Young visitors at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge enjoy splashing and floating boats through the locks and dams in the TVA Waterworks exhibit. When the aging exhibit needed an overhaul to stay afloat, Tennessee Valley Authority employees and retirees joined members of the local carpenters union to plan and make the needed repairs.
“The children love this exhibit even more, now that they have better access to it thanks to the carpenters. And it is safer for them in many ways thanks to the engineers. And they still love to get wet as they learn about locks and dams,” said Suzan Bowman, a Children’s Museum board member, speaking at a recent ribbon cutting for the renovated exhibit.
Bowman knew who to call for help when the Museum’s Facilities Manager Bucky Smith alerted the board that the exhibit needed refurbishing. She had worked for TVA for 30 years before her retirement and was president of the TVA Retirees Association. She realized that she knew many of the TVA employees who had built the model of locks and dams for the TVA barge at the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair, a model later donated to the Children’s Museum.
First, TVA employees from the Norris Engineering Laboratory visited the Museum to assess the model and discovered it was structurally unsound. Bowman then enlisted the aid of area TVA retirees, gathering a team to plan for improving the exhibit. Hal Stephens became the lead engineer on the project, with Bill Haire handling electrical engineering. Retirees R. Michael Parker, John and JoAnne Pantanizoppoulos, Bill and Sharon Pitkin, and David Gengozian also pitched in. [Read more…]