#Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience

December 17, 2016 - September 24, 2017

The #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience exhibition is closed. Please enjoy these video highlights and other information about this past exhibit.

Experience life through the lens of Pittsburghers with the new exhibition, #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience. Don’t miss the exhibit before it closes at the end of the month!

With nearly two billion digital images taken daily, photography connects generations and remains one of the most popular means of self-expression, thanks in part to popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The #Pixburgh exhibit highlights Pittsburgh’s passion for photography from the early 1850s through today, culled from the History Center’s extensive vault of nearly one million photos. Many of the nearly 400 featured photographs have never been displayed to the public.

Each image featured in #Pixburgh reflects a wide variety of subjects and time periods, from turn-of-the-century mugshots to the 1960 World Series, from the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day Flood to the Westinghouse Skybus, and from early “selfies” to Polaroids, all while exploring Pittsburgh’s cycle of change and renewal.

With images featuring social gatherings and holiday traditions, family dinners and beloved pets, historic events and unforgettable milestones, the exhibit showcases the similarities between the subjects Pittsburghers photographed a century ago to what is captured by our social media-savvy society today.

Subjects include:

  • The faces of Pittsburgh, showing the racial, ethnic, and religious fabric of our region;
  • Famous landmarks, large-scale events, and iconic images of the Point, the Kaufmann’s Clock, and Three Rivers Stadium that help to give us a sense of place;
  • Pittsburgh at work, highlighting the cross-section of workers that help to keep the city growing;
  • Leisure activities that show how Pittsburghers enjoy their time off, from vacations and holiday parties to cookouts and happy hours; and
  • A special area focusing on dogs, cats, and other beloved family pets.

The exhibit also includes artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian, including a nine lens wet plate camera from the 1880s that was used to take multiple images at the same time and a sheet of uncut gem tintypes from 1870. Both Smithsonian artifacts demonstrate the evolution of lower-priced, faster-paced camera technology, as well as Americans’ ever-increasing love of photography.

Families will enjoy several interactive activities throughout the #Pixburgh exhibit, including an immersive photo slideshow area that encourages visitors to play the role of museum curator and guess the date and location of historic images; a hands-on children’s section where kids can play a special photo matching game; and a special “Through the Lens” section where visitors can gaze through an oversized lens to see images from the photographer’s viewpoint.

From the darkroom to the digital era, #Pixburgh provides visitors with a compelling glimpse into how Pittsburghers chronicle their city and their own lives in a format that’s more popular than ever.

SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO

If you could add one of your own photos to #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience, what would it be?

We invite you to dig through your photos, flip through your albums, and check your phone to find a photo that perfectly captures your Pittsburgh experience.

Please submit your photo to us using the form on our submission page. We ask for some information that will help us share your Pittsburgh story. Photos will now be included online in a photo gallery.

View the #Pixburgh Photo Album
Heinz History Center - On the Blog
Heinz History Center: In the News
History Center: Exhibit Sponsors

Colcom Foundation
Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
Richard King Mellon Foundation

RAD

Video Highlights

Artifact Highlights

Wing’s Patent nine-lens multiplying camera, late model, Dec. 4, 1880 | Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. | #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience

Wing’s Patent nine-lens multiplying camera, late model, Dec. 4, 1880.
With the advent of the tintype in the 1850s, photographers increasingly sought new ways to produce as many images as possible from one plate. By combining multiple lenses and a moving plate holder, Simon Wing of Maine devised a “multiplying camera” in the 1860s that could take up to 72 tiny images from one sitting.
Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Sheet of uncut gem tintypes, c. 1870 | Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. | #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience

Sheet of uncut gem tintypes, c. 1870.
These uncut tintype portraits testify to the relentless search for ways to make more photographic images as cheaply and quickly as possible. Tintypes—images created by printing a direct positive on a thin sheet of coated metal—were an inexpensive option that became widely available around the time of the Civil War. In fact the war increased the popularity of giving and receiving photos of friends and loved ones. By the 1870s, many different types of “multiplying cameras” could produce anywhere from four to 72 images.
Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Historical Photo Gallery

Exhibit Photo Gallery