We are excited to announce that a brand new attraction is now open in Oak Ridge, TN! The Oak Ridge History Museum launched in September to fill a niche in the Secret City’s museum scene. While the popular American Museum of Science and Energy tells the story of the Manhattan Project, it does so primarily from a scientific perspective. In contrast, the new Oak Ridge History Museum shines a light on the “human side” of the Manhattan Project, focusing on history and people’s day-to-day lives during World War II.
To help you prepare for your next visit to the Secret City, we have put together a guide to everything we know about the new Oak Ridge History Museum.
What to Expect at the Oak Ridge History Museum
According to an article in The Oak Ridger, The Oak Ridge History Museum has received or purchased 100 items from the American Museum of Science and Energy, including a timeline of Oak Ridge’s history, a model of the United Church, Chapel on the Hill, and displays about the founding of Oak Ridge and Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves.
In addition to these items, the Oak Ridge History Museum will also showcase historical artifacts, some of which come from the private collection of the museum’s Co-Chairwoman Betty Stokes and her husband Lloyd. Artifacts that will be housed at the museum include vintage Boy Scout uniforms, badges, patches, newspapers, and pins.
The Oak Ridge History Museum is currently displaying a 1945 map of the city, antique furniture (including pieces from the Alexander Guest House), a telephone switchboard from Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a bag dispenser from the McCrory’s store in Jackson Square, and records and equipment used by Oak Ridge DJ Bill Pollock.
As time goes on, the Oak Ridge History Museum hopes to open additional rooms and add a small auditorium for films.
Oak Ridge History Museum Location
The Oak Ridge History Museum is located at the Midtown Community Center at 102 Robertsville Road, Oak Ridge, TN. The community center is a piece of Oak Ridge history in itself, having been constructed during 1944 and 1945. The building has gone through many iterations throughout the years, serving as a bathhouse and laundry, a hangout for students, a senior center, and the Oak Ridge Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Oak Ridge History Museum Cost
The Oak Ridge History Museum is completely free to enjoy! However, donations are always welcome.
Oak Ridge History Museum Hours
As of October 2018, the Oak Ridge History Museum is open on Thursdays and Fridays (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.). The museum’s website currently refers to these hours as “previews of the future museum” and encourages visitors to talk to volunteers about what sort of topics they would like the ORHM to cover.
Although the museum’s hours are currently limited, members of the Oak Ridge Heritage & Preservation Association have expressed interest in opening the OHRM to tour groups by request. For more information, check out the official Oak Ridge History Museum website: oakridgemuseum.com
Learn More About Oak Ridge’s History
Before your visit to the Oak Ridge History Museum, you can read up on the Secret City’s fascinating past right on our website! Check out our History page to learn about Oak Ridge’s early days and the Manhattan Project.