Ever wonder about what made the Columbia River the way it is today? Here in the Tri-Cities, there is a destination just for fun learning about this important resource in our region. The REACH Museum features interesting galleries, fun S.T.E.A.M workshops and more for the whole family. REACH Museum welcomes you to unlock the history of the Columbia River.

REACH Museum
The Grand Hall greets visitors as they walk into the REACH Museum. Here you will learn about irrigated land. Behind this wall, there is a little section that is considered the fourth gallery held by RJ and Diane C. Hoch. Photo credit: Viannka Madison

How did REACH Museum start?

 In the year 2000, President Bill Clinton declared the area surrounding the Hanford Site a national monument. This included the reach of the river flowing through the site. What is a reach? A reach is any length of a stream or river. It is often used to describe a small section of a stream or river.

Named after the Hanford reach portion of the Columbia River, this part of the river is the last place where the water runs free. REACH Museum is what you can consider a monumental legacy story of our river’s past. While dams do provide us with clean energy, flood control, and irrigation water, this section of the Hanford reach will never be under construction.

After Bill Clinton’s declaration, it was sought after to keep the wild area around the Hanford site protected. There were plans for a dam in 1960 and later on in the 70s, but they were never put into fruition. Its preservation goes towards preserving a good quality of water in the river and also providing a habitat for multiple species of wildlife. The REACH Museum tells the story of nature and the great beginning.

REACH Museum
The first gallery teaches about the Native People who inhabited this land for eons with the animals that call our region home. Photo credit: Viannka Madison

The Galleries at the REACH Museum

There are four galleries, with one that is continuously rotating. In gallery one, you will learn more about the history of the geography and geology of the Columbia Basin. Walking into gallery two, you will find the history based on the Manhattan Project, the development of Tri-Cities, Hanford, and the Cold War. In the Grand Hall, the history of Tri-Cities, diversified energy and the protection of our river will take your mind on a trip into the past.

Irrigation, hydropower, nuclear power, and wind power — REACH Museum shows how it all plays out in our community. From the Grand Hall comes the great outdoors. Outside you will see the 1947 Vagabond Trailer, the 1954 GMC Cold War bus, the Energy Northwest Columbia fountain, and the Hanford Irrigation Canal.

End it all with a lovely nature walk on the Energy Northwest Animal Trail or with pretty sunset pictures at the Solar Stage.

REACH Museum
This is a section in Gallery 2 and is all about the Cold War, Hanford, and the beginning of Tri-Cities. Photo credit: Viannka Madison

Fun for Kids at REACH

Besides the self-guiding tour through all of the Hanford reach’s wonders, REACH Museum gives the opportunity for you and your family to participate in S.T.E.A.M workshops. You can look on the REACH Museum site for upcoming events. Fun recent events were about how bubbles form, space, and boats! These workshops are exciting, and your kids will be happy to learn thrilling facts about animals and Earth.

With a vision to be an indispensable educational resource and premier cultural destination serving as a gateway for the understanding of the natural and cultural significance of the region, for present and future generations, REACH Museum is an outstanding learning experience.

REACH Museum
Outside in the back is where you’ll see the Energy Northwest Columbia Fountain. Photo credit: Viannka Madison

As an “epicenter for tourism specifically for Ice Age Floods, Mid-Columbia River Basin history, and the Hanford REACH National Monument,” visit the REACH Museum today and learn more about the Mid-Columbia River Region, its people, and impact and contributions to the world.

REACH Museum
1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland

Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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