Winter opening hours have begun for the Johnstown Flood Museum and Heritage Discovery Center/Johnstown Children’s Museum: we are CLOSED Tuesdays and Wednesdays; OPEN Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 10:00 am-5:00 pm; and OPEN Sundays from noon-5:00 pm. The Wagner-Ritter House is closed for winter until April 19, 2023.

African-American History Day

African-American History Day

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Date(s) - February 15, 2020
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Heritage Discovery Center

The African-American Heritage Society, the Johnstown Area Heritage Association, and the History Department of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will be hosting “African-American History Days” in February and March 2019.

The purpose of the events is to gather materials for AAHS and JAHA to tell Johnstown’s African-American History.

At the events, UPJ history majors and secondary education—social studies majors will be collecting videotaped oral histories; they will accept and accession donated and loaned artifacts; and they will digitally scan documents and photographs.

Participants in the Oral History Project will answer questions about the development of Johnstown’s African-American Community from the 1930s to the present. We invite all members of this community to share their story. UPJ History students will use participants’ stories in the future creation of historical documentary films. Topics discussed will include, work, community, churches, school, military service, neighborhoods, etc. Every member of this community has something important to add!

The AAHS and JAHA are seeking donation or loan of any physical artifacts that tell the story of the African-American experience in Johnstown, items related to work and employment, unions, African-American owned businesses, military, churches, sports, music, clubs, fraternal and sororal societies, clothing/fashion, popular culture, and more.

We invite participants to bring family documents such as marriage, birth, adoption, and death certificates, deeds, wills, certificates of naturalization, military induction or discharge papers, old driver licenses, passports, etc. Students will digitize these items, immediately return the originals, and provide digital copies to the participant free of charge.

We encourage participants to bring family photo albums and scrapbooks for scanning as well.

In addition to history collection, there will be a screening of the 1991 documentary “We’ll Make the Journey” at 1pm and 3pm. This twenty-five minute film detailed the “Great Migration” of African-Americans to Johnstown in the first third of the twentieth century, featuring interviews with many of Johnstown’s black pioneers.

More days are scheduled as follows:

  • Feb. 29, 10:00 am-2:00pm, Cambria County Library, 248 Main St., Johnstown. In addition to history collection, Alonna J. Carter, member of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and the National Council of Public History (NCPH), will make a presentation about genealogical research
  • Mar. 29, 1:00-5:00 pm at First Cambria AME Zion Church. 409 Haynes St. Johnstown. Program details tba.