A view of Old Main and South Hall.A view of Old Main and South Hall.

Donora Digital Collection: Opening of the Donora Smog Museum

On a chilly, sunny Monday morning in late October 2008 a crowd gathered on the corner of 6th and McKean in the community of Donora, Pennsylvania.  In the group were community residents, state and local officials, educators and students, a representative of the Library of Congress, California University of Pennsylvania's Teaching with Primary Sources Program and the Donora Historical Society.  They had all come to participate in the opening and dedication of the Donora Smog Museum; and to begin a week long Commemoration of the 1948 Smog Incident which led to the enactment of modern clean air laws.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony guests entered the Museum where they were immediately greeted by a life size photo of August Chambon, who was Burgess (mayor) of the community in 1948.  Then, thanks to research by local historians who discovered a long lost recording, the visitors heard the long deceased Mr. Chambon greet them in his own voice.

This episode, which literally made history "come alive", exemplified the primary objective of the Smog Commemoration collaboration.
- David Lonich, Ph.D., educator and member of the Donora Smog Commemorative Committee and the Donora Historical Society, December 12, 2008.

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