Savannah River Nuclear Solutions held a ribbon cutting Tuesday at the Savannah River Site’s new curation facility, which will store mementos of the Savannah River Site’s past – from the Cold War era all the way back to its distant past.
The 27,000-square-foot curation facility was created in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. The facility is a private archive, not a museum, but it is temperature- and humidity-regulated and has fire protection to keep the artifacts housed there in optimal environmental conditions. Though not currently open to the public, the facility has an artifact loan program to help museums create exhibits relating to the history of the Savannah River Site.
The facility is in the former SRS-M Area warehouse 315-M. The building was slated for demolition along with the rest of the M Area buildings, which were removed as part of SRS’ environmental cleanup program.
“A lot of work has gone into this,” said David Moody, DOE-Savannah River Operations office manager. “We tried to tear this building down several times and fortunately were not successful. That it’s become something new speaks volumes about what we’re really about in terms of asset revitalization.”
“You see before you a wonderful gift to the Savannah River Site,” said Dwayne Wilson, SRNS president and CEO. “It is a repository for our historical heritage, maintained through an archival environment. The artifacts range from small campaign buttons worn by members of the Manhattan Project to larger exhibits like a control panel for a test reactor. A facility like this doesn’t happen overnight; each artifact has been carefully researched.”
In addition to preserving the history of the nuclear facility, the curation facility also houses artifacts from the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, which has 3,600 square feet of space in the facility. The program has conducted archaeological excavations on Savannah River Site land in conjunction with the DOE since 1978 and has found relics dating back approximately 12,000 years.
The curation facility brings SRS into compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which calls for the preservation of historic artifacts dating back 50 years old or older.