ShareThis Page
Indiana museum celebrates Jimmy Stewart’s birthday | TribLIVE.com
Movies/TV

Indiana museum celebrates Jimmy Stewart’s birthday

Mary Pickels
1092617_web1_gtr-tk-jbday1-051619
Tribune-Review File
Judy Stewart, the daughter of actor Jimmy Stewart laughs while recalling childhood memories of her father during an open house on Nov. 22, 2013, at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana.
1092617_web1_gtr-tk-jbday2-051619
Facebook | The Jimmy Stewart Museum
High school dance scene with actress Donna Reed and Indiana native Jimmy Stewart from “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Indiana’s Jimmy Stewart Museum will celebrate its native son’s 111th birthday with a party on May 19.

Stewart was born in the Indiana County town on May 20, 1908. He died on July 2, 1997.

The event also recognizes the 24th anniversary of the museum, located at 835 Philadelphia St.

Stewart’s iconic films will provide the special matinee line-up from Friday through Sunday, says Brian Croft, accountant/manager. Longtime theater president Timothy F. Harley recently retired from his position.

The museum theater will offer showings of “Harvey” at 1 p.m. May 17; “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 1 p.m. on May 18; and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” at 1 p.m. on May 19.

The May 19 celebration will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a birthday singalong and cake.

On Sunday only, admission to the museum will be free, with donations accepted, Croft says.

Also featured will be a show of antique autos the Antique Automobile Club of America, Punxsutawney Chapter, owns, curbside on Philadelphia Street, from noon-4 p.m.

At 1 p.m. the museum will host the opening reception for an exhibition of local fiber artists in a show entitled “Stewart in Stitches — The Quilted Jimmy.”

Simple Pleasures will provide musical accompaniment.

Depending on weather, Croft says, the annual celebration can attract a crowd.

Film fans so enjoy visiting the museum, he adds, that daily matinees were added in July.

“We typically get 5,000-6,000 visitors a year,” Croft says. Others combine a visit with other area tourist attractions, from the Flight 93 National Memorial to the Johnstown Flood Museum to planned trips to Pittsburgh, Croft says.

Memory lives on

Over the years, Stewart’s twin daughters, Kelly and Judy, now 68, have visited the museum, along with Stewart’s friend, comedian Rich Little.

Little recorded the crosswalk messages for intersections in Stewart’s hometown, using his impersonation of the late star’s voice.

The museum showcases artifacts from Stewart’s family, his home office in California, and the front door from his Beverly Hills home. It includes his favorite booth from Chasen’s restaurant, a popular hot spot for celebrities during Stewart’s era. The museum bought the booth when the restaurant closed in 1995, Croft says.

Visitors can see memorabilia, costumes and scripts from his film career.

Just as important to many visitors are Stewart’s military uniforms and medals, on display at the museum.

A World War II bomber pilot, Stewart ended the war with 20 combat missions, according to military.com

He remained in the USAF Reserve and was promoted to brigadier general on July 23, 1959. He retired on May 31, 1968.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: AandE | More A and E | Movies TV
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.