Johnstown School Museum

Curator Bill Pollack

Curator Bill Pollak standing in one of the School Museum’s exhibit rooms

The dream of creating a museum to house Johnstown school memorabilia existed for years and is now a reality. The official opening of the Johnstown School Museum was held Saturday, May 3, 2003, following the Johnstown Board of Education’s adoption of a resolution on January 22, 2003, appointing Mr. William Pollak as curator. Established as an effort to preserve the history and the rich tradition of education in Johnstown, the school museum is intended to benefit everyone in the community. The collection of school memorabilia dates from present day all the way back to the late 1700s. Some early pieces are on loan from the Johnstown Historical Society, while other items have come through personal donations and the school district’s archives. An ongoing effort to acquire additional collectibles exists and memorabilia donations are always accepted.

Where is it located?

The museum is located in the Greater Johnstown School District’s “white house” on Knox Field, behind the Knox Middle School building. This building was constructed in 1930 and donated to the school district as part of the Knox complex. It is the oldest building used and maintained by the school district. Throughout the years, this former field house has had many uses, including:

  • A classroom building
  • Arts/Crafts and Recreation Center
  • Warming station for ice skating
  • Storage facility for track and field equipment
  • Administrative office area

What will you find?

Visitors will find photographs, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, uniforms, jackets, shirts, jewelry, equipment, trophies, plaques, awards, books, journals, historical documents and ledgers, school furnishings, textbooks and supplies, nostalgic and period items, artwork, posters, programs, maps, school newspapers, score books, tests, report cards and much more.

Photo Gallery

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A yearbook collection:

  • The Baronet (1925-present)
  • Numerous yearbooks from the former Knox Junior High School and the district’s elementary schools

The museum’s organizers have taken great care to balance an abundance of academic, administrative, extra-curricular and nostalgic items.

There is also a special display dedicated to Mrs. Rose Knox, an influential business leader and philanthropist. She is fondly known as “The First Lady of Johnstown.” Mrs. Knox donated the property known as Knox Field, as well as $200,000 for its development.

Another area is reserved for the memorabilia of William A. Wright, a district teacher and administrator for 42 years.

Warren students in the 1950s watching television in a classroom

Students in a Warren Street classroom during the 1950s

The collection dates from the late 1700s to the present day, and specific rooms in the museum are dedicated to the following eras:

  • pre 1930
  • 1930-49
  • 1950-69
  • 1970-89
  • 1990-2004
  • 2005-present (lower level)

Those planning a class reunion are encouraged to include a museum tour as part of their activities. Many Johnstown alumni have toured the museum both on their own and as part of class reunions and, needless to say, those visits brought back many memories! Tours may be scheduled by appointment or during regular museum hours of operation.

Remembering Johnstown Students Who Lost Their Lives in War

The Johnstown School Museum honors and remembers the Johnstown students who made the supreme sacrifice in service to their country. Below is a list of these students, organized by the war they served in. Thank you.

World War I
Henry G. Bradt
Leo F. Burke
Patrick A. Connelly
John Dobijas
Frank Filkins
Frederick E. Fogarty
William F. Forchette
Phillip C. Gross
Francis A. Hill, Jr.
James O. Johnson
Abbott Laning
Clyde Mabee
Floyd Manzer
Dorr Mason
Brown D. Murray
Lloyd V. Reese
Leonard W. Ripton
Edward M. Shiel
H.J. Smith
Russell Trumbull
James P. Uhlinger
Charles R. Walrath
William Weaver

World War II
Joseph A. Bloss
Arthur Brothers
Richard C. Burton
Milton C. Coppernoll
Harold D. Countryman
Charles M. Eagan
Gerald Ferro
Emmott D. Glynn
Martin C. Gonyea
Earl M. Hathfield
Robert W. Hayward
James H. Hillabrandt
Louis S. House
William E. Hughes
John M. Jennings
Charles J. Johannes
Edward J. Kiffney
Leslie W. Mabee
Bernard R. Miller
Mahlon E. Nellis
Samuel N. Passero
John M. Pavucek
Rudolph F. Pollak
Edward Rathburn
Phillip P. Ressico
Fred L. Riska
Ivan B. Smith
James L. Sleezer
William I. Seaman
Irving Semelisky
William F. Samoline
Edward M. Smida
Jacob S. Sovik
Richard T. Taube
Charles F. Vacek
David A Wells III
Rene Welter
Leonce L. Wilson
Stephen E. Vecera

Korean War
Stephen J. Kovarik
James J. Mannino
William M. Valachovic

Vietnam War
Alysius Bannigan III
Orson H. Case
Robert W. Coons
Richard P. Gates
Ralph J. Lund

Gulf War
Harold P. Witzke III