Office of Legacy Management

New Video Tours of Manhattan Project National Historical Park Sites

May 2, 2019

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The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is proud to host the premiere of the guided video tour of the historic calutron buildings 9731 and 9204 (Beta 3). Although neither facility is available for public tours, the inclusion and preservation of Building 9731 and Beta 3 as a part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is an assurance that this valuable legacy will be preserved for generations to come.

Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, which authorized the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and mandated the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with ensuring safe access to the Department’s Manhattan Project resources. Due to ongoing national security requirements and cleanup activities, some sites included in the park, such as the historic calutron buildings 9731 and 9204,  are not currently accessible to the public. In the meantime, DOE is committed to developing innovative and virtual approaches to connect DOE and its resources associated with the Manhattan Project.

Building 9731 was the pilot facility for the electromagnetic separation process of U-235 and U-238, and the first building completed on the Y-12 site in 1943. Beta 3 was one of the nine large buildings used to host the calutrons.

Electromagnetic separation had never been attempted at an industrial scale. However, the Manhattan Project required the Oak Ridge facilities to produce the uranium isotopes in the hopes of drawing World War II to a close. Decades later, this monumental research has been the foundation of countless innovations for medical, technological, military, and industrial development.

AMSE, originally named the American Museum of Atomic Energy, was established in 1949 in a former cafeteria building to provide educational programs focused on DOE’s past, present, and future missions. AMSE tells the story of national and global security, science, research, engineering, technology development, and environmental restoration successes that have occurred in Oak Ridge since the first days of the Manhattan Project.

The video preview is on display within AMSE’s Exploration Zone and available for viewing with standard museum admission. They were produced under the direction of Larry Gibbs and Y-12 Video Services and feature former Y-12 Historian Ray Smith. AMSE is open seven days a week; hours, admission rates, and special events are available on the web at amse.org.

For further information, please contact the museum at (865) 294-5431, or Marketing Specialist Matt Mullins at (865) 387-1791, or mmullins@amse.org.

Y-12 worker at Beta-3 control panel management. c. 1945
Y-12 worker at Beta-3 control panel management. c. 1945