Lesson Plan

Johnstown Flood Museum: Main Exhibt Hall

Fiber-optic map at Johnstown Flood Museum
Fiber-optic map at Johnstown Flood Museum
Johnstown Area Heritage Association


Students will receive an orientation into the life of Johnstown before, during, and after the flood.


Here students will learn the history of the museum along with a lesson on pre-1889 Johnstown. This lesson will include the importance of the canal system in Johnstown along with the evolution of iron, steel, and coal in the region. This orientation will explain Johnstown's transformation from a small community to a thriving boom town.


A partnership was formed with the Johnstown Flood National Memorial and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association. Out of this partnership an interdisciplinary curriculum based prgoram about the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889 was created, which provides a complete educational experience telling the story of the Johnstown Flood. This program takes the student from the story's beginnings-the South Fork Dam and Clubhouse of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club to the story's end-disaster, relief and the rebuilding of the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.


The students will gather around the relief map of the South Fork Dam and valley leading into Johnstown. Here a museum docent will illustrate the path of the flood down the Conemaugh Valley in both time and space. Light and sound effects illustrate the flood's timeline, from the time the rain begins to threaten the dam until the waters began to subside.