Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Henz History Center
Heinz History Center

Heinz History Center
  Heinz History Center  
Historical Chronology

As the oldest cultural institution in Western Pennsylvania, the Senator John Heinz History Center has become a major cultural asset in the region, an important economic generator, and an integral part of the region’s heritage tourism strategy.


"Historical Society and Library of Pittsburgh" forms but does not endure
 1843 Second formation of Historical Society (does not endure)
 1845 Books, papers, and historic records of Historical Society destroyed in the "Great Fire"
 1858 Third Historical Society forms (lasted 17 months)
 1879 "Old Residents of Pittsburgh and Western Penna." founded (later called Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania) during the 125th anniversary of the French & Indian War
 1880 Archives Committee forms to care for collections
 1881 Annual meeting adjourns because members prefer to attend comedy act in town
 1882 Rival historical society forms (Historical Society of Pittsburg and Western Pa.)
 1884 Name changes from Old Residents of Pittsburgh to Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania
 1884 Annual meeting canceled because of "Great Blizzard"
 1885 Rival society consolidates with HSWP
 1885 Annual meeting postponed due to revivalists Moody and Sankey being in town
 1888 Collections moves to new County Courthouse
 1891 Activities and collections moved to Carnegie Free Library in Oakland
 1893 Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Carnegie become life members
 1896 Membership dues rise from $1/year to $2/year
 1900 Many of HSWP papers and books "absorbed" by Carnegie Library 
 1902 First attempt to launch magazine
 1908 HSWP helps coordinate celebration of Pittsburgh’s sesquicentennial
 1909 Reorganization meeting "to do something about the perilous condition of the society"
 1909 Total membership: 150 
 1911 State grants $25,000 toward site acquisition and construction of headquarters at Bigelow Blvd.
 1912 Cornerstone laid for Bigelow Blvd. building
 1914 Bigelow building opens (regarded as but a part of considerably larger structure)
 1915 Allegheny County appropriates $500 in annual support
 1917 City of Pittsburgh appropriates $2,000 in annual support
 1918 Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine premieres
 1920 Dues increase to $2.50/year
 1921 Dues increase to $3/year  
 1929 State grants $40,000 toward completion of Bigelow building (matched by Buhl Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Andrew W. Mellon, and others) 
 1931 Enlarged Bigelow building dedicated; launch Western PA Historical Survey(1931-36) 
 1936 Solon J. Buck, Ph.D. becomes museum director (later, Archivist of the United States)
 1944 Dues increase to $5  
 1949  Women’s auxiliary forms  
 1952 Endowment campaign begins  
 1952 Annual grants from City and County cease due to budget cuts
 1958 HSWP helps plan the City’s bicentennial celebration
 1959 Renovation of Bigelow building, dedication of Siebeneck Memorial Room  
 1960 Total membership: 382; operating budget: $19,000  
 1962 Bigelow building closes for five months for new furnace and renovations, elevator installed  
 1966 By-laws revised (divides Trustees into five classes, five elected each year)
 1969  By-laws revised (re-stated mission)
 1973 Senator John Heinz presents lecture at HSWP ("Great Grandfather’s Pittsburgh")
 1986 Publishes The Jewish Experience in Western Pennsylvania  
 1987 Issues preliminary plan for Pittsburgh Regional History Center  
 1988 Jewish Archives established  
 1989 Redesign/re-title of magazine, Pittsburgh History: A Magazine of the City and Its Region  
 1989 "Homestead: The Story of A Steel Town" exhibit draws 12,000 visitors 
 1989 Local History Resource Service established in memory of C.V. and Agnes Starret  
 1990 Major expansion of collections; creation of Italian American history project 
 1990 Launch of $20 million capital campaign for History Center; 400 members 
 1990 Allegheny County grants $3.1 million to purchase Chautauqua Lake Ice Co. Building in the Strip District 
 1991 Polish American and Slovak American Collection projects launched 
 1992 State awards $7 million grant for History Center capital campaign 
 1993 Joint operating agreement with Meadowcroft Village executed  
 1994 Renovation of History Center building begins; campaign goal raised to $36.7 million  
 1994 Publication of Beyond Adversity and creation of African American history programs  
 1996 Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center opens its doors  


Dues rise to $40/year; 5,000 members  
 1996 Publishes Points in Time: Building A Life in Western Pennsylvania to accompany exhibition of the same name  
 1997 Capital Campaign reaches $36.7 million goal  
 1997 Anonymous donor makes $3 million endowment challenge grant  
 1998 Published Glass: Shattering Notions to accompany exhibition of the same name 
 1998 Society reorganizes and first President/CEO hired
 1999 Long Range Plan adopted 
 2000 The Meadowcroft Foundation merges with Heinz History Center 
 2000 Smithsonian Affiliation  
 2003 Emmy Award for Donora Smog “On Q” program collaboration with WQED
 2004 Smithsonian Wing with Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Mueller Education Center, Special Collections Gallery, and McGuinn Gallery for traveling exhibitions – History Center becomes the largest museum dedicated to history in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ($30 million raised)  
 2004 Young Washington musical collaboration with CLO reaches over 200,000 school students
 2004 Center for the French & Indian War established at History Center  
 2004 Mayor Murphy and County Executive Onorato authorize History Center to take leadership role in organizing Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary events (2008) 
 2005 Meadowcroft named National Historic Landmark  


Steelers Sundays at the History Center in a live studio broadcast
 2005 250th anniversary of the French & Indian War commemorated with international traveling exhibition, Clash of Empires: The British, French and Indian War 1754 – 1763 and educational films, programs and publications  
 2006 Hosts national launch of Ben Franklin Web Portal in honor of Franklin's 300th birthday  
 2006 History Center’s installation of life-size figures of George Washington and Franco Harris at Pittsburgh International Airport, viewed by 15 million annually  
 2006 National Geographic writes article "What genes and fossils tell us" highlighting the Meadowcroft Rockshelter in its March 2006 issue  
 2006 History Center’s Clash of Empires: The British, French and Indian War 1754 – 1763 exhibition opens at Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada  
 2006 National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown comes to the History Center to celebrate All-Star Week  
 2006 Grand Opening, Clash of Empires: The British, French and Indian War 1754 – 1763 exhibition at Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. 
 2006 Establishes off-site storage facility on Railroad Street in the Strip District  
 2006 Worlds in Motion online curriculum funded by NEH Exemplary Ed. Grant and establishment of www.worldsinmotion.org the educational Companion to the Clash exhibition  
 2007 History Center receives highest (4-star) Charity Navigator rating  
 2007 Westinghouse Museum Foundation merges with the History Center  
 2007 History Center Web site records a record 61,000 hits in one day as Steelers 75th Anniversary and Dan Rooney autobiography launch  
 2008 Pittsburgh 250 History Center takes leadership role in celebrating the region’s 250th anniversary and re-branding efforts  


Federated Investors Parade of Champions attracts more than 50 athletes and 5,000 fans for a three-day sports fan festival at the History Center


"Pittsburgh's Hidden Treasures: An Antiques Appraisal Show" attracts 2,000 visitors to the History Center and spawns new KDKA television series


History Center launches Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibition


History Center launches new Web site at www.heinzhistorycenter.org


The History Center celebrates its 130th anniversary (1879-2009).
2009 All six Steelers Super Bowl trophies are displayed at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
2009 The History Center unveils the new exhibition created in collaboration with the National Constitution Center, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War and Lincoln Slept Here.
2009 A record total of 454 facility rentals are hosted at the History Center.
2009 National History Day, sponsored by Columbia Gas of Pa., attracts 1,532 school students.
2009 Season two of “Pittsburgh’s Hidden Treasures” attracts record Nielsen ratings on KDKA-TV.
2009 The American Association of Museums (AAM) announces that the History Center is named an Accredited Museum.

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Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
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A Tradition Of Innovation
Celebrate Pittsburgh's incredible impact on the world.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
PA Civil War Commemoration
The History Center marks 150th anniversary with special exhibits, events, and more.
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
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