We Can Do It! WWII

April 25, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016
We Can Do It! WWII Traveling Exhibit

The We Can Do It! WWII traveling exhibition, sponsored by Erie Insurance, The Eberly Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), visited 18 cultural institutions throughout Western Pa. from 2017-2020.

The traveling exhibit explores Western Pennsylvania’s incredible impact on the home, industrial, and battle fronts during World War II.

Traveling Exhibition Schedule

The WWII exhibit is now closed at the History Center.

Discover how Pittsburgh affected World War II – and the war affected our region – as part of the new exhibition, We Can Do It! WWII.

Developed by the History Center, this 10,000 square-foot exhibition focused on Pittsburgh’s role on both the home front and the battlefield during World War II.

The exhibition explored the development of the jeep, a uniquely American invention produced by the American Bantam Car Company in Butler, Pa., and revealed the stories behind real-life “Rosie the Riveters” and local Tuskegee Airmen whose contributions made an unquestionable impact on the war effort.

Featuring nearly 300 artifacts, four life-like museum figures, interactive displays, and immersive museum settings, We Can Do It! brought the 1940s to life as the nation commemorates the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII.

The History Center partnered with several organizations to develop the exhibit, including the Smithsonian Institution, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Soldiers and Sailors Museum, Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, Veteran’s Voices, Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Fort Pitt Chapter, the Tuskegee Airmen of the Western Pennsylvania Region, Zippo/Case Museum, First Frontier Mechanized Cavalry, and more.

History Minute

In these KQV Radio History Minutes, History Center President and CEO Andy Masich shares insight into some of the people and events from Pittsburgh that shaped the outcome of WWII:

Virtual Tour
We Can Do It! WWII Virtual Tour
Heinz History Center: In the News
Heinz History Center - On the Blog
WWII Photo Album

The History Center’s Detre Library & Archives contains many more great WWII photos and stories than we could squeeze into a 10,000 square foot exhibition. Dozens more have been offered during the course of our research, some of which are featured below.

Pittsburgh’s WWII Photo Album allows local residents to share their family stories and show how the region banded together to help win WWII.

To see the photos and share your own, please visit our WWII Photo Album.

Want to know what to expect in the new We Can Do It! WWII exhibition? Watch this exciting informational video.

Recent visitors to the Heinz History Center probably have noticed a BIG new addition to the museum’s exterior.

Watch this video for exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the big tank move in this new video. Enjoy it and find out more about how the tank rolled into the Strip!

Recently, we asked some of the History Center museum division and We Can Do It! WWII curators and designers about some of their favorite artifacts and areas in the exhibit. Watch these videos to learn more about some of the stories we tell in the We Can Do It! WWII exhibit from History Center staff.

You can find transcripts for each of these videos in our video gallery.

Exhibit Gallery

Artifact Gallery

Opening Day Photo Gallery

Over 40 WWII veterans and their families and friends visited the History Center on Saturday, April 25, 2015 for the opening of the We Can Do It! WWII exhibit. The morning kicked off with a mini-motorcade of historic Jeeps. Also on display just for Opening Day was a Pennsylvania-built M3 Stuart tank, provided by the First Frontier Mechanized Cavalry Division. Visitors welcomed local WWII veterans into the museum through a receiving line – complete with confetti, mini American flags, and music provided by the Moon Area High School Band. Then everyone gathered in the museum’s first floor Great Hall for a special flag folding ceremony, where visitors and veterans helped unfurl and fold a giant 36-foot flag.

Did you miss opening day of the exhibit? Catch the highlights from all the festivities in this short video.

History Center: Exhibit Sponsors

MSA The Safety Company
Richard King Mellon Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
The Bognar Family
Bob and Joan Peirce
UPMC Health Plan
Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C.
Jendoco Construction Corp.
Tricia and Bill Kassling
Miryam and Bob Knutson
Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation
Millcraft Investments, Inc.
Schneider Downs & Co.
Catherine & Mark H. Loevner
Juergen Mross
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Heinz History Center - On the Blog


More Information

If you’re interested in more information and videos about the topics covered in the We Can Do It! WWII exhibit, please take a look at the following videos, curated by Curator of History and lead We Can Do It! WWII curator Leslie Przybylek.


If you have questions about public programs and other events related to the exhibit, please contact Sandra Smith at sasmith@heinzhistorycenter.org or 412-454-6396.