Today the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) and The Learning Lamp announced a new temporary exhibition, Earthwalk Explorer, is opening on the second floor of the Frank & Sylvia Pasquerilla Heritage Discovery Center on June 18. The exhibition is a 16-foot long relief map of the eastern US from North Carolina to New Hampshire that adults and children can walk on and explore through touch.
Visitors to Earthwalk Explorer will experience projections of mountain ranges, forests, rivers and lakes, state borders, cities, trails, and cultural features. Putting their “feet to earth,” they can trek across the spines of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghenies, or Adirondacks, or follow the river valleys of the Susquehanna, James, or Hudson. They can touch the highest point in the state with their fingers or point out their hometowns with their toes. The Explorer uses a horizontal scale of 1 inch = 3.88 miles.
The Learning Lamp spearheaded the effort to bring the exhibition to Johnstown, with marketing support from the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We are delighted to have such an engaging exhibition coming to the Heritage Discovery Center as we open up and resume a more normal programming schedule,” said Richard Burkert, president and CEO of JAHA. Burkert also noted that the HDC elevator, which had been broken for over a year and required a costly custom part to repair, will be back in operation in time for the opening.
Earthwalk Explorer features colorful Geoshows projected onto the map to tell stories that combine geography, history and culture, such as the two current Geoshows about the Native American presence in Pennsylvania. One focuses on the network of native trails that later formed the foundation of America’s modern highway network. The other animates the rich legacy of the Lenape and Susquehannock tribes, focusing on petroglyphs found throughout Pennsylvania. A replica of a famous petroglyph from the Delaware River illustrates a wide variety of these ancient engravings.
The exhibition, which opens on June 18, will be at the Heritage Discovery Center through mid-August, and is included in the regular admission ticket to the museum. To walk on the exhibition, visitors must be wearing socks (which will be available for purchase in the gift shop for anyone who forgets). The Heritage Discovery Center’s hours are now 10:00 am-5:00 pm on Wednesdays-Saturdays, and noon-5:00 pm on Sundays, resuming a normal summer operating schedule after a period of COVID-related limitations.
The Learning Lamp and JAHA are grateful to the sponsors who made it possible to bring this exhibition to Johnstown. Spangler Subaru, Conemaugh Health System, Conemaugh Physician Group, 1st Summit Bank, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, CTC, Kotzan CPA & Associates, RDM Johnstown LLC, Sheetz, and Wessel & Company.
Earthwalk Explorer is a project of the National Scenic Visitors Center (NCSV), a non-profit organization based in the Lehigh Valley. The Heritage Discovery Center is the second museum ever to host the exhibition, which is the first phase of NSVC’s ambitious three-phase plan.