The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is offering free admission this weekend, including Sunday, December 3, inviting the public to view the Parks-in-Focus photography exhibit developed in partnership with the National Park Service and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The exhibit, with photos taken by young photographers from Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge, was first shown at the Children’s Museum Gala on Friday, December 2, when the museum’s annual benefit celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service. The Gala, “Tribute to the National Parks—A Centennial Celebration,” was an official National Park Service Centennial Event.
The photographs will be on exhibit throughout the month of December in the Imagination Gallery at the museum, 461 West Outer Drive in Oak Ridge.
The third- and fourth-grade girls from Girls Inc. have taken photos at Manhattan Project National Historical Park sites, participating in the National Park Service’s Parks-in-Focus program. Through the program, cameras are provided to young photographers, and park volunteers help them learn about photography and the national parks.
“The program encourages youth to interpret nature and history in the national parks through photography, getting youth involved and getting them outdoors. Our girls have really enjoyed it,” said Alanna Hunsaker, programs director at Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge.
The girls have visited and photographed Historic Jackson Square, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and New Bethel Baptist Church and cemetery, on land taken over by the federal government for the Manhattan Project during World War II. They plan to meet with photographer Ed Westcott, Hunsaker said.
Westcott was the first and only official photographer to cover the construction and operation of the wartime plants. He also recorded daily life in Oak Ridge during and after World War II.
As the Parks-in-Focus program continues at Girls Inc., the girls will also be introduced to other area national parks—Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and Obed Wild and Scenic River. The program connects youth to the parks through photography and creativity, as well as environmental education and outdoor recreation.
“The Children’s Museum shares the National Park Service’s interest in preserving history and encouraging children to play and learn outdoors,” said Beth Shea, Children’s Museum executive director. The Kids Go Green! Environmental Center and Garden at the museum takes kids outdoors to plant, grow and harvest vegetables, fruits and herbs, and several indoor exhibits focus on the history of this area.
The museum and Imagination Gallery will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, from 1-4 p.m. Sundays, and from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For more information, see the Children’s Museum website at www.childrensmusemofoakridge.org.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release was submitted by Kay Brookshire.