The History Center offers multi-disciplinary and interactive guided tours for students of all ages that are both educational and fun. Guided tours follow thematic routes through the History Center’s five floors of exhibits, showcasing the region’s history in a way that supports standards-aligned learning.
Grade Levels: K – 12th grade
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Maximum: 125 students
Explore the struggles and successes of African Americans in Western Pennsylvania throughout 250 years of history. Learn about the African American experience through Pittsburgh’s role in the abolition movement, the Underground Railroad, the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, and sports teams, including the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. Exhibits explored include From Slavery to Freedom, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, Special Collections, and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
Pittsburgh’s history has been shaped by its natural resources and the innovators who have made this region their home. Learn about the connections between natural resources and Pittsburgh-created innovations, including plate glass, steel, George Westinghouse’s air brake, and Heinz ketchup, which have been used throughout the world. Exhibits explored include Glass: Shattering Notions, Heinz, Special Collections, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, and Discovery Place.
Many Faces, One City
Western Pennsylvania has long been a region of many cultures and traditions. Explore some of the groups of people that have lived in Western Pennsylvania, including American Indians, Europeans, and African Americans, and the contributions that they have made to the Pittsburgh area. Exhibits explored include From Slavery to Freedom, Special Collections, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, and Clash of Empires.
Explore Pittsburgh’s pastimes by examining the history of sports, entertainment, and leisure activities in Western Pennsylvania. Learn how Pittsburgh became the birthplace of professional football and a leading jazz city. Exhibits explored include the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, and Special Collections.
Leadership and Legacy
Pittsburgh has been home to many innovators and change agents who have influenced fields like science, journalism, and civil rights to make the world a better place. Explore the stories of these influential people, such as George Westinghouse, Andrew Carnegie, Nellie Bly, Rachel Carson, Martin Delany, and more. Exhibits explored include the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, From Slavery to Freedom, and Heinz.
Your tour will visit some of the most popular exhibits in the museum where you will encounter interesting stories about Pittsburghers. Any of the History Center’s current exhibits can be included in a History Highlights tour.
Self-guided tours are an option for educators who would like to facilitate their own museum experience. We encourage educators to tour the museum to prepare for your visit, and free admission is provided. Gallery worksheets or activities that direct students’ time in the exhibits are recommended.
Launching in Fall 2017, self-guided groups can explore the museum using a new digital scavenger hunt on the GuidiGO platform. The History Center can provide 30 devices for use during the visit, which must be reserved at the time of booking, or groups are welcome to bring their own devices.
Time: 1 – 2 hours, plus 1/2 hour for lunch
Grade Level: Pre-K – 12th grade
Group Size: Maximum of 150 students.
Tour Availability: Please note that due to high visitation during the spring field trip season, availability may be limited.
Outposts of Empire
Learn how Pittsburgh began by exploring the conflict over the forks of the Ohio River between the British, French, and Indians during the 18th century. Students will learn about the fur trade that made Fort Pitt a major trading post between Europeans and Indians in a recreated fur trading cabin, and will participate in hands-on activities related to life at Fort Pitt, which may include a cannon, musket, or marching drill. Additional activities, including historic games and tours of Point State Park, may be added upon request.
Grade Levels: All
Program Length: 1.5 – 3 hours (depending on group size)
Maximum: 200 students
Availability: February – December. Please note that due to high visitation during the spring field trip season, availability may be limited.
Experience over 250 years of Western Pennsylvania history by visiting both the History Center and Fort Pitt Museum (located just one mile apart) in one day! You will enjoy a tour at one museum, then board your bus for transportation to the other site all for a combination group tour price. Lunch space may be reserved at the Heinz History Center, or students are welcome to eat outside in Point State Park.
Grade Levels: All
Program Length: 3 – 5 hours
Maximum: 150 students
Availability: Please note that due to high visitation during the spring field trip season, availability may be limited.
Add on a guided tour of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter to any other Meadowcroft programs. Discover why prehistoric people picked this site and how they lived here over the last 16,000 years as you explore the archaeological excavation that uncovered this National Historic Landmark.
Grade Levels: All
Program Length: 1 hour
Availability: April – November. Please note that due to high visitation during the spring field trip season, availability may be limited.