The Collection

The Italian American Collection documents the history and culture of Western Pennsylvania’s Italian American community. The collection consists of three main elements:

  • Approximately 800 objects, including textiles, utensils, tools, sculptures, housewares, and other three-dimensional items
  • Thousands of archival materials in the form of books, photographs, immigration materials, family papers, and records from businesses and fraternal organizations
  • Oral histories from more than 300 first, second, and third generation Italian Americans

Highlights of the artifact collection are found throughout the History Center, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, and in the section of the Special Collections exhibition devoted to Italian Americans.The majority of our holdings are housed in state-of-the-art museum storage in the new Museum Conservation Center in temperature and humidity controlled conditions in order to preserve them for future generations. Requests to view specific items are welcomed and can be made by contacting Melissa E. Marinaro at memarinaro@heinzhistorycenter.org.

The oral history collection and archival materials are accessible through the Detre Library & Archives. To learn more about utilizing the Italian American Collection’s archives, please visit our Resources page.

Available May 2020

Pre-Order the Book

Highlights from the Italian American Collection: Western Pennsylvania Stories is a fascinating visual history presented through the Heinz History Center’s collection of artifacts, archives, and oral histories. The collection is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the United States and documents the pivotal role Italian Americans played in shaping the region’s political, economic, religious, and cultural landscapes. This important collection gives voice to the immigrant experience in America.

Collection Gallery

On Google Arts & Culture

Taking inspiration from Italian American Program director Melissa E. Marinaro’s new book, Highlights from the Italian American Collection, the Italian Americans in Western Pennsylvania exhibit on Google Arts & Culture explores the History Center’s Italian American Collection. The collection is one of the largest collections of Italian American material culture in the U.S, housing thousands of objects and archives reflecting the Italian American experience.