The Johnstown PA
Heritage Discovery Center Museum


PA Hertiage Discover Center immigrant 12 year old Polish boy named Josef PA Heritage Discover Center woman immigrants standing outside butcher shop PA Heritage Discovery Center picture of people sitting on porch before the great Johnstown Flood African American standing in front of porch

The Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center, located in Johnstown, PA, is full of dramatic PA immigration history, pictures and interactive displays. "America - Through The Immigrant Eyes", tells the true history of Central Pennsylvania and what brought immigrants from around the world to settle in the Allegheny Mountains. It's a Pennsylvania attractions that will delight your family and entice you to search the Allegheny Mountains for other historical sites.

When you pay for admission into the Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center the price also include admission into both Johnstown Flood Museums . Plan on spending a day learning all this fascinating PA History. Read how the world famous Johnstown Incline Plane saved thousands of lives in Johnstown during the 1936 flood and again in 1977.

The Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center actually tells the story of our nations immigration, yet simplifies it down to the local level.

Instead of just browsing though the museum looking at artifacts and reading the history you will actually interact and be able to experience the sights, sounds, and even the smells of Central PA Immigrants everyday life.

America - Through The Immigrant Eyes

I'm sure once you visit the Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center in you'll agree there is no better way for you and your family to learn the PA History of Immigration.

From the time you walk through the door of the Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center the interaction begins. You will be asked which immigrants life you'd like to choose to follow as you travel through the museum.

Your choices will be;

  • Josef, age 12, a Polish immigrant boy
  • Stefan, age 21, a migrant farmhand
  • Anna, age 9, a Slovak peasant girl
  • Prokop, age 29, a butcher
  • Andrej, age 24, Bohemian farmhand
  • Katerina, age 30, a goose farmer from Hungary
  • Maria, age 19, an Italian peasant
  • Moshia, age 36, a shopkeeper from Russia

"America - Through The Immigrant Eyes" is focused on the era from 1880 through 1914. You will see that most of the Historic Immigrants into the Johnstown and Central Pennsylvania area was from Eastern and Southern Europe.

Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center - An old  rowhouse with immigrant children playing outdoors

Once you choose the card with the face of the immigrant of your choice the interaction begins. You will follow that immigrants life through the museum and learn all the customs and hardships that particular ethnic group had to face during that era in Pennsylvania.

The story will actually begin in the Old Country. You'll discover the life and hardships the immigrants faced before making the decision to leave the country they were born in.

You'll experience what it was like to be questioned at Ellis Island.

Heritage Discovery Center - Immigrants interviewed at Ellis Island

You will watch videos of neighborhoods and learn how decisions were made as to where the immigrants would work and live. You'll watch weddings, bar mitzvah, and funerals. See how different ethnic groups formed communities and opened small businesses. Sadly you'll watch how each ethnic group found discrimination at work and in neighborhoods.

Listen to the testimony of Johnstown's communities and how they remember their parents and grandparent's hardships and the disgrace of marrying outside of their ethnic group. You'll be invited to share your story on the "History Jukeboxes".

The 2023 Spirit of Christmas parade will be held on December 2, 2023 at 1 PM going through downtown Altoona.

The Pattern Makers Art Collection

The second floor of the Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center holds the history of the coal miners and the steel mill workers.

You'll see an extensive collection of "The Pattern Makers Art" collection. The Cambria Iron Works had a huge collection of Foundry Patterns. The patterns were used to make anything out of metal. You'll see how the immigrants were made into master craftsmen.

Heritage Discovery Center - Man of steel made from steel ironworks This Man of Steel represents the struggles and triumphs of local steel workers. This figure stands outside the Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center to represent the ragged man, devastated by flood, recession and depression. Most of all The Man of Steel stands as a reminder of the steel mill closing.

The building that houses the Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center holds a history of its own. The history started in the early 1900s when it was a Germania Brewery closed from the era of Prohibition. It changed hands many times before becoming what is now known as the Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Johnstown PA Heritage Discovery Center, opened in 2001.

Visit this remarkable Pennsylvania Attraction and give your family a real interactive sense of American History.


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