The Savannah River Site Museum celebrated the upcoming 70th anniversary of the site's location announcement in Aiken County through historic stories, relics and exhibits Thursday night. 

The museum, located in downtown Aiken at 224 Laurens St. S.W., invited nuclear retirees to share stories about their experience with the site and to observe various exhibits and relics highlighting the history of SRS.

On Nov. 28, 1950, the selection of Aiken County for the location of the Savannah River Site was announced. 

The announcement of the site was made in the wake of the Cold War and led to thousands of jobs to create materials used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons, primarily tritium and plutonium-239, in support of U.S. defense programs. 

Former SRS employees like Walt Joseph, who worked at the site in various positions for 39 years, shared stories and highlighted the importance of preserving the history of the site and encouraging young people to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

"This is a need in this community," Joseph said. "So few people know the stories that went on there. So few people know the Savannah River Site helped win the Cold War. So few people know it was the birthplace of modern ecology. So few people know that this place produced the plutonium-238 that powered the deep space exploration that this country took part in.

"These are stories that are worthwhile and need to be told to remind our local residents what happened at their door steps and also encourage our young people into STEM-type areas."

SRS Museum Director Lauren Miller said the museum looks forward to continuing the celebration throughout the year through opening new exhibits. 

One exhibit will feature a mural that will map out the 198,000-acre property of the site. 

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The Savannah River Site Museum looks forward to opening a new exhibit that will map out the 198,000-acre property of the site.

Miller said the museum is still in need of volunteers to welcome and guide guests through exhibits. 

Anyone interested is asked to call Miller at 803-648-1437 or email at srsheritagefoundation@gmail.com.

Matthew Enfinger is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger