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Grants at Work: Preserving the history of the Manhattan Project

During World War II, America led an effort to develop a functional atomic weapon. Its code name: the Manhattan Project. Some 125,000 people from a variety of backgrounds secretly worked on this project, and many were unaware of the project’s purpose. The history of the Manhattan Project is extensive and fascinating, and the Atomic Heritage Foundation has worked over the years to preserve this important piece of our nation’s history.

With support from several Trust grants, AHF is capturing oral histories of the Manhattan Project from veterans and their families and developing educational resources for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. AHF has built models, interpretive exhibits and audio/visual vignettes for the B Reactor in Hanford and developed programs for its two educational websites: Ranger in Your Pocket and Voices of the Manhattan Project.

Ranger in Your Pocket features online tours of the Manhattan Project properties, including the voices of people who participated in the Project. The Voices website is one of the most robust Manhattan Project oral history collections available online, with more than 470 interviews, including dozens of archival records from Project leaders General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer. It has become an important resource for scholars, educators, journalists, TV and documentary producers and the general public.

With a recent Trust grant, an additional 75 interviews were recorded for the Voices website and two new Ranger programs were produced—one about the African-American community at Hanford and one about the Hanford site’s environmental legacy. The Murdock Trust is pleased to partner with AHF on preserving an important piece of our country’s history.