Exploring the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh

Exploring the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

The Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh is the largest history museum in Pennsylvania!

Entrance to the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Entrance to the Heinz History Center.

The museum includes six floors of permanent and changing exhibitions that tell the story of western Pennsylvania.

There are six floors of exhibits at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
There are six floors of exhibits at the Heinz History Center.

The museum is named after the late U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III, great-grandson of the founder of the H. J. Heinz Company.

Statue of H.J. Heinz at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Statue of H.J. Heinz.

Exhibits at the Heinz History Center

With six floors and 275,000-square-feet of exhibit space, there is SO much to see at the Heinz History Center, it’s almost overwhelming.

Queen Aliquippa exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Queen Aliquippa exhibit.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old cliche “you need a whole day to see it all”, and that certainly is the case at the Heinz History Center.

Paintings on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Paintings on display at the Heinz History Center.

So I’m going to share with you some of my favorite exhibits from my most recent visit to the Heinz History Center, but keep in mind there are MANY more things to see and do there.

Pittsburgh Steelers exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Pittsburgh Steelers exhibit.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall contains many large exhibits related to western Pennsylvania.

Heinz delivery wagon on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
H.J. Heinz delivery wagon on display in the Great Hall.

 While it was officially taken out of service in 1988, visitors can still board and explore Pittsburgh streetcar #1724 in the Great Hall.  

Pittsburgh trolley car at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Pittsburgh trolley car in the Great Hall.

Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation

This exhibit on the second floor celebrate 250 years of Pittsburgh innovations.

Elektro and Sparko were built by the Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World's Fair.

For example, Elektro and Sparko were built by Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair.

Elektro the Moto-Man exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Elektro the Moto-Man exhibit.

More eclectic Pittsburgh cultural contributions like “Night of the Living Dead” are featured here as well.

Night of the Living Dead exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Night of the Living Dead exhibit.

The Heinz Exhibit

The Heinz exhibit on the fourth floor is the largest collection of Heinz company artifacts in the world. 

Entrance to the H.J. Heinz Company exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Entrance to the H.J. Heinz Company exhibit.

The Heinz exhibit explores the important history behind Henry John Heinz’s entrepreneurial spirit and how he shaped the global corporation that continues to bear his name today.

History of the H.J. Heinz Company in Pittsburgh PA.
Origins of the H.J. Heinz Company in Pittsburgh.

One of the highlights of the Heinz exhibit is an 11-foot tall ketchup bottle, comprised of more than 400 individual bottles. 

Giant Heinz ketchup bottle at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Giant Heinz ketchup bottle at the Heinz History Center.

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

The Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood exhibit features artifacts from the popular children’s show that was filmed at WQED in Pittsburgh.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood memorabilia on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood memorabilia on display at the Heinz History Center.

 In fact, this is the largest collection of original items from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” television set on public view anywhere in the world.

Castle from the set of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
King Friday XIII’s Castle from the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

From Slavery to Freedom

The From Slavery to Freedom exhibit on the fourth floor explores more than 250 years of African American history in Pittsburgh and western PA.

Black leadership in Pittsburgh exhibit at the Heinz History Center.
Black leadership in Pittsburgh exhibit.

Pittsburgh’s role in the Underground Railroad and the modern quest for civil rights are among some of the subjects covered in this exhibit.

"From Slavery to Freedom" exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
“From Slavery to Freedom” exhibit.

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum spans 20,000 square feet and 2 floors of the Heinz History Center.

Entrance to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA
Entrance to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center.

Naturally, there are exhibits featuring the Steelers…

"The Immaculate Reception" exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
“The Immaculate Reception” exhibit.

the Pirates…

Bill Mazeroski exhibit at the Heinz HIstory Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Bill Mazeroski exhibit.

the Penguins…

Pittsburgh Penguins exhibit at the Heinz History Center.
Pittsburgh Penguins exhibit.

and the King.

Arnold Palmer exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Arnold Palmer exhibit at the Heinz History Center.

Other sports with western PA ties like Indy car racing are represented as well.

Indy 500 winning race car owned by Western PA native and racing team owner Chip Ganassi.
Indy 500 winning race car owned by western PA native and racing team owner Chip Ganassi.

The Gift Shop

Like any great museum, the Heinz History Center has an excellent gift shop, featuring many of the iconic brands you’d associate with Pittsburgh.

Gift shop at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
Gift shop at the Heinz History Center.

From Iron City to Mister Rogers, you’re sure to find a memorable souvenir in the Heinz History Center gift shop.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood merch in the Heinz History Center gift shop.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood merch in the gift shop.

Hours and Directions

The Heinz History Center is located at 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Goal post from Three Rivers Stadium outside the Heinz History Center.
Goal post from Three Rivers Stadium outside the museum.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

There is plenty of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood memorabilia on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
There is plenty of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood memorabilia on display at the museum.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, you could literally spend an entire day at the Heinz History Center and still not be able to take it all in.

Homestead Grays uniform on display the the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Homestead Grays uniform.

Celebrating everything from the diverse ethnic neighborhoods of Pittsburgh…

Ethnic neighborhoods exhibit at the Heinz History Center in PIttsburgh PA.
Ethnic neighborhoods exhibit.

to the diehard sports fans of western PA.

The Littlest Steeler exhibit at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh PA.
The Littlest Steeler exhibit.

There’s an amazing array of things to see, do, and learn at the Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh!

The glass windows in the Statue of Liberty's crown were made in Pittsburgh.
Did you know the glass windows in the Statue of Liberty’s crown were made in Pittsburgh?

The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh is an iconic relic from the dawn of the atomic age in the United States.

Rubble is all that remains of the base of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher in Forest Hills, PA.
The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh.

While I’d like to think that an artifact like this would find its way to the Heinz History Center or somewhere similar, right now the Westinghouse Atom Smasher sits on a vacant lot 10 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh.

The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh, PA.
The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh, PA.

Touring the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Pittsburgh is a fantastic way to learn about the industrial heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania!

Exploring the Carrie Blast Furnaces on the Rivers of Steel Tour.
Touring the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Pittsburgh.

The Carrie Blast Furnaces were in operation from 1884 until 1982, turning iron ore into purified, molten iron which was then used as an ingredient in the steel-making process.

Standing at the base of one of the Carrie Blast Furnaces.
Standing at the base of one of the Carrie Blast Furnaces.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg preserves the natural and man-made history of the Keystone State, from prehistoric times to the present day.

Exploring the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg
Scenes from the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.