Place

Children's Museum of Oak Ridge

A brick sign reads “Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge” in front of a large school building.
The Children's Museum of Oak Ridge houses the park's visitor center in Oak Ridge.

NPS/KLEIN

Quick Facts

Bicycle - Rack, Gifts/Souvenirs/Books, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information, Playground, Restroom

What do you think it was like to attend school in a secret city? For almost 30 years schoolchildren of Oak Ridge learned in this building, the former Highland View Elementary School.

In July of 1943, residents began moving into their Oak Ridge homes. The school year began on October 4th with just over 600 students enrolled in Oak Ridge schools. By the end of the school year, enrollment had swelled to 5,000 children. For the next two years, Oak Ridge continued to build schools for its rapidly growing population. Pine Valley opened in December 1943, Cedar Hill in early 1944, and Highland View and Glenwood later that same year. Towards the end of World War II, school enrollment had reached 11,000 students. The Oak Ridge school system could not keep up with the population growth. Frequently, children and teachers made due without books, desks, pencils and paper. Oak Ridge's educational system depended heavily on teachers. Because of its lack of resources, the schools used a collaborative approach in administration and teacher involvement in curriculum planning.

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Teachers continued to hold classes here after the war, up until 1973. In 1974, the building reopened as the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. Today, visitors of all ages are welcome to enjoy a wide array of exhibits, including hands-on learning opportunities in art, science, environmental studies, history, and world cultures. The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is also home to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Oak Ridge Visitor Center. Visitors can speak with National Park Service rangers and volunteers, watch a short film on the history of the Manhattan Project, stamp a passport book, get a Junior Ranger booklet, and get literature on the various Manhattan Project-related historic sites throughout the secret city.

For more information on the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, please visit their website. For more information on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park’s Oak Ridge visitor center, please visit the park's website

 

Manhattan Project National Historical Park

Last updated: March 10, 2022