Keirn Family World War II Museum Relocated to University Library


The Keirn Family World War II Museum has been relocated to the second floor of the University’s Library and Learning Commons. A ceremony was held on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day – to celebrate the move to its new on-campus location.

Previously located off campus across from Smithmyer’s Superette in downtown Loretto, the museum houses several special collections of artifacts and oral history projects. The origins of the primary collection can be traced back to Altoona resident Joseph Keirn, a retired Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army.

A preservationist of World War II memorabilia, Keirn wanted to make his collection an educational tool. Today, students, community groups and visitors to the University have the opportunity to explore the collection and learn about the war.

In 2014, Keirn donated his collection to SFU so that it could be used to educate future generations on World War II and those who fought in this conflict. Among the collection are uniforms, photographs and a replica of Pearl Harbor, arranged the day it was bombed.

“We are proud to house Command Sergeant Major Keirn’s collection,” said Sandra Balough, the University’s Dean of Library Services.

Originally under the direction of Sarah Myers, a former faculty member in the History and Political Science Department, the museum was placed under the care of Stephen Rombouts in 2019.

Rombouts served as director of the museum for three years until his retirement in September. It was at that point that University officials decided the collection would be moved to the library.

Balough encourages all SFU students to see what the museum has to offer.

“The museum is set up to be self-guided, although there will be students working here to give tours – students who are very knowledgeable about World War II,” said Balough.

“It really is a great way to see history come alive.”

The museum will be open for the remainder of this semester, weekdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with hours extended next semester until 6 p.m. The museum also plans to offer CES credits to students who visit in the spring semester.