best way for us to be able to understand our current conditions is to have an understanding of the way that the past has helped shape the present circumstances and the way that the past can provide a guide for us moving into the future,” said Michael Mays, director of the Hanford History Project.
The plutonium used for the nuclear bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945 was produced by workers at Hanford at the B Reactor during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. Hanford is now the site of one of the world’s largest nuclear cleanup efforts.
The Hanford History Project was started in 2014 with the goal of informing the community about the history of Hanford and its part in World War II and the Cold War. Since its formation, the group has gathered 200 oral histories from the community and digitized another 100 oral histories that had been collected by other groups.
HHP also manages the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Collection and over the years has added artifacts donated by the community to its repository as well.
Other ongoing projects include partnering with WSU for a book series and educational outreach initiatives. The Hanford History Project also partnered with Visit Tri-Cities to create the Hanford 75 website.
“We think this is a really amazing community and the history here is just so little known in some ways and yet so incredible,” said Mays. “We’re really happy to be a part of it and helping to document it.”
To learn more about the Hanford History Project or get involved, click here.
Following is a list of the Hanford History Project’s September events:
“People of the Manhattan Project: Building an Atomic City” exhibition
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the WSU Tri-Cities CIC Art Gallery
Will feature a range of artifacts from the DOE’s Hanford Collection and the Hanford History Project’s extensive collections. The gallery will be open during regular campus hours through the beginning of October 2019.
Day’s Pay Bomber presentation
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the WSU Tri-Cities East Auditorium
On July 23, 1944, Hanford employees each gave a day’s worth of their pay to purchase the B-17 bomber for the war effort. Descendants of the crew who worked on the Day’s Pay Bomber will discuss the role of their parents in the war and the impact that Hanford employees made on the war effort.
“Something Extraordinary – A Short History of the Manhattan Project, Hanford and the B Reactor” book launch
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Hanford Unit Visitors Center
Local Tri-Cities independent historian C. Mark Smith and former Hanford physicist Bob Ferguson will discuss their new book, which provides a concise, but comprehensive narrative of the geopolitics and atomic research that led to the creation of the Manhattan Project.
11 a.m. – 8 p.m. at Howard Amon Park in Richland
A family-friendly event that honors a community event popular in the early days of Hanford. The day will bring back to life the 1940s era with music, games, a mess hall dinner, storytelling and Hanford-related exhibits. A parade will begin the day at 11 a.m. along George Washington Way.