School Outreach Programs

History Center School Outreach Programs

Eyewitness to History

Meet people who have seen history first hand, from the veteran experience of World War II to a Vietnam War protester. These sessions include analysis of primary and secondary sources, student facilitated interviews, and group discussions.

Educators can select from two themes: Military Veterans: Trials and Tribulations of War or The 1960s: The Decade that Rocked America. 

Grade Levels: 6 – 12
Time: 2 hours
Maximum: One class of up to 30 students
Cost: $250 plus mileage, with $50 for each additional classroom visit on the same day.

Forging Freedom

Examine the many ways that the Second World War transformed Pittsburgh, from personal stories of the home front to the role and cost of wartime industrial production.

Grade Levels: 3 – 8
This hands-on program features an investigation of a soldier’s footlocker with period objects for handling and an exploration of archival sources that reveal the experiences of a local military pilot during World War II.

Grade Levels: 9 – 12
This interactive session features oral histories from local individuals involved in the war effort, period objects for handling, and an investigation of one local family’s experience of the Holocaust.

Time: 1 hour per class of 30 students
Cost: $250 plus mileage, with $50 for each additional classroom visit on the same day.

Shaping Modern Pittsburgh – A Deliberative Forum

The past is filled with key points at which different decisions might have changed the course of history. Using the format of a deliberative forum and thinking from the perspective of a citizen in post-war Pittsburgh, students will discuss three options for how the modern city should be shaped. A History Center educator will facilitate this innovative deliberative forum session in your class and will also provide preparation materials for with your students in advance of the forum.

Grade Levels: 9 – 12
Time: 2 hours
Maximum: One class of up to 30 students
Cost: Free, with the support of the Kettering Foundation

Western Pennsylvania in the Civil War

In this outreach program, students will investigate how Western Pennsylvania was crucial to the Civil War effort through hands-on activities and interactive storytelling about the Allegheny Arsenal, explorations of Civil War correspondence, and activities relating to technological innovations at the Fort Pitt Foundry and how the local railroads impacted the Union.

Time: 1 hour for one class of up to 30 students
Cost: $250 plus mileage, with $50 for each additional classroom visit on the same day.

African American History in Western Pennsylvania

Explore the stories of local African Americans through the Heinz History Center’s collections, using interactive storytelling, music, objects, and historic images to discover how African American history is an essential part of our region’s story. This program includes stories of a freedom seeker’s journey through the region on the Underground Railroad, the Negro League baseball teams that called Pittsburgh their home, and innovative jazz musicians and the photographers who recorded them.

Time: 1 hour for one class of up to 30 students. Can also be presented as an assembly.
Cost: $250 plus mileage, with $50 for each additional presentation on the same day.

Fort Pitt Museum Outreach Programs

History Alive: Costumed Interpreter Program

Invite a costumed interpreter to your school to bring to life either the history of the fur trade or solider life at Fort Pitt. Interpreters will use historic maps, images, and reproduction period artifacts to help students build an understanding of the history of Fort Pitt and 18th century Western Pennsylvania.

Please note that the soldier life program includes bringing an unloaded reproduction 18th century musket to the school and administrative approval should be arranged prior to your scheduled program.

Availability: September – March
Program Length: 30 minutes per group of 50 students. Up to four of these sessions can be booked to serve 200 students over two hours.
Program Cost: $200

Fort Pitt Outreach Program

Explore the history of Fort Pitt and 18th century Western Pennsylvania with a museum educator in this assembly-style program that utilizes historic maps and images to illustrate the conflict for the Forks of the Ohio River. Students will build an understanding of the conflict between three different culture groups—British, French, and American Indians—and learn the timeline of the French & Indian War in Western Pennsylvania and how it influenced the American Revolution. This program requires a projector, screen, and microphone (or other sound system).

Availability: September – March
Program Length: 1 hour for up to 200 students.
Program Cost: $125

Program add-onsare available for an additional cost and can include a second costumed interpreter, souvenir gift bags, historic games and activities, and 18th century related crafts.

For additional information, please contact Fort Pitt Museum Education Manager Kathleen Lugarich at

History Near You: Project-based Outreach

Capture your students’ imagination and promote historical thinking skills by making connections to local history. Students will embrace authentic learning in this project-based experience that positions them as historians, exploring primary source materials, conducting oral histories, and designing a product that documents an aspect of local history.

Leveraging community museums and resources, this program relies heavily on the partnering efforts of one or more History Center Affiliates Program (HCAP) sites, which include historical societies, historic homes, and museums throughout Western Pennsylvania. Students will be immersed in the collections of these local repositories to study the history nearest to them. This program has proven to be successful at engaging and empowering students.

Contact History Center Affiliate Program Coordinator Robert Stakeley at with your interest and ideas to collaboratively develop a personalized experience that will bring history to life for your community.