As the largest history museum in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Heinz History Center is committed to telling the American story and inspiring a community of citizens to explore what it means to be an American.
The History Center’s America 101 initiative empowers citizens to know and act on the promise of the country’s founders, enabling people today to write the next chapter of our democracy.
The museum engages visitors through public programs, special exhibitions, digital learning tools, and educational curriculum. It hosts the award-winning “Be the Change: 9th Grade Civics Summit” program, U.S. naturalization ceremonies, American flag folding events, and other forums to discuss issues such as civics, government, immigration, and history.
By 2026 – America’s 250th anniversary – America 101 will ensure that citizens in Western Pa. and beyond are more knowledgeable about American history and able to pass the history and civics portion of the U.S. citizenship test.
America 101 is sponsored by the Nimick Forbesway Foundation and the Charity Randall Foundation.
Election Day 2020
The History Center will serve as a polling place on Election Day 2020 (Tuesday, Nov. 3) for the first time in museum history.
The Citizen You App
The intuitive and easy-to-use Citizen You mobile app is designed to foster civic engagement by gamifying everyday civic actions. The FREE app helps bring together citizens of all ages to compete in challenges and earn points for a variety of civic-minded activities including attending local council meetings, helping a neighbor in need, and (most importantly) voting! Search “Citizen You” on the App Store or Google Play to download the app.
The America 101 App
Could you pass the exam that contains the basic information our government believes all new citizens should know? Use the America 101 app to explore the History Center’s exhibitions, where you can test your knowledge of American history and civics, solve challenges, and create shareable memories.
Made by Us
The Senator John Heinz History Center and leading civic and history organizations across the United States recently launched Made By Us, a national coalition that presents history in relevant, provocative and innovative ways. With a mission to help address the issues our society faces in real-time, Made By Us brings history out of the textbooks and into the digital and social space.
The Made By Us steering committee includes leaders from eight iconic historical organizations, including the Heinz History Center, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, National Archives, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, New-York Historical Society, Atlanta History Center, HistoryMiami, and Missouri Historical Society.
To learn more about this national effort, visit www.historymadebyus.com.
New Exhibition: American Democracy
Opening at the History Center in spring of 2021, America’s national treasures will come to life in a compelling new exhibition, American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, which examines the bold experiment to create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
The exhibition, developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the National Museum of American History, will explore the history of citizen participation, debate, and compromise from the nation’s formation to today. Through objects, interactives, and immersive galleries, the exhibit will focus on the changing political ideals and principles of the nation, citizenship in a pluralistic society, and political participation and engagement. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting exhibition!
Collecting American Elections
Smithsonian Affiliations and the National Museum of American History present a round table discussion of scholars discussing the hard choices and years of experience that they bring to collecting objects and documents from presidential campaigns for the nation’s collection.
On Our Blog
- Pennsylvania Women and the Vote
- Resilience in Ruffles: A New Look at Pittsburgh’s Suffrage Shirtwaist Ball
- Pennsylvania Political Ephemera Through the Years
- What a Political Ribbon Shows About the Political Process
- Women’s Right to Vote
- Don’t Tread on Me: The Flag of Colonel John Proctor’s 1st Battalion of Westmoreland County, Pa.
- Prohibition’s Legacy in Pennsylvania
- At the Shirtwaist Ball
- Will You Sign the Pledge?: Francis Murphy and Pittsburgh’s Great Temperance Movement
- The Fabric of America
- Washington, Lincoln, and the Fourth of July in Pennsylvania
- Becoming American: The Rajcan Story
- Your Ticket to the Inauguration