Celebrating Hanford’s 75th anniversary with community events

100-B area of the Hanford Site
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Collection / 100-B area of the Hanford Site.

RICHLAND, Wash. – In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Hanford Site, Washington State University Tri-Cities’ Hanford History Project will host and partner to offer several activities throughout the month of September that provide a glimpse into the unique history of Hanford and impact that it has had on the region, state and world.

“Hanford is a unique place with unique history,” said Robert Franklin, assistant director of the WSU Tri-Cities Hanford History Project. “It is also a really complicated place, with a complicated history, but that is what makes it interesting. It had a huge impact on the development of the city of Richland, and it had an impact on the rest of the world.”

Hanford is the location of the world’s first large-scale nuclear reactor, the B Reactor, which also made the plutonium for the “Fat Man” nuclear bomb that was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945 during World War II. It led to the creation of a variety of scientific and engineering discoveries and technology. It is now the site of one of the world’s largest nuclear cleanup efforts.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about Hanford and its impact, especially on the regional Tri-Cities community,” Franklin said. “We want to make people more aware of just how accessible historical resources for Hanford are in our local community, and we want to bring that history to our community.”

“People of the Manhattan Project: Building an Atomic City” exhibition

Gallery Opening: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sept. 5
WSU Tri-Cities CIC Art Gallery

Festivities will open the month with a “People of Manhattan Project: Building an Atomic City” exhibition at WSU Tri-Cities that will feature a range of artifacts from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Collection and the Hanford History Project’s extensive collections.

A grand opening will be held 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Sept. 5 in the Consolidated Information Center Art Gallery at WSU Tri-Cities, which is open to the public.

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. Sept. 12
WSU Tri-Cities East Auditorium

Individuals will be treated to a rare occasion when 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.

The presentation will take place from 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 in the WSU Tri-Cities East Auditorium.

The Day’s Pay is a large part of local history related to Hanford and the war effort, Franklin said. On July 23, 1944, Hanford Engineer Works employees each gave a day’s worth of their pay to purchase the B-17 bomber for the war effort, which is where it gets its name. It flew more than 60 missions in Europe.

Artifacts will be on display as part of the presentation, and individuals will get to view a rare clip of the plane being christened at the Hanford Construction Camp in July 1944.

“Something Extraordinary – A Short History of the Manhattan Project, Hanford and the B Reactor” book launch

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13
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 “Something Extraordinary – A Short History of the Manhattan Project, Hanford and the B Reactor” during a launch from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Hanford Unit Visitors Center, 2000 Logston Blvd. in Richland.

The book provides a concise, but comprehensive, narrative of the geopolitics and atomic research that led to the creation of the Manhattan Project.

Atomic Frontier Day

11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sept. 14
Howard Amon Park in Richland

The City of Richland and other community partners, including the Hanford History Project, are hosting “Atomic Frontier Day,” a family-friendly event that honors a community event popular in the early days of Hanford. Festivities run from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at Howard Amon Park in Richland.

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. View the full schedule.

Find more information on all Hanford 75th anniversary events throughout the year.

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