LM interpretive centers in Colorado, Missouri, Ohio now open
Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) closed its doors to all three of its interpretive centers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. LM staff quickly adjusted to the closure, offering a variety of virtual programming and events to the public, until federal guidelines for workers allowed opening the interpretive indoor spaces again.
Starting Friday, April 15, LM has reopened its interpretive centers. The Atomic Legacy Cabin in Grand Junction, Colorado; the Fernald Visitors Center near Hamilton, Ohio; and the new Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center in St. Charles, Missouri, will again welcome visitors indoors. Each of the three centers are open during normal business hours. Staff at the three sites will continue to produce and host virtual programming for audiences.
Protection of human health and the environment is always LM’s top priority. Visitors are encouraged to continue practicing COVID-19 protocols including social distancing and proper hygiene such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and staying home when feeling ill. Face cover requirements follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) county transmission levels. You can preview face cover requirements by searching either Hamilton County, Ohio; St. Charles, Missouri; or Mesa County, Colorado, in the CDC’s COVID-19 by County tool.
Staff will continue to monitor guidance from the federal government, CDC, and state and local health departments. Adjustments to protocols may change with community conditions.
Members of the public are encouraged to celebrate, explore, and discover the various offerings across these three facilities.
LM has several sites that are regularly open to visitors. It’s important to us that members of the public have access to the information they need to be confident about the safety of our sites. LM’s visitor and interpretive centers provide valuable information to communities about the history of sites, their cleanups, and our ongoing long-term stewardship work.
LM also collaborates with other organizations at multiple public interpretive centers related to our sites and our mission.
DOE Office of Legacy Management Operated Centers
Fernald Preserve, Ohio, Visitors Center
The Fernald Preserve Visitors Center is a 10,000-square-foot, platinum-certified U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design facility that celebrates the rich and varied history of the Fernald site. A series of exhibits place the site’s uranium production and environmental cleanup eras into a broad historical perspective, acknowledging Native American occupation, European settlement, agricultural production, ecological restoration and today’s legacy management mission.
Grand Junction, Colorado, Atomic Legacy Cabin
The Atomic Legacy Cabin is an interpretive center located at the DOE Grand Junction, Colorado, office. The cabin was once the epicenter of the nationwide search for uranium that was started by the Manhattan Project and later escalated during the Cold War. Visitors can learn about the uranium history of the Colorado Plateau and LM’s continuing mission in the southwestern United States.
Weldon Spring, Missouri, Site Interpretive Center
The Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center presents a window to the past and DOE’s commitment to the future through long-term surveillance and maintenance of the Weldon Spring Site and a strong community partnership. Adjacent to the center is the 75-foot-high Weldon Spring disposal cell with a viewing platform that offers a panoramic view of St. Charles County and the surrounding Howell Prairie.
Non-Federally Operated Centers
Dr. Modesto Iriarte Technology Museum, Rincón, Puerto Rico
The Dr. Modesto Iriarte Technology Museum is in the decommissioned Boiling Nuclear Superheater (BONUS) reactor, located northwest of Rincón, Puerto Rico. The reactor was developed as a prototype nuclear power plant using superheated steam. It was the eighth nuclear power plant constructed in the world, and first in Latin America. During operations from 1965 to 1968, 694 scientists and students from 41 foreign counties received training at the BONUS facility. Visitors to the museum can view the intact control room, learn about the history of the BONUS site, as well as the development of electric power and nuclear energy.
Mound, Ohio, Cold War Discovery Center
The Mound Cold War Discovery Center is a collaboration between the Mound Science and Energy Museum Association, a non-profit organization that was established to collect, preserve, and make publicly accessible the heritage of the Mound Laboratory and Dayton History, a private non-profit (501c3) organization established to preserve, share, and celebrate the history of the Dayton, Ohio, region. Visitors to the center can learn about the top-secret, scientific work of the Mound Laboratory that revolutionized Cold War, Nuclear Age, and Space Race history; the subsequent environmental cleanup; and today’s ongoing legacy management.
Non-LM, Federally-Operated Centers
Manhattan Project National Historical Park
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park (MAPR) is managed through a collaborative partnership by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to preserve, interpret, and facilitate access to key historical resources associated with the Manhattan Project. The park incorporates three of the most significant Manhattan Project sites: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington.
The various interpretive centers associated with the park are operated by several different organizations. LM has a coordinating role for the park within DOE.
Savannah River Site Museum, Aiken, South Carolina
The Savannah River Site (SRS) Museum is a product of the SRS Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of SRS. Located in downtown Aiken, South Carolina, the SRS Museum makes publicly accessible the history of SRS in an engaging, interactive way. Visitors to the museum will discover how the site’s arrival affected life before the plant, how the Cold War and the nuclear arms race impacted the region, the role of SRS in national security, the ecological impact of SRS on the Central Savannah River Area, and the site’s current cleanup efforts.