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Worcester Residents Invited to Share Stories of Past Storms

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Damage at Assumption College following the Tornado of 1953

“The whole house just disappeared…,” George Alexander, age 36, recalled when remembering the devastating tornado that ripped through Worcester in June of 1953, almost sixty years ago.

This June indeed marks the 60th anniversary of the Tornado of 1953. To commemorate an event that changed the lives of many local residents, Worcester Historical Museum is presenting Worcester 911, an exhibition that will look at some of the natural and man-made disasters that have shaped our community.

“Worcester 911, came out of a broader group discussion about the anniversary of the Tornado of 1953. We want to talk about this disaster in context to other storms and floods that have changed and affected Worcester. For instance, how did a storm like the tornado change relief efforts? What was the community’s response to a fire or flood prior to the creation of 911?” says Librarian Robyn Christensen.

Discovery Days

And the public is welcome and encouraged to participate. Help WHM capture the memories, tragedies, and relief efforts of the devastating tornado and other storms, floods and blizzards (for instance, the flood of 1955, the blizzard of '78, and the ice storm of 2008, etc. in addition to the tornado of 1953) by sharing your stories, photographs and artifacts with the museum’s librarian and curator.

Discovery Days beginning this week are an open invitation for local residents to bring these photographs, ephemera and other artifacts for WHM to asses and view. Photographs and documents brought in to the museum during these day can be scanned and returned on the same day. Artifacts loaned or given to WHM may be featured in the exhibition.

“No story is too small or insignificant to share,” said Robyn Christensen,

“without them the public’s knowledge and memory about these events fade making it harder to piece together the stories by future generations.”

"This exhibition is focused on the Tornado of 1953, so we want people to understand that anything related to the storm is relevant. It doesn’t have to be just a photograph of damage; it could be a table that was in the house during the storm, or a lamp. These types of artifacts, while seemingly insignificant, become illustrative evidence of the tragic event and link personal history with the larger community," says Curator Holly Izard

Discovery Day Dates and times are as follows; Thursday, April 25 from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm; Tuesday, April 30 from 2:00 pm -4:00 pm; and Saturday, May 11 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm

The Exhibition

The exhibition itself, featuring these various mementos brought in by local residents, begins in June. William Wallace, Executive Director of WHM, explains why the event is sure to be meaningful for the Worcester community .

“With the anniversary of the Tornado of 1953 in June, it is on the community’s mind. It is a story that still lives on. It has affected our community’s landscape (the recent long horn Asian beetle infestation was a large part in due to the quick replanting of trees after the destruction of the Tornado). This event is living history.”

For more information please visit their website. To set up an additional Discovery Day time please e-mail [email protected].


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