Keirn Family World War II Museum

Capturing the Spirit of the American Virtues of Courage and Sacrifice

The Keirn Family World War II Museum at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, chronicles our nation’s decisive role in the greatest armed conflict in human history, World War II, and our unconditional victory in 1945.

The Kerin Family World War II Museum Plaque

Keirn Family World War II Museum
Library and Learning Commons

Saint Francis University

The museum's exhibitions feature contributions to the war effort made by men and women of Pennsylvania.


About the Museum

The Keirn Family World War II Museum at Saint Francis University houses several special collections of artifacts and oral history projects. The origins of the primary collection lie with Altoona resident Joseph E. Keirn, a retired Command Sergeant Major in the United States Army.


An avid preservationist of WWII memorabilia, CSM Keirn used his collection as an educational tool, welcoming students and community groups to tour it and learn about the war.



Plaque at the entrance of the Keirn Family WW II Museum

In 2014, he donated his collection to Saint Francis University to ensure that it would continue to be used to educate future generations regarding the legacy of the war. His once private collection, combined with additional donations, is now available for public viewing.

American Flag Banner

Our Exhibits

Timeline of the War
This display provides an illustrated chronology of major events of World War II, from the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 through the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945.


The June 6, 1944 Exhibit
The museum’s flagship exhibition commemorates the valor of local soldiers who, while serving as U.S. Army Rangers, participated in the capture of long-range German defensive artillery at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France, on D-Day.

Army and Navy Uniform Display

Display of U.S. Army and Navy uniforms of World War II from the Keirn collection.  

Interpretive Exhibition

The interpretive exhibition titled “National Identify and Military Culture, an examination of how a country’s history shapes its sense of national identity and the military culture of its armed forces" is housed here.  

The exhibit also includes extensive artifacts from the Keirn collection and includes American and German examples.  It features a tribute to the United States Marine Corps, and a tribute to three selected American heroes of World War II – “three ”among many.”

Special Collections
Several individuals, including Vincent Hagg ’50, and the family of Renato Ferretti ’43, have donated artifacts, papers, and personal items Please visit the museum to hear more about these and other collections as well as the donors’ wall of honor.


Plan Your Visit


Saint Francis University Library and Learning Commons

106 Franciscan Way

Loretto, Pennsylvania





Monday - Friday  10 a.m.- 6 p.m.


Self-guided tours:  Saturday and Sunday 1p.m. - 6 p.m. (Guided tours can be scheduled through the number below.)


Closed during University Holidays


Questions about hours or tours: 814-472-3160


Request a Group Tour

As a part of Saint Francis University, education and interaction are central to our mission. Local schools, veterans’ groups, and community organizations are welcome for personalized tours.  Please contact the museum at 814-472-3160  in advance to make arrangements for your group visit.



Several options for preserving the memory of World War II and our community’s history

Legacy Donation
Give a gift in honor of or in memory of a friend or family member. You can also give donations as retirement, graduation, birthday, anniversary, or in recognition of military service gifts. The name of the person honored or memorialized will be displayed on our website. 

Provide an Oral History Interview
We want to capture the memories of World War II from those who experienced it or from their family members. Please contact us if you are interested in sharing your story or your family members’ story. We have oral history interviews from local World War II veterans or their family members and we are very interested in conducting an interview with you! 

General Donation
You can also make a one-time donation to support the preservation of artifacts and continued student research in our collections.