Johnstown to renovate its flood museum

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The Johnstown Area Heritage Association has launched a $3.45 million capital campaign to overhaul the Johnstown Flood Museum, which tells the history of the 1889 dam failure that killed more than 2,000 people.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh has committed $750,000 toward the renovation, which was announced Thursday in advance of the 125th anniversary of the flood May 31.

“It’s a fitting time to be able to make this major announcement,” said Mark Pasquerilla, chairman of the association’s board.

The museum has hosted some 850,000 visitors since it reopened in 1989, with exhibits including artifacts from and about the flood, and a scale model recreating the flood path. The renovation will enable the museum to update aging displays and building systems.

“This has been a difficult economic period for nonprofit organizations, especially museums,” said Richard Burkert, president of the association. “The Johnstown Flood Museum tells an incredibly important story, and we’re committed to continuing to tell it for a whole new generation. This campaign will help us do that.”

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