The REACH Museum shares the natural and human history of the Tri-Cities and the surrounding area. The museum takes its name from Hanford Reach, the longest free flowing (undammed), non-tidal section of the Columbia River. The 51mile (82 kilometer) Reach marks the northern and eastern boundary of today’s Hanford Site. Its waters were critical to the site’s plutonium production mission during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.
The Hanford Reach’s wild and untamed nature is a direct legacy of the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. Manhattan Project officials removed pre-war agricultural operations and prohibited further development. This formed a large security buffer surrounding the project and inadvertently preserved the shrub steppe ecosystem. When plutonium production stopped, the reduced size of the Hanford Site opened the opportunity for creation of the Hanford Reach National Monument, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s first national monument.
The REACH Museum features rotating and permanent exhibits, including robust presentations on the Manhattan Project, Cold War, indigenous peoples, and cataclysmic ice age floods. An outdoor learning area displays a sampling of the shrub steppe and riparian ecosystems and provides hands-on, interactive activities that are fun while teaching important themes including irrigated agriculture, hops cultivation, local animals, native plants, and land formation. Visit the Reach Museum website for hours of operation and current activities.
Continue Your Journey
The Hanford Reach National Monument offers hiking at places such as the White Bluffs Overlook, Hanford High School Overlook, and Saddle Mountain, where you may enjoy expansive views of the Hanford Site and the beauty of the shrub steppe ecosystem.