WSU inks deal to help preserve Hanford objects artifacts

Artifacts are from Cold War era and Manhattan Project

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SPOKANE — Washington State University has signed a contract to help preserve the Manhattan Project and Cold War history of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

WSU Tri-Cities will provide curatorial and archivist services, as well as a repository for the collection.

“This collection contains Hanford’s most significant and unique objects from the Manhattan Project and Cold War era,” said Colleen French, National Park Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Richland office.

The contract with WSU will “ensure expert care of the collection and make it available to the community, students, researchers, and the visiting public,” French said.

Hanford was created by some 50,000 workers during World War II to make plutonium for nuclear weapons and continued to make plutonium during most of the Cold War era. The site, near Richland in souith-central Washington, is now engaged in a massive nuclear waste cleanup. However, the artifacts being collected are not radioactive.

Hanford will be part of the upcoming Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The history of how a desolate farming region in rural Washington became a key part of the nation’s nuclear infrastructure is fascinating, and historic tours of Hanford typically fill up quickly.

Washington State University is a subcontractor to Mission Support Alliance in preserving the physical history of the site. WSU’s subcontract with MSA runs through September 30, and includes four one-year option periods, totaling more than $800,000.

Under the contract, WSU will inventory and track the collection, clean and stabilize objects, and make portions of the collection available for public display.