Johnstown Flood Museum, Johnstown

#1 of 9 in Things to do in Johnstown
Must see · Specialty Museum · Museum
The Johnstown Flood Museum is a history museum located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The museum is housed in the Cambria Public Library Building.On May 31, 1889, a neglected dam above the city of Johnstown that held back a lake, burst. An hour later, a 40-foot wall of water, reaching 40 miles an hour, raced into Johnstown. It killed 2,209 people, leaving thousands homeless and a prosperous town a wasteland.The Johnstown Flood Museum chronicles the events of the flood through many exhibits and media. Every hour, the museum shows the Academy Award winning documentary, The Johnstown Flood in the Robert S. Waters Theater. This documentary, created by filmmaker Charles Guggenheim, tells the gruesome tale from before the dam broke to the horrifying aftermath of the destruction. The theater and the film were refurbished and upgraded in 2009–2010. The film, which had been shown on 35 mm film since 1989, has been transferred onto a high-definition digital format, enabling a perfect presentation every time the film is shown. New projection equipment and theater controls were installed as well. Finally, the film now features captions for the deaf and hearing-impaired. The seats were reupholstered, and carpet has been replaced.Exhibits include the relief map that uses lights and sounds to display the path of the flood. Surrounding the map are several artifacts including a bottle of flood water, the wall of debris, a morgue book, and a quilt used to drag survivors to safety. You can also view cartoons and movie clips that are centered on the flood as well as news reports and Victorian Steroptic photographs.The museum also features a restored Oklahoma house, a temporary structure used to house survivors. The house is 1 1/2 stories and there were only a few rooms.
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  • Nice visit to Flood Museum. Nice collection of artifacts from famous flood. Best part of visit was the movie. Really puts you at, and in, the flood. Don't miss the video.  more »
  • Fascinating back story to the flood that killed more than 2,200 people. Wish it actually had even more on display (especially about the flood of 1977) but what it does offer is a detailed look at the....  more »
  • The displays gave such a great understanding of what happened. The work put into it was very moving, too. When we got home, my boys wanted to try to build a lake and dam model of their own to explore more. Anytime they gain a fuller understanding of the world around them, as well as the consequences of others actions, I consider it time well spent!
  • Fantastic historical museum. Great exhibits, pictures and some telling artifacts. The staff were super knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. We were quite impressed and very willing to pay the minimal cost for entry. A tragedy never to be forgotten. Thanks Johnstown Museum staff!

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