How a small organization drew attention to its cause via a TV show

The relatively young Atomic Heritage Foundation has taken full advantage of WGN America’s new series, ‘Manhattan.’

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Indeed, no longer should we look to the 1950s as the Golden Age of television. We’re living that right now.

Critics and viewers alike have heaped high praise on the show, even if ratings haven’t matched. In addition to the show itself, though, “Manhattan” has presented a huge opportunity to a small organization. The Atomic Heritage Foundation has stepped up to the challenge.

A mere 12 years old, the Atomic Heritage Foundation is “dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age and its legacy,” according to its website. The association’s president and founder, Cynthia Kelly, was a senior executive at the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, and taught history before beginning her two-decade stint in government work. Now, as leader of the foundation, she and her small team work with Congress, the Department of Energy, the National Park Service, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the former Manhattan Project communities to preserve and interpret historic sites and develop useful and accessible educational materials for veterans, teachers, and the general public. The group is also committed to establishing a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. ​ ​With the TV series boosting interest in the Manhattan Project and its Los Alamos setting, it seems a natural fit for some public relations. Kelly penned a guest column for Oak Ridge Today, a news site for the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, area. Kelly used the guest column to address the accuracy of the show, adding fascinating bits of history like this:

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