The “Secret City” Revealed
Discover how Hanford was involved in WWII as the history behind one of the U.S. Government’s most important secret war projects, also known as the Manhattan Project, unfolds. Visit CREHST Museum to discover the power of nuclear energy as Hanford, one of three “Secret Cities”, is revealed through our series of exhibits and rarely seen 1940s Hanford photographs. Continued production through the Cold War era is presented through displays, hands-on experiences, and operating tools used in the production of plutonium. Current and future efforts to clean up the legacy of plutonium production demonstrate the high price our pocketbooks and our environment paid for victory.
The history of Hanford is depicted in several exhibits, including
- the “Three Faces of Richland”
- Day’s Pay, the B-17 donated by Hanford workers to the War effort
- guard shack security point
- an early engineering office
- single- and double-shell waste tanks
- Hot Cell robotic remote manipulator (a hands-on exhibit)
- models of early reactors
- …and much more!
See close-up and aerial photos of the Hanford construction camp; from views of the trailer camps, to photos of Richland’s Prefab housing and the business district. This exhibit also includes photos of the Hanford mess halls, a profile of Hitler sign which hung outside the Hanford Savings Bond building, a hands-on radiation detector and much more!
A Rolling Piece of History
Upon arriving in the CREHST Museum parking lot, you will be greeted by a rolling piece of Hanford history…the Hanford Transport Bus! From 1953-1979 Hanford workers would board the GMC bus to make the round trip trek from Richland and surrounding areas to the 586 square mile nuclear reservation. Equipped with handrails, overhead storage racks and ashtrays, workers would board the maroon and cream colored buses, set up game tables and take in a game of poker, pinochle, or bridge during the ride to and from the nuclear reactor site. Today CREHST uses the bus as a traveling exhibit for events such as Heritage Days at Sacajawea State Park in Pasco. CREHST Museum relies on donations for maintenance of this relic of Hanford history.
Begin your visit to CREHST Museum by viewing some of the indigenous wildlife of the Columbia Basin Valley. From ring-necked pheasant, coyotes, goshawks and mule deer, you can come face to face with the wildlife that inhabits this rich, fertile area. See if you can find the rattlesnake!
Three Faces of Richland
The rich, fertile land of the Columbia Basin was first inhabited in the early 1800’s by Native American people, the “Chemnapums”.
At the height of World War II, 51,000 employees of the Hanford Engineer Works each contributed to the war effort by donating a day’s wages for the construction of a Boeing B-17 bomber.
Signs of the Times
In 1991 several hundred historical signs were found in a pit located on the Hanford site. Dating back to the dawn of the Atomic Age, several of these original signs are now on permanent exhibit at CREHST Museum. One of the signs is a profile of Hitler which hung on the outside of the Savings Bond building.
The first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world, Hanford’s B-Reactor, was constructed in 1943. Designed to produce the powerful and devastating fuel used for nuclear bombs, Hanford’s B and K Reactors used metallic natural uranium, a graphite core and a water cooling system to make the first advances in nuclear fission history to produce plutonium.
CREHST Museum’s Science Lab presents the wonders of cutting-edge science right at visitors’ fingertips. From intelligent touch screen computers to interactive labs throughout the exhibit, there’s something for everyone: launch an object with a catapult, power a motor with your bare hands, solve math problems using a life-sized Abacus, and more! Visit often as these exhibits change frequently.