Heinz History Center

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's iconic sports commentator Myron Cope is being remembered Sunday at the Senator John Heinz History Center as part of a special public tribute called "Yoi! Remembering Myron Cope." We'll talk with Steelers and Pitt Panthers play-by-play voice Bill Hillgrove and David Schlitt, Director of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives at the Heinz History Center.    

Behind-The-Scenes At The Fort Pitt Museum

Jan 27, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Paintings, figurines and dioramas fill the hallways of the Fort Pitt Museum. However, for most of January, the doors of the museum have been closed, as the pieces underwent renovations and workers installed new exhibits. Essential Pittsburgh took a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility ahead of their re-opening to see what went into the process.

Pittsburgh's 'Ghost Bomber' Still Missing After 60 Years

Jan 26, 2016
Filmet Inc.

The Bermuda Triangle may be legendary for disappearing boats and aircraft, but the Golden Triangle has its own mysterious disappearance. 60 years ago, a B-25 Mitchell bomber sank beneath the waves of the Monongahela River. It has not been seen since. Andy Masich, President and CEO of the Heinz History Center, told Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer about the history of the so called “Ghost Bomber.”

Balancing Privacy And Security On A Global Scale

Jan 26, 2016
Global Panorama / flickr

Public disclosures related to government surveillance capabilities and activities, and subsequent reforms, have brought the privacy versus security debate front and center. How should the U.S. balance privacy and national security? We'll talk with Sina Marie Beaghley, Senior International Policy Analyst for the Rand Corporation.

The century-old Kaufmann’s building closed at the end of this summer, but fortunately, many of its most iconic artifacts will be preserved. Those who remember the Kaufmann building will be able to enjoy its most famous features at a different location.

A national organization of police which began in Pittsburgh is getting its spotlight at the Heinz History Center this next week and a half.

In conjunction with the National Fraternal Order of Police’s 62nd National Conference and Exposition at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, an exhibit of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) items will be on display from Tuesday until next Thursday, August 20.

Eric Risberg / AP Images

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are looking to implement a vast network of sensors and devices

on their campus and into the city of Pittsburgh through a Google-sponsored initiative called the “Internet of Things.”  Developers believe the project has the potential to profoundly change the way we approach the world around us as well as improve city infrastructure, communication and decision-making.  But what would it look like if our cars could talk to coffee makers and our calendars to air conditioning units? Lead investigator for the project and director of CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Anind K. Dey, shares his hopes for the CMU undertaking.


Erika Beras

The contents of a time capsule discovered at the John A. Brashear factory were shown to media at the Senator John Heinz History Center on Friday.

The capsule was made in 1884 and contained about 60 items, including newspapers, letters, photographs, glass and envelope with a lock of his daughter’s hair.

Library of Congress

Most days, Henry Clay Frick liked to take a late lunch with friends at the Duquesne Club, just a short distance from his Fifth Avenue office at the Chronicle-Telegraph building. He’d just returned to his desk on Saturday, July 23 1892, when anarchist Alexander Berkman, wearing a brand new black suit, pushed the door open.  

“Berkman rushed in, drew a .38 caliber revolver, and fired two quick shots right at Frick, point blank,” said Andy Masich, president of the Heinz History Center.

The first shot hit Frick in the shoulder, the second in the neck. As Frick’s associates wrestled Berkman to the ground, he fired a third time, hitting the ceiling. Berkman reached for the dagger in his pocket and struck at Frick’s legs. That dagger remains on display at the museum.

Kennywood's Open: Social Club June 26

Jun 25, 2015

Social Club welcomes a special guest this week! Nick Paradise, the man behind Kennywood’s social media pages, joins Social Club to talk about the park and upcoming events.

Kennywood will be hosting Celebrate America from June 30-July 5. The event will consist of a multitude of events from a hot dog eating contest to nightly fireworks along with Kennywood's day-to-day festivities including rides, food and games.

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in Pittsburgh will be the first host of a traveling exhibit created to showcase the history of the flying disc. The exhibit coincides with the PDGA Professional World Disc Championships, which take place in Pittsburgh this August, according to The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).

Mike Richards / 90.5 WESA

John Tippins takes his nieces and daughter for an occasional ride on his farm in Ligonier -- on his tank.

That 1944 M4A3 Sherman is now parked in front of the Heinz History Center in the Strip Distrtict after a 60-mile journey Wednesday on a lowboy truck, which typically transports bulldozers, not military-grade vehicles. 

Tippins loaned it to the history center until Jan. 4 when the museum's World War II exhibition "We Can Do It" ends.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is often called a city of neighborhoods. Two of the most famous, perhaps, are Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Fred Rogers was born on March 20, 87 years ago. Some of his show’s largest and best-known sets are thrilling visitors to the Heinz History Center — as Mister Rogers’ legacy goes on.

Rachellynn Schoen / Heinz History Center

One of Pittsburgh, and America’s, most iconic figures, Mister Rogers, had one of the longest-running children’s programs on television. Now, for the first time, the sets and props from the show will be on display to the public.

On the fourth floor of the John Heinz History Center is the special collections gallery, which is organized by neighborhood: there is an Irish neighborhood, an African American neighborhood and a "Neighborhood of Make-Believe."

Detre Library and Archives Heinz History Center

"90.5 WESA Celebrates Inventing Pittsburgh" is a new historically focused series which airs during "Morning Edition" and on "Essential Pittsburgh." Over the next year, producer Margaret J. Krauss will capture stories from Pittsburgh’s more than 250-year history, connecting the steel city's past to its present.

Krauss previews the new project for us, first by explaining how an expensive rug led to the political downfall of Charles H. Kline, the last elected Republican mayor of Pittsburgh.

By illegally purchasing an item for the city that was over $500 during the Great Depression, he and his rug became a symbol of corrupt city government. 

Krauss says it is small stories like this that illuminate Pittsburgh's roots, and the series is meant to connect the dots:

If you look hard enough, there is a Pittsburgh connection everywhere, but more importantly, Pittsburgh leads everywhere in the sense that it is connected to all these world trends. You can find our [Pittsburgh] DNA across the United States.”

This weekend will mark the launch of a new program celebrating Pittsburgh’s jazz history. Steel City Grooves: Celebrating Western Pennsylvania Jazz will chronicle the past, present and future of jazz in Pittsburgh. Joining us for a preview of this Senator John Heinz History Center Volunteer Ambassador Program is WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker.

Bob Studebaker gives us a taste of what to expect:

Heinz History Center / Heinz History Center

Lost treasures, war artifacts, and pickles…yes pickles are just a few of the attractions the Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum are offering during their free admissions weekend, celebrating National Pickle Day from Nov. 15-16.  

Both the Heinz Center and the Fort Pitt Museum will open their doors to all visitors including adults, children, and seniors, courtesy of a grant from the Jack Buncher Foundation.

Pittsburgh's Lost Steamboat Serves as an Accidental Time Capsule

Apr 28, 2014
Artist Gary Lucy

How did a 19th century steamboat made in Pittsburgh wind up perfectly preserved in a Kansas cornfield? This is just one of many questions that emerges from the story told by Leslie Przybylek, lead curator for the Treasures of the Arabia Exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center. The Arabia is known as Pittsburgh’s lost steamboat and serves as an accidental time capsule. In its hull, were dozens of hats, shoes, pants, even edible food stuffs, all more than 150 years old.

In bringing the exhibit to Pittsburgh, Przbylek has been working with the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, where the excavated items are normally on display. She explained how the boat ended up in that cornfield.

Senator John Heinz History Center

Ships sink.

They crash or capsize, and are usually never seen again, but that’s not the case with the Arabia, which sank in the Missouri River in the latter half of the 19th century—found 130 years later in a corn field.

Starting Saturday, visitors to the Senator John Heinz History Center will be able to see nearly 2,000 artifacts recovered from the once lost steamboat that was built in Pittsburgh in 1853.

History center President Andy Masich said the boat gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the 1800’s.

Heinz History Center

The 1960 World Series Champions Commemorated at the Heinz History Center

The 2014 baseball season opens Monday. Coming off their first winning season in years, hopes are high for the Pirates.

An exhibit of one of the greatest moments in the team’s history just opened at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

On display are artifacts from Bill Mazeroski’s ninth inning home run, which led to the defeat of the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution has been referred to as "America's attic." It is home to many iconic objects that have shaped the history of our nation, from industry to culture. In his book, History of America in 101 Objects, author and Smithsonian curator Dr. Richard Kurin chronicles and pinpoints these national treasures by focusing on key objects in the vast collection. 

Here are some of Kurin’s favorite objects related to the Pittsburgh region:

The 100-foot-long Wholey’s fish is one step closer to getting a new home.

Jim Wholey, president of Wholey’s, held a press conference with Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald over the weekend to announce the top five choices for a new location.

In December, Wholey had asked the community to help decide where the fish should go. Wholey said a few thousand fans of the fish voted via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and in person.

How a Local Poet Laureate Got His Start

Jan 22, 2014
Heinz History Center

This month the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Collection is hosting its inaugural Scholar-In-Residence program.

Receiving the honor is Pittsburgh native Joseph Bathanti. He is also the Poet Laureate of North Carolina and has written eight books of poetry and the award-winning novel East Liberty.

All of his works began with an unexpected move by the young University of Pittsburgh Alum. When he was 23 years old, Bathanti volunteered for the  Volunteers in Service to America program (VISTA) and the experience changed the course of his life.

Bathanti was sent to the North Carolina department of corrections to do his service.

Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States is recognized in currency with statues, a monument in DC and many other areas along the way.

One commemoration includes the Lincoln Highway. Brian Butko is director of publications for the Heinz History Center and an expert on the highway's history, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Butko's knowledge of the Lincoln Highway begins even before the highway was started.

The "Grandson of Pop Art” Returns Home

Sep 16, 2013
Burton Morris

Burton Morris has seen his art displayed in the United Nations, Time Magazine, USA Today, the hit TV show Friends, the Paris World Cup, and the 2006 Major League Baseball All Star Game.

He says of all the ways his graphic and colorful art has been presented, he's most impressed with the Heinz History Center's current exhibit. The Pittsburgh native is given a full retrospective, from his earliest art at age 3 to his evolution into the international spotlight.

Treasures aren’t always strings of pearls or gold doubloons — sometimes, they’re toilets.

1,500 people are expected to attend the sixth annual “Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures” event at the Heinz History Center Sunday.

Visitors can bring up to two items and to be examined by a team of more than 40 appraisers, including experts from Christie’s, the world’s largest fine art auction house. The appraisers will evaluate the historical importance and possible monetary worth of the items.

Two Pittsburgh institutions are teaming up to show the importance of food in African American slavery.

The Heinz History Center, along with Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, is hosting “Beyond the Big House Kitchen: A Culinary History of American Slavery,” a demonstration showcasing how African American slaves were able to cook and eat on the run.

Sarah Rooney, community programs manager for the Heinz History Center, said the exhibit will show the everyday struggles of freedom seekers.

Haldan Kirsch / 90.5 WESA

The identity of Pittsburgh is synonymous with the steel industry. The city’s largest skyscraper is the U.S. Steel Tower. Its football team is the Steelers, and to the nation, it's the Steel City.

But what about the city’s other industries? Before the rise of steel businesses in the region, western Pennsylvania was the center of glass sales in the United States.

The man who wrote probably the definitive book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge will have a bridge named for him in his native Pittsburgh.

The 90-year-old Sixteenth Street Bridge, which links the Strip District and the North Side, will be rededicated Sunday as the David McCullough Bridge in honor of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian.

McCullough will be joined Sunday — his 80th birthday — by family members, friends, fans and local officials for the unveiling of the plaque formally renaming the bridge.

Unsung Heroes of Western Pennsylvania During Civil War

Jul 3, 2013
Wikimedia Commons / National Portait Gallery Washington

While Pittsburgh was never a battleground during the Civil War, there are many little known “unsung heroes” from the Pittsburgh area that made a significant impact in the 1860’s. Heinz History Center's "Pennsylvania's Civil War" lead curator and historian, Leslie Przybylek, shares the stories of three Pittsburghers that you may not have read about in your history books.

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