After hearing plans for an exhibit featuring an original Oak Ridge flat top house, the Oak Ridge Panhellenic Alumnae Association decided to support efforts by the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge to restore and maintain the house.
Joan Vicary, Panhellenic Alumnae Association president, recently presented Children’s Museum Executive Director Beth Shea with a check for $1,800 to help complete the exhibit.
“The decision was unanimous that we wanted to support this project,” Vicary said. The association holds fundraisers and selects an Oak Ridge organization to support each year, a press release said. Members of the group visited the flat top on the museum’s grounds, heard plans for the history exhibit, and decided to help with funds raised in 2019, she explained.
The flat top had been open for visitors at the American Museum of Science and Energy until AMSE closed for the move to its new location on Main Street, and the Children’s Museum offered to give the flat top a new home. The move to the Children’s Museum, at 461 West Outer Drive, brought the flat top back to a Manhattan Project neighborhood and near its original site at 68 Outer Drive.
In the yard beside the flat top, the National Park Service has planted a Victory Garden, similar to gardens families cultivated during World War II, so that visitors can learn about life during the war and the importance of these gardens to the war effort. The Park Service’s Visitor Contact Center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is located at the Children’s Museum.
“Once it is open for visitors, the exhibit will invite visitors to touch history and to learn more about life during the Manhattan Project, when thousands of workers flocked to Oak Ridge to work on a secret project for the war effort in the early 1940s,” Shea said. The house will open later this year, she said.
Vicary said members of the Oak Ridge Panhellenic Alumnae Association are women who have been affiliated with a National Panhellenic Sorority during college. Among its objectives are furthering interest in community service and philanthropic efforts and providing recommendations for prospective university recruiting. Anyone interested in learning more about the association may call Vicary at (865) 272-3223.
For more information about the Children’s Museum exhibit, contact Beth Shea, the Museum’s executive director, by email at [email protected] or by phone at (865) 482-1074.
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More information will be added as it becomes available.
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