For Educators

With professional development sessions, open houses, in-service days, and much more, teachers are invited to a range of learning opportunities at the History Center.

Teacher E-Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on the latest happenings by signing up for the History Center’s monthly e-newsletters designed especially for educators. Learn about special teacher opportunities, upcoming exhibitions and special events, and themed lesson plans designed especially for you. To sign up, click here.

In-Services and Educational Meetings

The History Center’s award-winning exhibits and the Detre Library & Archives provide a relaxed, informal learning environment for groups desiring a non-traditional setting for professional development gatherings and in-services. In-services can focus on a particular topic or can be developed to fit the needs of a specific content area or grade level.

To learn how you can schedule an in-service at the History Center, please contact School and Teacher Programs Coordinator Amanda McAllen at 412-454-6314 or

Examples of content include:

  • Analyzing and Integrating Primary Sources – Using primary sources held in the Detre Library & Archives and online, learn techniques for investigating primary sources and engaging ways to incorporate them into classroom lessons.
  • Creating Experiential Learning in the Classroom – Learn how you can integrate place-based learning, hands-on learning with historic artifacts, and other experiential learning techniques into social studies lessons.
  • Literary Arts Integration in Social Studies – Discover new ways to integrate literary arts into history lessons through poetry, film, fiction, and more, using methods that can range from digital storytelling to investigating images as texts.
  • Accessing and Integrating Digital Museum and Archives Resources – With new digital platforms such as the Smithsonian Learning Lab and digitized archival collections, primary sources are more accessible than ever before. Learn how to find sources in a range of archives and new ways to engage students in the use of primary source material.

Online Resources

History Center Curriculum Materials

Access themed Curriculum Packages that bring period maps, photographs, letters, and diaries into the classroom and find engaging classroom and museum-based activity suggestions that support our education programs on the History Center’s Learning Lab collections pages. Visit to explore these resources.

These packages also include student reading materials and classroom lesson plans.

Historic Pittsburgh

Historic Pittsburgh is a freely-accessible collection of digitized historic maps, films, documents, texts, and over 35,000 photographs related to Western Pennsylvania history. Educators can use this website to dive into digitized historic material held by over a dozen participating local libraries, archives, museums and historical societies, including the History Center’s Detre Library & Archives and the University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System. Teachers are invited to explore Historic Pittsburgh.

First Peoples

Find lesson plans and materials through the Meadowcroft education webpage for self-guided explorations of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, a National Historic Landmark. Using primary resource material from the intensive study of the Rockshelter, high-resolution GigaPan images, and multimedia content, students will investigate the secrets of the “First Peoples” and the interdisciplinary approach of the experts who continue to study the Rockshelter. Inquiry-based explorations focus on the following topics:

Meadowcroft Rockshelter Overview: Explore the secrets of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and the significance of the site in North American archaeology.

Archaeology at Meadowcroft Rockshelter: Investigate the methodologies used by the experts who excavated the Rockshelter and explore the evidence left by the First Peoples.

Cross Creek Ecology: Explore the geography and ecology of the Cross Creek watershed to determine how the natural world impacted the lives of the First Peoples.

A Geologic History of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter: Discover the geologic forces that shaped the Cross Creek watershed, created the Rockshelter, and impacted the subsequent stratigraphy of the site.

The Cultural Significance of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter: Uncover cultural evidence from Meadowcroft Rockshelter to understand the cultural progression of First Peoples in North America.

For more information on programs or educational materials contact Meadowcroft’s Education and Program Manager Andrew Donovan at or 724-587-3412.

Free Preview Pass for Educators

Educators receive a free admission coupon to the History Center when confirming a tour reservation, allowing you to plan ahead and make the most of your visit for students.