Interpretive themes convey park significance. Primary interpretive themes are the key ideas through which the park’s nationally significant resource values are conveyed to the public. They connect park resources to the larger ideas, meaning, and values of which they are a part. They are the building blocks—the core content—on which the interpretive program is based. Each primary theme may connect to a number of specific stories or subthemes. These elements are helpful in designing individual services, ensuring that the main aspects of primary themes are addressed.
The following interpretive themes have been identified for Manhattan Project National Historical Park:
-- The "secret cities" created by the Manhattan Project, and the sacrifice and displacement connected to them, exemplified this massive wartime effort demonstrating remarkable opportunities to reflect on the extraordinary lengths to which people and nations go to to protect their futures.
-- Revolutionary science and engineering fueled the race to create the world’s first atomic bomb, making the park a powerful illustration of technological innovation and collaboration, and offering guidance and insight into solving today’s complex problems.
-- From beginning to end, the Manhattan Project, its WWII context, and the many complex decisions ultimately leading to the bomb that unleashed incomprehensible destructive power, prompt us to confront the profound choices and consequences that we continue to struggle with today.
-- The Manhattan Project thrust humanity into the nuclear age and forever changed the world, provoking consideration of both dramatic scientific and technological advances as well as severe human and environmental costs.