Source: The Oak Ridger | Ben Pounds | October 19, 2018
Even though it was a weekday morning, more than 100 people showed up for songs, speeches and “Science Fair” trailers as the new American Museum of Science and Energy location held its grand opening on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.
The museum recently moved from Tulane Avenue to its present, smaller home in the Main Street Oak Ridge shopping center.
AMSE’s new space isn’t a new building, though it hasn’t served as a museum in the past. The building was at earlier times occupied by a Sears appliance store and Downtown Hardware, though the space had remained empty and unused for many years before the recent renovations were undertaken to transform the wasted space into a modern museum and updated tourist attraction.
Currently, the new AMSE space has exhibits related to Oak Ridge technology and research and fields of study related to it, starting with the Manhattan Project — which produced the world’s first nuclear weapons — and continuing on through supercomputing, environmental cleanup, 3-D printing and energy sources.
The “new” Oak Ridge museum combines some exhibits from the previous AMSE location, including interactive activities with a robotic arm and blocks, with more modern and less dated touchscreen exhibits, including one near the front entrance which gives an interactive map of Oak Ridge.
The reopened-and-restructured museum already had a “soft opening” starting Oct. 5, and Ken Tarcza, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office, announced Thursday morning that almost 2,000 people had already walked through the new museum’s doors.
“You are just a few moments away from seeing a truly remarkable facility that tells the story of Oak Ridge,” Tarcza told the crowd gathered outside the museum for a peek of the new AMSE facility.
Other officials present also spoke about the museum and about Oak Ridge, Tenn., in general.
Paul M. Dabbar, Under Secretary of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy said the new museum featured programs on which the DOE was working right now.
Regarding manufacturing, for example, the museum features a 3-D printed Army-style Jeep.
DOE’s Dabbar also spoke about the physics and chemistry Nobel Prize winners who have worked for national labs including in Oak Ridge.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Third District, also spoke and stated, “There’s no other place in the country, maybe no other place in the world, like Oak Ridge.”