The National Park Service is in need of volunteers at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, primarily to staff the visitor desk located in the lobby of the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum.
Volunteers are enrolled in the NPS Volunteer In Parks program, and are provided with a volunteer uniform (shirt). The Park unit operates on the same schedule as the Children’s Museum; volunteers work either a morning (10 am to 1 pm) or afternoon (1 pm to 4 pm) shift. The museum, and thus the Park, is closed Monday and Sunday morning. Typical duties at the desk include:
- Greeting visitors arriving from around the U.S. and other nations,
- Assisting visitors with applying date and the special Manhattan Project ink stamps in their NPS Passport books,
- Describing the Manhattan Project, the role of Oak Ridge in the Project, and the progression to the facilities that operate today,
- Describing the Signature Facilities for the Oak Ridge unit of the Park, and explain why facilities such as the Calutrons or the Graphite Reactor are not routinely accessible to the public,
- Explaining the relationship between the National Park Service and the various museums, such as the American Museum of Science and Energy, that provide additional displays and artifacts, and
- Assisting Park Rangers with execution of special programs.
The Oak Ridge unit of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is currently staffed by two NPS Rangers. The Park is dependent on volunteers to ensure the visitor desk remain staffed; at this time there are not sufficient volunteers to staff the Park on Sunday afternoons. The main qualification for a volunteer is the ability to greet and interact with Park visitors, and to reliably appear at their scheduled times. Schedules are flexible; some volunteers work a regular shift while others may only work one shift a month.
Prospective volunteers can call either of the Park Rangers, Christie Rechin or Ian Wilder, at (865) 482-1942 for more information. However, the best way to learn more about volunteering with the Park is to simply come up to the desk at the Children’s Museum (461 W. Outer Drive) and chat with the volunteer and ranger on duty.