CREHST open six days a week

Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldSeptember 20, 2013 

The Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology in Richland will be open six days a week starting Sunday, Sept. 22.

Its days of operation were trimmed to five a week -- Tuesday through Saturday -- earlier this year as the museum, known as CREHST, transitions toward closure.

But, "staff did their homework and have been tracking the numbers," and the decision was made to add back Sunday hours, said Lisa Toomey, interim executive director.

She noted that tour boats having been coming into Richland on weekends, and the additional hours will allow the museum to capture those visitors.

CREHST was created in 1996, and a main focus has been telling the story of the Manhattan Project and the Hanford nuclear reservation.

Museum leaders decided some time ago to begin integrating CREHST into the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center once construction of that facility began.

The interpretive center project was beset by delays, but a scaled back version now is taking shape at the west end of Columbia Park.

The center is scheduled to open next summer. Toomey, who also is the Reach CEO, said the goal is for CREHST to keep its doors open until that happens.

"We're working hard to make that happen" by pursuing grants and taking other steps, she said.

They're also raising money for a Manhattan Project exhibit at the Reach center -- one that's to include items from CREHST's collection.

About $45,000 has been raised so far, which is enough to begin work on conceptual design, Toomey said.

A total of $100,000 is needed altogether, and Toomey said she's confident the exhibit will be ready in time for the Reach's opening.

Ron Lerch, a member of the Reach board as well as the board of the foundation that operates CREHST, shares her confidence.

"I have faith in the community," he said. He noted that many CREHST members have contributed toward the exhibit.

The exhibit is envisioned as the first of several at the center -- added over time -- telling the Hanford project story.

Lerch said it's an important story to share because "so much of the history of the Tri-Cities is tied in with the Hanford project."

Toomey said "the Hanford site and the Hanford story help define the character of the community."

"We have at least one new generation and possibly two generations who are so removed from the story that they don't understand its importance. People know what we're doing today but don't always understand the beginning of the story," she said. "We feel a pretty strong obligation to help young people understand where they come from through these larger stories."

CREHST now is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, as well as from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The museum is at 95 Lee Blvd.

For information on the Manhattan Project exhibit fundraising drive, go to www.visitthereach.org.

-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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