It’s a Beautiful Day at the History Center

The Heinz History Center is home to the largest collection of original items from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public view.
The Heinz History Center is home to the largest collection of original items from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public view.

At the Heinz History Center, every day is a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

The Smithsonian-affiliated History Center is the proud home of the largest collection of original items from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public view – a must-see for Mister Rogers fans!

Located in the museum’s fourth-floor Special Collections Gallery, the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibition features nostalgic artifacts from the beloved children’s television show that aired nationally from 1968 until 2001.

Fans of the show will instantly recognize the entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through to begin each episode; King Friday XIII’s castle; The Great Oak Tree, residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl; Mr. McFeely’s “Speedy Delivery” tricycle; and a variety of additional items and puppets from the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe.”

Inside Mister Rogers’ Closet

To coincide with the release of the highly anticipated film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks as Pittsburgh’s favorite neighbor, the History Center has added more than 20 articles of clothing worn by Fred Rogers to its most popular exhibit.

Recently donated to the History Center by Rogers’ wife, Joanne Rogers, the clothing was worn by Rogers both personally and professionally.

Highlights include one of his favorite jumpsuits to wear around the house; a black button-up shirt worn behind-the-scenes while doing puppetry for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” episodes; a brown cardigan sweater made by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers; assorted ties and bowties; and more. A costume worn by Officer Clemmons on the show is also on display.

The clothing will be on view through spring 2020.

Fred Rogers puts on his iconic red cardigan during an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” (Image courtesy of Fred Rogers Productions.)
Fred Rogers puts on his iconic red cardigan during an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” (Image courtesy of Fred Rogers Productions.)
Heinz History Center curator Emily Ruby prepares a handmade sweater owned by Fred Rogers to be added to the museum’s popular “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit.
Heinz History Center curator Emily Ruby prepares a handmade sweater owned by Fred Rogers to be added to the museum’s popular “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit.
History Center registrar Nicole Lauletta assists an “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” crew member, who records the sound of the living room door opening and closing. Fred Rogers came through this iconic door at the beginning of each episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
History Center registrar Nicole Lauletta assists an “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” crew member, who records the sound of the living room door opening and closing. Fred Rogers came through this iconic door at the beginning of each episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Re-Creating “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”

The Heinz History Center played an important role in the making of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

In 2018, the film’s art directors, set designers, costume designers, and sound engineers made frequent trips to the museum to examine the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” set pieces and costumes in the History Center’s collection – including several pieces not on public display. The production crew measured artifacts, analyzed the construction of set pieces, matched paint colors and fabrics, and recorded sound.

History Center registrar Nicole Lauletta assists an “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” crew member recording the sound of a door opening and closing on The Great Oak Tree, residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl.
History Center registrar Nicole Lauletta assists an “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” crew member recording the sound of a door opening and closing on The Great Oak Tree, residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl.

With help from the History Center’s curators, the crew meticulously re-created the original set from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” ensuring that iconic pieces like X the Owl’s Tree, Grandpère’s Eiffel Tower, and more were as accurate as possible for the film.

After seeing “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” re-imagined in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” plan your visit to see the original artifacts at the History Center, where Mister Rogers’ legacy lives on every day.

We’ll see you soon, neighbor!

Kim Roberts is the communications coordinator with the History Center.

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