OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Department of Energy announced the return of the DOE Public Bus Tour, operated by the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation (AMSE Foundation), after a forced break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tours start back up on Monday, July 11 when the first guests for the season will be welcomed.

Each tour leaves from the American Museum of Science and Energy and stops to explore three key locations associated with the Manhattan Project: The K-25 History Center, ORNL Graphite Reactor, and CNS/Y-12 New Hope Center.

“This is the public face of the community; you can’t get this exposure going to the museums in the area,” Matt Mullins, marketing and communications director, explained.

“You see where that big science happened, and you realize in those three small facilities the fate of the world shifts,” added Mullins. “The small secrets that Oak Ridge held to themselves have gone public and on this tour, you get to see where that action really happened.”

Tour guides then walk guests through an incredible history that saw the dawn of the nuclear age, the end of a World War, and amazing innovations that continue to this day.   

Mullins also spoke about what sets these tour guides apart from the rest.

“Those volunteers, the majority of them have worked in the facilities in Oak Ridge,,” said Mullins. “When you have somebody with a 30-year experience of ORNL and you go to the graphite reactor, what you get on that tour is ‘oh, in that building they do this and in building they do this,’ you get these people with these great stories and great history.”

For the first two weeks, from July 11 through July 30, the tours will run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then in August, the tours will run five days a week. The guidelines for September will be announced in mid-August.

The tours start and end at the American Museum of Science and Energy located at
115 Main Street East
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

The tour costs $15.00 per participant and tickets can be purchased online. Limited tickets will be available the day of the tour.