5 Reasons to Visit the History Center This Holiday Season

As family and friends flock to the city this holiday season, there’s only one place to take them for a day of out of this world fun. The Heinz History Center’s interactive exhibitions, engaging programs for all ages, and special holiday treats make it the perfect stop for a uniquely Pittsburgh experience.

Need some convincing? Check out our top five reasons to visit the History Center this season.

5. Visit Santa

The one and only Santa Claus will be in the building on select dates this December! Create new holiday memories with your loved ones as you take a holly, jolly family photo with Santa in an exact replica of his original chair from the Santaland display at Kaufmann’s (and Macy’s) department store. Santa will be in the History Center’s Great Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily from Dec. 8-16. Santa visits are included with regular museum admission. (P.S. Don’t forget your camera!)

Meet Santa Claus at the Heinz History Center during A Very Merry Pittsburgh

4. Meet a Smithsonian Curator

Get the inside scoop from a Smithsonian curator! On Dec. 9, the History Center will host Dr. Michael Neufeld, senior curator of space history at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., for a special presentation on the Destination Moon exhibition. As lead curator for the exhibit, Dr. Neufeld will share insights into his work at the National Air and Space Museum, his research on the Apollo program, and the process of creating Destination Moon.

Ahead of the afternoon’s presentation, a limited number of spots are available for an exclusive Deep Dive Tour of Destination Moon. Dr. Neufeld and History Center curator Emily Ruby will lead a tour of the exhibit, focusing on the Apollo 11 mission and Western Pennsylvania’s many contributions to the space race. Get your tickets today!

Discovery Place at the Heinz History Center

3. Bring the Kids

The History Center’s youth and family programming invites kids to have a blast exploring our engaging exhibits. Kids ages 2-5 and their caregivers can hop on a trolley, build an airplane, and explore innovations in train travel during Hop into History: Trains, Planes, and Trolleys on Dec. 12. Kids ages 5-8 can be inspired by the pop art of Pittsburgh native Burton Morris and create their own holiday-themed masterpiece during History Explorers: Art of the Everyday on Dec. 19. Finally, kids ages 8-12 can become space explorers this winter break during History at Play: Moon Mania on Dec. 28.

2. Explore our Exhibits

There’s something for everyone in the History Center’s six floors of interactive exhibits. For pop culture aficionados, visit the Special Collections Gallery to see original set pieces and exclusive artifacts from the beloved children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” For foodies, ketch-up on 145 years of Heinz innovations in our Heinz exhibit. For die-hard sports fans, check out our two-floor Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, now featuring a dozen game-worn jerseys from Pittsburgh Steelers legends on loan from Thomas and Alba Tull. For the kiddos, explore Pittsburgh innovations and inventions in Discovery Place – where creativity, science, and history merge. There’s even more to explore! Check out all our exhibits.

Mister Rogers Neighborhood

1. Experience Destination Moon

The number one reason to visit the History Center this holiday season is none other than the new Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition from the Smithsonian! Perfect for budding astronauts of all ages, Destination Moon features more than 100 one-of-a-kind artifacts, including mission-flown objects from Apollo 11 and a national treasure – the Command Module Columbia. The family-friendly exhibit features interactive activities, including an immersive “launchpad” entrance, a virtual 3-D tour of Columbia’s interior, a lunar lander video game, a replica command module that visitors can climb inside, and more. Learn more.

So bring your crew to the History Center this season and make your holiday historic!

BONUS: There’s one more reason to visit the History Center this season! On Dec. 27, History Center President and CEO Andy Masich will host a special afternoon event called “How Pittsburgh Put a Man on the Moon,” which will explore Pittsburgh’s contributions to the Apollo 11 mission in honor of the Destination Moon exhibit. A hot cocoa bar will be included in this extra special event. Reserve your spot today!

Kim Roberts is the communications coordinator at the Heinz History Center.

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