Senator John Heinz History Center

Essential Pittsburgh
6:12 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Pittsburgh's Lost Steamboat Serves as an Accidental Time Capsule

An artist recreation of the Arabia, the Pittsburgh steamboat found in a cornfield in Kansas.
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.

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Arts & Culture
2:41 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Ship Sinks In A River, But It's Found In A Cornfield

The excavation site of the Arabia
Credit 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.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:02 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Drury Brought Pittsburgh First Winter Olympic Medal in 1924

Olympic ice hockey in 1924.
Credit Heinz History Center

During the first Winter Olympics in 1924, defenseman and Pittsburgh Yellow Jackets player Herb Drury brought home a silver medal for the U.S. Olympic Hockey team. In the games, Drury scored 22 goals and 3 assists for Team USA.

His career and many Olympic artifacts are memorialized in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Anne Madarasz, director of the sports museum, says the exhibit features some of Drury’s medals as well as historical photographs highlighting Pittsburgh, specifically Duquesne Gardens, as a main stop for players who wanted to be recruited for professional teams. 

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Civil War Events
3:36 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heinz History Center Provides Glimpse into Civil War

The Senator John Heinz History Center is giving people a glimpse into Pennsylvanians’ lives during the Civil War by looking at our lineage.

Visitors this month will have special opportunities to track their ancestors and view tintype photos taken 150 years ago.  They will also see how the entire Civil War exhibit currently on display was created.

Andy Masich, History Center President and CEO, said the center receives thousands of calls every year from people interested in tracking their ancestors - but none are as interesting as Civil War ancestors.

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Arts & Culture
11:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Hidden Treasures Event Returns to Pittsburgh

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.

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History
1:18 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Ft. Pitt Museum Fires Replica 18th Century Cannon

An 18th century replica cannon was fired for the first time Wednesday morning at the Fort Pitt Museum at Point State Park.

A six-person crew of colonial re-enactors used all the proper protocol and ceremony in firing a blank round in the 600-pound cannon, which was made entirely in Western Pennsylvania.

Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center, said only an expert could tell this gun from an original. 

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