The Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh is the largest history museum in Pennsylvania!
The museum includes six floors of permanent and changing exhibitions that tell the story of western Pennsylvania.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Great Hall
The Great Hall contains many large exhibits related to western Pennsylvania.
While it was officially taken out of service in 1988, visitors can still board and explore Pittsburgh streetcar #1724 in the Great Hall.
Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation
This exhibit on the second floor celebrate 250 years of Pittsburgh innovations.
For example, Elektro and Sparko were built by Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Electric Company for the 1939 World’s Fair.
More eclectic Pittsburgh cultural contributions like “Night of the Living Dead” are featured here as well.
The Heinz Exhibit
The Heinz exhibit on the fourth floor is the largest collection of Heinz company artifacts in the world.
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.
One of the highlights of the Heinz exhibit is an 11-foot tall ketchup bottle, comprised of more than 400 individual bottles.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
The Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood exhibit features artifacts from the popular children’s show that was filmed at WQED in Pittsburgh.
In fact, this is the largest collection of original items from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” television set on public view anywhere in the world.
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.
Pittsburgh’s role in the Underground Railroad and the modern quest for civil rights are among some of the subjects covered in this exhibit.
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum
The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum spans 20,000 square feet and 2 floors of the Heinz History Center.
Upon entering the Sports Museum, you immediately are remined that “the greatest play in NFL history” involved the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Known as “the play that changed a city”, the “Immaculate Reception” as it came to be known was a last-minute, improbable touchdown catch by then-rookie running back Franco Harris that gave the Steelers their first-ever playoff win in 1972.
In addition to a video that replays the famous catch on a continuous loop, you’ll find artifacts such as the shoes Franco wore when making the Immaculate Reception.
You’ll also find exhibits featuring the Pirates…
and the King.
Other sports with western PA ties like Indy car racing are represented as well.
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.
From Iron City to Mister Rogers, you’re sure to find a memorable souvenir in the Heinz History Center gift shop.
Hours and Directions
The Heinz History Center is located at 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
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.
Celebrating everything from the diverse ethnic neighborhoods of Pittsburgh…
to the diehard sports fans of western PA.
There’s an amazing array of things to see, do, and learn at the Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh!
The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh is an iconic relic from the dawn of the atomic age in the United States.
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.
Touring the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Pittsburgh is a fantastic way to learn about the industrial heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania!
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.
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.
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