Johnstown Flood Museum celebrates 50 years, and looks forward to the next 50!

Johnstown Flood Museum celebrates 50 years, and looks forward to the next 50!

Posted: June 14, 2023 3:20 pm

The Johnstown Flood Museum’s 50th anniversary was celebrated in late May with two very special events: the screening of the newly-restored silent movie, “The Johnstown Flood,” at the State Theater on Sunday, May 28. Thanks to the generosity of Conway Jones, a string quartet from the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra played before the movie screening. Emcee Marty Radovanic kicked off the movie presentation with a clip of Janet Gaynor at the 1978 Academy Awards, giving insight into her life and career as she presented the award for Best Actress to Diane Keaton (for “Annie Hall”).

The screening of the movie, complete with a newly-recorded version of the original score, was charming. Afterward, Robert Harris, one of the film’s restorers, joined us over the phone to answer questions about the restoration process. Eric Reighard of the State Theater revealed that The Johnstown Flood had been screened at The State Theater just a few months after it was opened in 1926.

On Wednesday, May 31, a ceremony was held at the Johnstown Flood Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of its opening. We were honored by the attendance of many distinguished guests; Trace Ledgard, representing Sen. Bob Casey; Mitchel Henderson, representing Sen. John Fetterman; Loreen Bencie, representing Rep. John Joyce; State Sen. Wayne Langerholc; State Rep. Frank Burns; Commissioner Tom Chernisky; Mayor Frank Janakovic; Ethan Imhoff, Johnstown City Manager; Rob Forcey, Vision 2020; Lisa Rager, Visit Johnstown; and Chip Minemyer, Publisher of the Tribune-Democrat. Proclamations from Sen. Fetterman, Gov. Shapiro, and Rep. Joyce were read, and Sen. Langerholc, Mayor Janakovic, and Commissioner Chernisky were among the speakers.

The guests had the opportunity to view prototypes of new exhibitions planned for the upcoming renovation of the museum, including 3-D imagery of the flood created using historic stereograph photography, and a recorded oral history from flood survivor Dr. Victor Heiser.

We are grateful to all who took part in these festivities, and look forward to the museum’s next 50 years!