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January 19, 2021

Your Ticket to the Inauguration

Presidential inaugurations are meaningful moments in our country’s history. Every four years, Americans watch the transition of power from one elected leader to another. For the outgoing president, the job of a lifetime comes to an end; the responsibilities, successes, failures, and joys of the job end at noon on Inauguration Day. For the president-elect, the stress of the campaign trail, the intensity of Election Day, and weeks of preparation culminate in this moment, when the job of a lifetime is just beginning.

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August 18, 2020

Pennsylvania Women and the Vote

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which made it illegal to deny citizens the right to vote based on sex. As we commemorate this landmark anniversary, let’s look back at some of the Pennsylvania women who fought hard to make women’s suffrage a reality. The impact of these women, along with countless others in Western Pa. and beyond, can still be felt today.

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July 3, 2020

Exploring Images of John Brown

Perhaps more than any other figure connected with abolitionist cause in America, John Brown was a polarizing presence, depicted as demon or martyr depending upon the goals of the artist and the intended audience. An image featured in the new exhibition Smithsonian’s Portraits of Pittsburgh: Works from the National Portrait Gallery emphasizes Brown’s resurrected image after the Civil War, when the Union victory confirmed for many the merits of his purpose even if they disapproved of his methods. The print reminds us that portraits are not neutral images. They are artifacts of a certain time and place, shaped by the motives of creators and sitters and geared to the expectations of specific audiences.

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