Heinz History Center

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.

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:

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