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Johnstown Flood Museum

304 Washington Avenue
Johnstown, PA

Phone: 814-539-1889 -- 888-222-1889
TTY:


Statement of Purpose

The Johnstown Flood Museum examines the causes and consequences of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889.

On May 30, 1889, the residents of Johnstown, PA, lined Main Street for the traditional Memorial Day parade. Just as the parade ended, a rain storm began and an already dangerous dam became more of a threat to the small community. As people raced for their homes, they had no idea of the tragedy to follow. On May 31, 1889, over 2,000 people would lose their lives in the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889.

The Flood brought national attention to the small steel community -- relief assistance and supplies came from all over the U.S. as well as Europe. Scholars and researchers are still examining the causes of this disaster.

Highlights & Collections

The Johnstown Flood Museum, located at 304 Washington Street in downtown Johnstown, is housed in a former Carnegie Library building. The French Gothic structure was constructed in 1891 as part of the Flood recovery efforts with a donation from wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie. In 1973, the library building was purchased by the Johnstown Flood Museum Association (now the Johnstown Area Heritage Association), which utilized the facility as a small museum on the Flood.

In 1989, the Johnstown Flood Museum reopened its doors after a $4.1 million renovation including permanent exhibitions designed by the same firm which designed the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island exhibits.

The facility features multi-media exhibits on the construction of the dam, the elite South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club which owned the faulty dam at the time of its collapse, and the development of the community prior to that fateful day in 1889.

Artifacts, photographs and ephemera tell of the sometimes triumphant-- and the sometimes tragic -- rescue and relief efforts.

Perhaps one of the most stirring parts of the Museum's exhibits is the documentary titled "The Johnstown Flood," which was produced by the award-winning producer Charles Guggenheim. Using archival photographs, creative dramatizations, and special effects, Guggenheim recreates the chain of events which led to the devastating tragedy.

The 26-minute block and white film also tells of the heroic efforts of Johnstown's survivors as the city was rebuilt. Mr. Guggenheim won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject for this film which was also honored with the CINE Gold Eagle from the Council on International Nontheatrical Events and the Silver Hugo for outstanding achievement at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Photography, artifacts. and ephemera dealing with the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889.

Exhibits & Special Events

The Museum hosts a series of temporary exhibitions in its third floor gallery, which was the gymnasium of the library facility. This gallery is used to examine topics other than the Flood story such as the Great Depression's effect on the community; the history of steel making in Johnstown; and the role of ethnic fraternal associations in the assimilation of immigrants into American culture.

In 1996, the Institute of Museum Services awarded a General Operating Support grant to the Johnstown Flood Museum. Grants from this agency (which is part of the National Foundation for Arts and Humanities) are awarded to museums that have demonstrated excellence in all areas of museum operstions. It is an indication of the quality of exhibits, collections, and of the facility itself.

Calendar of Events:

http://www.jaha.org/FloodMuseum/history.html

Hours:

Admission & Directions:

From the East: Take the PA Turnpike west to Bedford Exit (#11). Take 220/99 North and tske the first exit, (Fishertown/Cessna). Take 56 West (approximstely 30 miles) to 219 North. Take the 56 West Exit (The Johnstown Expressway) and follow it until it ends at a stop light. Turn right onto Walnut Street. At the third stop light on Walnut Street, turn right onto Washington Street. The museum is on this corner on the right.

From Route 80 and Points North: Take Route 80 West to Route 220 South. Exit 220 South to Route 22 West outside of Altoona. At Ebensburg, take 219 South to Route 56 West (the Johnstown Expressway). Follow it until it ends at a stop light. Turn right onto Walnut Street. At the third stop light on Walnut Street, turn right onto Washington Street. The museum is on this corner on the right.

From Ohio and Points West: Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike East to Somerset Exit (#10). Travel to Route 219 North. Exit 219 North at Route 56 West, the Johnstown Expressway. Take the 56 West Exit and follow it until it ends at a stop light. Turn right onto Walnut Street. At the third stop light on Walnut Street, turn right onto Washington Street. The museum is on this corner on the right.

From Washington DC and Points South: Take Interstate 70 West to Breezewood, PA. Enter the PA Turnpike west to Bedford Exit (# 11). Take 220/99 North and tske the first exit, (Fishertown/Cessna). Take 56 West (approximately 30 miles) to 219 North. Take the 56 West Exit (The Johnstown Expressway) and follow it until it ends at a stop light. Turn right onto Walnut Street. At the third stop light on Walnut Street, turn right onto Washington Street. The museum is on this corner on the right.


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Key Personnel:

Richard A. Burkert, Executive Director
Kelly I. Shaffer, Development Director.

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