Jimmy Stewart museum rebounds from adversity

December 24, 2013 - 2:05 PM
Jimmy Stewart Museum

In this photo made on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, a framed plaque with a photograph of a scene from the 1946 film "It's A Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart, left, and a Hollywood star are on display at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa. The museum dedicated to the life of the star of many films including the holiday favorite "It's A Wonderful Life" is located in the off-the-beaten track town where Stewart grew up. The museum still attracts visitors from all over the country. It’s full of displays not just about Hollywood, but about Stewart’s service as a bomber pilot in World War II, his well-to-do ancestors, and his family life. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) — For a time it looked like the Jimmy Stewart Museum wasn't going to make it.

It's in the actor's hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, far from Los Angeles, where more tourists would see it. And many fans who grew up during the era of Stewart's films are cutting back on travel.

But as the word got out about the museum's plight, donations began coming in, adverting a crisis at least for the next few years.

Museum Director Timothy Harley says a San Diego couple originally from western Pennsylvania began making yearly $25,000 donations, matching what the Stewart family gives.

The museum highlights the movie career of Stewart, who starred in the 1947 Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." It also highlights his service as a World War II bomber pilot.