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Pittsburgh Sports History Driving Tour
Item 8 of 14

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the History Center is the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. The 370,000 sq. ft. museum - recently named "Best Museum" by the readers of Pittsburgh Magazine - features over 40,000 artifacts throughout six floors of long-term and changing exhibition space, including the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, a dynamic museum-within-a-museum, and the Library & Archives, an extensive scholarly resource documenting 250 years of life in Western Pennsylvania.

  • Exterior of the Heinz History Center
  • Ground floor exhibit space within the center.
  • As expected, sports history plays a large role in a history center located in Pittsburgh.

The Senator John Heinz History Center pays homage to the history and heritage of Western Pennsylvania and is the state’s largest history museum, as well as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. This family of museums includes the Heinz History Center, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, the Fort Pitt Museum, the Meadowcroft Rockselter and Historic Village, the Detre Library and Arhcives, and the Conservation Center. 

Exhibits in the Heinz History Center include We Can Do It! WWII, an examination of Pittsburgh during the second world war, the city’s influence on the war, and the war’s affect on the city; Mister Roger’s Neighborhood in the Special Collections Gallery, displaying artifacts from the show and set; the Heinz exhibition, illustrating the 145 year history of the company; Pittsburgh: A Tradition for Innovation; From Slavery to Freedom; Clash of Empires: The British, French, and Indian War 1754-1763; Close Up: Photographs from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette 2014; and Glass: Shattering Notions, which looks at glass making and its history in the steel city. The center’s major collections include H.J. Heinz, Westinghouse, Alcoa, and Gulf, but the history center also displays items from everyday life depicting the history and culture of Pittsburgh, such as letters, photos, paintings, uniforms, and records. The history center’s programs include the African American Program, the Italian American Program, the Rauh Jewish Achieves, and the Westinghouse Collection.

Cheney, Jim. "Learning About Pittsburgh's Historical Significance at the Heinz History Center." Uncovering PA. July 16, 2014. Accessed October 11, 2016. "Our Story." Senator John Heinz History Center." Accessed October 11, 2016. Darlington, David. "Heinz History Center Expands, Opens Pennsylvania Sports Museum." American Historical Association. March, 2005. Accessed October 11, 2016.