Robert Franklin is the assistant director of the Hanford History Project. In this role, he is the archivist and oral historian for the Department of Energy’s Hanford Collection and Washington State University’s collections on Hanford. He attended Washington State University in Pullman and earned his Master’s degree in history. In graduate school, he took a graduate-level seminar on the Hanford oral history project, which sparked his interest in Hanford and the impacts of the Manhattan Project on the rural, agricultural communities in Washington. In this interview, Franklin discusses the general history of Hanford, displacement of Hanford area residents during the Manhattan Project, and current efforts to preserve the site. He also describes some of the pre-Manhattan Project properties that can be visited today, including the White Bluffs Bank.
Jackie Peterson is an independent curator and exhibit developer in Seattle, Washington. She curated an exhibition called “The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford” at the Northwest African American Museum from October 2015-March 2016. In this interview, Peterson describes the exhibition and what she learned about African American experiences at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. She explains how African Americans came to the Tri-Cities, the kinds of work they were able to obtain, and the (largely informal) segregation they faced. She also contrasts how African Americans and Japanese Americans were treated by the federal government during World War II.
Thomas E. Marceau is an archaeologist and cultural resources specialist at the Hanford site. In this interview, he discusses the geological history of the Hanford area and the Native American tribes that have lived in the area for thousands of years. He also highlights how the displacement of Native Americans has resulted in a cultural and historical crisis for these tribes, because their identities, lives, and communities revolve around the lands their ancestors inhabited. He emphasizes the importance of risk assessments of the Hanford land that include the perspective and concerns of Native American tribes.
Trisha Pritikin was born and lived ten years in Richland, Washington, just a few miles away from the Hanford Site. Her father worked in the 100 Area at Hanford, overseeing some of the reactors, while her mom worked as a secretary at Hanford. In her interview, Pritikin recalls her love of Richland at a young age and describes the happiness of many of the people there. At age 18, she began to develop health complications which she believes to be caused by childhood exposure to radioactive iodine and other radionuclides released from chemical separations at Hanford. Pritikin discusses how drastically her health situation deteriorated because of an undiagnosed autoimmune thyroid disorder (Hashimoto’s disease), and related health issues, and how she became a lawyer in spite of the disabling health issues she faced. She provides an overview of the decades-long Hanford Downwinder litigation efforts and her advocacy for justice for Hanford’s Downwinders, the children of Hanford workers, and others exposed to Hanford’s airborne and Columbia River radiation releases.