Outreach Lecture Programs

The Heinz History Center, through its Volunteer Ambassador Program, delivers history lectures and presentations offsite on various topics related to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. The programs are designed to provide extensive information on regional history as they relate to current museum exhibits and events.

For more information or to book a program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Ellen DeNinno at ehdeninno@heinzhistorycenter.org or 412-454-6412.

Program Topics

More than 57 Reasons to Visit & Volunteer at the Heinz History Center”
An overview of local history featuring History Center Exhibitions

H. J. Heinz: A Recipe for Success”
A history of the founding of the H.J. Heinz Company

“It’s A Hockey Night in Pittsburgh! : 1893 to Today”
Tracing Pittsburgh’s hockey history from its beginnings in Oakland to the Consol Energy Center.

“John A. Brashear: The Man Who Loved the Stars”
A biographical sketch of the man who founded the Allegheny Observatory

“The John A. Brashear Time Capsule”
An examination of the letters, photographs, and newspapers discovered when the Brashear factory was demolished in March 2015

“Samuel Langley: Astrophysics Comes to Pittsburgh”
Learn the details of his late 19th century solar research and investigations into manned flight

“James Keeler: Planetary Investigator”
Allegheny Observatory’s director and his studies relating to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

“A History of the Allegheny Observatory”
From the founding by the Allegheny Telescope Association to the current observatory in Riverview Park

“First Ladies of Western Pennsylvania”
Biographical sketches of fifteen women who were first in their respective fields

“Growing Up with Baseball in Pittsburgh”
A look at baseball history from the city that created the first World Series

“Pittsburgh’s Strip District: It’s Not What You Think”
A review of Strip District History

“The Pittsburgh Department Store: Everything Under the Sun”
Take your pick: Hornes or Kaufmanns

“Uncovering Pittsburgh Stories”
Look at a collection of work that creatively interprets our region’s unique history through illustrations

“Steel City Grooves: Celebrating Jazz Legends in Western Pennsylvania”
Audio visual biographical sketches of important contributors to JAZZ with western PA roots including greats such as Billy Eckstine, Johnny Costa, Mary Lou Williams, Henry Mancini, Ray Brown, Errol Garner, Billy Strayhorn, and Maxine Sullivan

“The Fate of Four of Pennsylvania’s Founding Fathers”
Four signers of the Declaration faced severe financial struggles after the Revolution

 “The Class Struggle Comes to Western Pennsylvania”
The railroad riots of 1877, the Homestead strike of 1892, and their legacy

“Pioneers of Public History”
The origins of local history study and societies in the early decades of the 1800s

“Prominent Postwar Pennsylvanians and the Legacy of Civil War”
A noteworthy record in battle was almost essential for political success after the war

“Canals, Railroads, and Repudiation in Pennsylvania”
Government went deeply into debt to fund transportation before the Civil War

“Bleeding Kansas and its Local Bloodlines”
Western Pennsylvanians’ role in the turmoil of 1850s Kansas, a prelude to the Civil War

“The Pittsburgh Homefront during the Civil War”
The War brought many challenges home to Pittsburgh, from the dangers of making ammunition and weapons to the struggles of caring for soldiers and their families along with paying the bills.

“Immigrating to Work: Industrial Immigration to Pennsylvania, 1877-1914”
Southern and Eastern Europeans immigrated to tough jobs in the state’s mines and mills

“Pittsburgh on the Eve of Civil War”
Advertisements and articles from the newspapers offer a glimpse of everyday life

“The Steel City in WWII”
Western Pennsylvania industries contributed to the war effort in an impressive variety of ways, on land, air, and sea.

“The Power of Steam: Pittsburgh’s Role in the Birth of the Western Riverboat Trade”
The birth of an American icon, the Western River steamboat and why it all started here

“WWII: Objects of Victory”
Trace Pittsburgh’s contributions to victory in World War II through the stories of five key artifacts

“From Gateway to the West to Arsenal of Democracy: The Evolution of Pittsburgh”
Using the History Center’s painting and print collection, this illustrated lecture examines how the city of Pittsburgh grew and evolved from 1820 – 1940.

“Why Pittsburgh?: A Story of Innovation”
From the Ferris wheel to heart valves, the air brake to zombies, this illustrated talk unveils how innovations from this region have changed or impacted the world.

“Western PA Sports Museum: What a Story We Have to Tell”
Featuring highlight artifacts from the Sports Museum this talk demonstrates that no other US city of our size has achieved the level of success that Pittsburgh has in such a wide variety of sports.

“From the Everyday to the Exceptional: Pittsburgh Glass 1797 – Present”
A look at the complex history of Western Pennsylvania’s first industry and how Pittsburgh became a world leader in the production, design, and marketing of glass.

“Mount Pleasant Glass at the Heinz History Center”
Learn more about the glass object and archival treasures in the History Center’s collection that were made by the Mount Pleasant companies Bryce, Lenox and L.E. Smith.

“Glass at the Heinz History Center”
The History Center has one of the best collections of regional glass in the country. Learn how this collection was built and the significant stories it preserves and tells.

“Understanding Pittsburgh: The Senator John Heinz History Center”
This visual introduction to the Heinz History Center and its exhibits also introduces more than 200 years of the region’s history.

“Fascinating McKeesport Women”
Businesswomen, philanthropists, journalists, scholars, spies, reformers, bullfighters and ladies of the night, McKeesport was home to them all!

“Not Charity But a Chance: Sophie Loeb, Poet, Writer, Social Reformer”
A remarkable woman who grew up locally, Sophie fought for the rights of widows, children and immigrants in the early 20th century.

“Pittsburgh’s Impact on the World”
A look at innovations that have touched the world that sprouted from the curious minds of Pittsburghers.

“Pittsburgh’s Betty Ford: Model, Actress and Bullfighter”
Despite overwhelming obstacles, this woman achieved her goals and led a fascinating life.

“Helen Ritchie, Aviator”
One of the first female pilots and a peer of Amelia Earhart, Helen was a history maker, flying competitively breaking records, and serving with the Women’s Air Service Pilots.

“WWII: Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs)”
The women who jeopardized their lives to serve our country ferrying planes and supplies during WWII and who continue their fight for recognition.

The Heinz History Center has additional program topics available. If you do not see a topic of interest to your organization, please contact Ellen DeNinno at ehdeninno@heinzhistorycenter.org or 412-454-6412 for additional information and topics.

Program Cost

Cost: $125.00 for a 45 minute lecture with a 15 minute Q&A

Clients provide all required visual aid equipment including computer and/or DVD player, projector and screen, and a microphone for groups of 30 or more people.

When booking, please provide this information:

  • Name of your group
  • Date and time of presentation
  • Site’s full address and phone number
  • Desired topic
  • Audience type (i.e., seniors, students, historical society members)
  • Number of anticipated attendants
  • Group representative contact information: name, phone number, and email address