JAHA renews elevator fundraising effort

JAHA renews elevator fundraising effort

Posted: August 5, 2020 11:29 am

A letter is going out to JAHA friends and supporters about our elevator fund! We are grateful to have raised over $19,000 of this $90,000 campaign, but we need your help.

The text of the letter is as follows:

These are extraordinary times, and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association is coming to you for help. You see, the elevator at the Heritage Discovery Center had a catastrophic failure in the fall of 2019 and the cost to replace is about $90,000. It requires a custom part, and unfortunately insurance will not cover it. Once the insurance company informed us of their decision, our board chairman, Mark Pasquerilla, started a GoFundMe emergency fundraiser.

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The campaign had gained some momentum when the coronavirus crisis hit in March – necessitating a closure of the building entirely. We are now operating the Heritage Discovery Center three days a week, while the Johnstown Children’s Museum is closed.

We eagerly look forward to the day the entire facility can be re-opened as we have some exciting new things to unveil. Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, we have been able to purchase a wonderful, hands-on microscope for all ages called a Wentzscope, which is designed for easy viewing and sturdy enough to last for decades! The Wentzscope in an incredibly exciting addition to the Career Corner, our newest exhibit located in the Johnstown Children’s Museum.

Our Native Species Rooftop Garden is in full summer bloom as the final touches on the garden’s complete redesign are being added. We look forward to showing off this wonderful space and natural classroom.

And last, but far from least, we will soon have a new permanent exhibit on the Great Migration, the story of Southern Blacks who were recruited to fill jobs when European immigration to Johnstown was cut off. The Great Migration is a successor exhibit to the story of the East Central European immigrants in Industrial Johnstown.

In addition to the Johnstown Children’s Museum, the Heritage Discovery Center is home to permanent exhibitions on immigration and the steel industry. We have temporary exhibitions like last year’s Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race. We host many programs – Last Fridays, lectures and presentations, children’s programming, private rental events and more. But we MUST have a functional elevator so that visitors using wheelchairs, parents with strollers, or people with any kind of mobility limitation can fully access all six floors of the building. Accessibility is important to meet our mission, and it’s a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The good news is that despite COVID, we have already raised nearly $20,000. But we need your help to keep this campaign moving forward! Please consider donating securely online – or you may simply mail a check designated “elevator fund” to us at PO Box 1889, Johnstown PA 15907.