Heinz History Center

James Benney III / General Photograph Collection, Detre Library & Archives Heinz History Center

Even before Pittsburgh was topping “most livable” listicles and getting attention as the “next Brooklyn,” it attracted travelers from around the country.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Long before cell phones held all of our photos and stored calendars for meetings, there was a primitive, but equally as personal object: the carved powder horn. 

Some called him a hero of high moral values. Others dubbed him a traitor. Either way, the infamous Simon Girty will soon be remembered with an historical marker in Greenfield.

The installation is the culmination of nearly 30 years of research on the part of his great-great-great-great-great nephew, 83-year-old Ken Girty, who as a child believed his ancestor to be a good-for-nothing "baby-killer."

He's since changed his mind.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Artist Ron Donoughe has captured the city’s neighborhoods one brush stroke at a time. The plein air painter has visited each neighborhood, paintbrush in hand, in front of an easel and canvas for his 90 neighborhoods series, now on display at the Heinz History Center.

90.5 WESA’s Deanna Garcia recently spoke with Donoughe at his studio in Lawrenceville.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

A piece of Pittsburgh sports history has been gifted to the Heinz History Center. The uniform and bat wielded by Bill Mazeroski in the Pirates' 1960 World Series-clinching victory against the New York Yankees will be part of its permanent collection.

“This is the very bat he held in his hand that day, October 13, 1960, and this is the uniform he wore that day,"  said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. "It still has Mazeroski’s sweat from 1960 on it."

Loew's Collection / American Theatre Architecture Archive

One of the nation’s largest collections of theater memorabilia recently moved to Pittsburgh, which, among our bridges, rivers and legendary sports teams, is known for having the first commercial movie theater.

The Theatre Historical Society of America, or THS, opened the curtain to their new facility along Penn Avenue last month, after outgrowing its previous home in Chicago. Founded in 1969, THS is a nonprofit educational organization that collects and archives artifacts from live and film theater productions.

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

Imagine pouring over images in a prized family photo album. But it's not just your family; it's every family to live in Pittsburgh for 12 decades.

Rachellynn Schoen / Heinz History Center

Ever wonder how much Grandma’s pearl necklace is worth? What about that antique Westinghouse sewing machine from your distant cousin? Maybe you've got an old menu from the William Penn.

This weekend, you've got a chance to find out.

Alistair Ross / flickr

Herb Douglas is 94 years old and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, as well as the University of Pittsburgh. He’s also a 1948 bronze medalist and the oldest living black Olympian.

Douglas’ passion for the Olympics and sports ignited when he met Jesse Owens.

Remembering The Entrepreneurial Genius Of H.J. Heinz

Jul 15, 2016
ExplorePAHistory.com / Wikipedia

Few food companies have had a more lasting impact on American eating and buying habits than Pittsburgh’s own H.J. Heinz Company.  By developing quality products and marketing them in innovative and creative ways, the company grew from a small local food purveyor into one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Gage Skidmore / Wikipedia

The hacktivist group Anonymous is calling for a National Day of Rage protests in cities across America today. This is being done in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Pittsburgh protest is scheduled to take place this evening at 7pm at the City County Building.  Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman joins us to talk about how things have become so tense that Tim Scott,  a conservative senator from South Carolina, has broken ranks to express his concerns about policing.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

It’s been 200 years since Pittsburgh’s first mayor, Ebenezer Denny, was sworn into office on July 9, 1816, and on Saturday, his great-great-great-great-great-grandson Harmar Denny IV will join hundreds of other descendants of 50 former mayors to celebrate Pittsburgh’s bicentennial.

In total, 470 people related to former mayors will be in attendance.

Gov. Tom Wolf Administration

  Local historians are creating an online database chronicling Pittsburgh’s disability history.

The Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium was created to centralize legislation, photos, videos and equipment belonging to state agencies. It’ll also provide information and a tool for advocacy groups, organizers said.  

Everybody (Was) Workin' For The Westinghouse Weekend

Jun 3, 2016
Emily Stock / 90.5 WESA

135 years ago this week, George Westinghouse Jr. did something huge for the labor industry. No, it was not a new invention or company. 135 years ago, Westinghouse gave his workers a half-day on Saturdays, telling them to pursue their interests and take some time off. To tell us more about this moment in history, we visited Anne Madarasz, vice president of the Museum Division at the Heinz History Center.

Toy Exhibit Reflects Decades Of Change In American Society

May 4, 2016
Heinz History Center / Facebook

Toys are designed to be fun, but they also stimulate creativity and imagination. Children and grown-ups learn from play. The Heinz History Center's current exhibition, "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s," which is on exhibit now through May 31, demonstrates how these toys reflect three decades of dynamic changes in American life. We'll talk about it with Heinz History Center President and CEO, Andy Masich.

Celebrating 60 Years Of The Ant Farm

Apr 12, 2016
UncleMilton.com

Currently on display at the Heinz History Center is an exhibit celebrating toys from the 50’s through the 80’s. One toy marking its 60th anniversary has roots here in Pittsburgh. Maze Toons cartoonist and pop-culture contributor Joe Wos brings us the history of the ant farm.

    Do you think to yourself, "my loneliness is killing me, I must confess I still believe?" Well, don't worry anymore. Like a "genie in a bottle"coming to grant you a wish, WESA's Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh's Rachel are here to give you some weekend plans, with a little '90s flair. 

Remembering The Great St. Patrick's Day Flood Of 1936

Mar 17, 2016
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

At the beginning of the 20th century, flooding was not uncommon for Pittsburgh. Businesses and residents were used to dealing with spring flooding and no official action had been taken to combat rising water levels from the city’s three rivers. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1936, however, usually warm temperatures resulted in a rapid thaw of the winter ice and the city was engulfed in 46 feet of water. We’ll talk with Heinz History Center museum project manager Lauren Uhl joins Essential Pittsburgh to discuss the flood and how it impacted the Steel City.  We’ll also hear from St. Stanislaus parish historian Derris Jeffcoat about how nuns living there survived the flood and Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor owner Jacob Hanchar about how the Klavon family escaped the rising waters.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Currently on display at the Heinz History Center is the exhibit Toys of the ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s. From Barbie to PacMan, we ventured through the decades to learn how some iconic toys reflected American society with Heinz History Center Curators Emily Ruby and Anne Madarasz.

 You survived Valentine's Day and the whole gang, WESA's Josh + Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh's Rachel, are here to tell you about the happenings here in Pittsburgh. It's going to be a busy weekend, so let's get to it! 

MGM / Youtube

At the turn of the 20th century, Pittsburgh played host to a story of crime, murder, passion, and escape. The tale of the Biddle brothers made front page news across the country and was even later adapted into a movie starring Mel Gibson. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center, to hear the tale of this legendary prison escape.

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.

Pages