The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supports exhibits, museums, and historic facilities across the country dedicated to displaying and interpreting the history of the Department and its scientific and technological missions and accomplishments. Public tours are also available at some DOE sites. With the opening of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park on November 10, 2015, access to DOE properties that are part of the park will be expanded as the new park is implemented. For additional information, see the National Park Service's Manhattan Project National Historical Park webpage.
The DOE headquarters building and some of the DOE field sites have public visitor centers. The visitor centers frequently display history exhibits. The cornerstone of the public visitor center in the lobby at the Forrestal headquarters in Washington, D.C., is a major permanent Manhattan Project exhibit. The lobby exhibits also include a timeline covering the length of a long wall and highlighting significant energy history events and departmental milestones going back to World War II, a listing of DOE's Nobel and other significant prize winners, and a display of various historical and scientific artifacts. In the field, the Discovery Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, has a broad-based science and technology display and exhibits on the laboratory’s history. The Y-12 History Center at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, houses informational materials and historical artifacts that chronicle Y-12's early missions. Other field sites maintain similar displays.
DOE supports five major museums located at or near field sites:
- American Museum of Science and Energy, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
- Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
- The Reach, Richland, Washington.
- National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Each museum is idiosyncratic, arising from particular local needs and with varying funding and management relationships with DOE. All have history exhibits, and all, except for the Bradbury Science Museum, charge admission.
Several DOE sites maintain historic facilities that are open to the public. The Experimental Breeder Reactor-1, at the Idaho National Laboratory outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho, is open to the public and contains exhibits and displays. Although walk-in access has been curtailed, the control room and reactor face of the X-10 Graphite Reactor located on the campus of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are accessible via public bus tour offered by the DOE Oak Ridge office. The tour highlights all three DOE Oak Ridge facilities: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex (with a stop at the History Center), and the East Tennessee Technology Park (formerly K-25). At the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington, DOE offers public bus tours of the B Reactor, the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor, and other historical properties on the site. The tour includes a 75-minute guided walking tour of the B Reactor.
Public tours are also available at other DOE and related sites. Twice a year, the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range opens to visitors the Trinity Site, where the world's first atomic test device was exploded in 1945. DOE's Nevada Site office offers day-long tours of the Nevada National Security Site, formerly the Nevada Test Site, outside Las Vegas, Nevada, on a monthly basis.
Some of the links on this page are subject to the DOE disclaimer.