Natural Disaster Exhibit Opens at Worcester, Mass. Museum - NECN

Natural Disaster Exhibit Opens at Worcester, Mass. Museum



    Natural disaster exhibit opens at Worcester, Mass. museum

    Worcester Historical Museum opens exhibit focusing on impact of natural disasters, ahead of 60th anniversary of deadly 1953 tornado (Published Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014)

    (NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) -  This Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the deadly tornado that touched down in the city of Worcester and surrounding areas; 94 people lost their lives in the storm.

    Now, just in time for this weekend's anniversary, the Worcester Historical Museum has opened an exhibit focusing on the impact of natural disasters.

    Floods, fires, and a tornado: the city of Worcester has seen its share of disasters. A new exhibit at the Worcester Historical Museum is taking a look at decades of destruction, including the tornado of1953.

    “Since we're losing a lot of those survivors and we've had a lot of people come forward with their stories, it’s so important to memorialize that in the exhibit and focus on other things Worcester's been through,” says exhibit coordinator Vanessa Bumpus.

    The collection includes pictures, artifacts and news clippings from major events in the city's history, dating as far back as the school street fire of 1838 to the blizzard of 2013.

    Many are well known, while others may come as a surprise.

    “There was a jet crash in Worcester, a nitroglycerin explosion, so there's things some people have never heard of,” Bumpus says.

    Organizers say the exhibit is a testament to the city's resilience.

    “I think they can come in and look and realize that everybody made it through you can make it through things and the resilience of Worcester and how people come together,” says Robyn Christiansen.

    Virginia Ryan was 11 when the tornado tore through Worcester. She says she remembers it well,

    “Still remember my father going down to our diner to get coffee and stuff for the neighbors because we lost power,” she says.

    Her father shot this footage of the damage, which Ryan says she was happy to donate to the exhibit.

    “He had just gotten it a few years before and used to take pictures of us playing and went up the street and did some of these pictures.”

    Whether it's images from the 1953 tornado or the blizzard of 2013, organizers say they are reminders history is happening every day.

    “A lot of people don't think something that happened recently is historic but even if it happened yesterday its historic,” says Christiansen.

    They also show how people come together to help each other in times of need.

    “I think that's a good legacy for Worcester,” Christiansen says, “of everybody helping everybody.”