We Can Do It! WWII
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.
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.
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:
- History Center looks at Pittsburgh’s role in WWII, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- New Museum Exhibit Focuses On Pittsburgh’s Impact On WWII, KDKA-TV
- ‘We Can Do It!’ at Heinz History Center looks at homefront, battlefront, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- The Next Page: How ‘Rosie the Riveter’ grew from the imagination of a Pittsburgh artist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- LISTEN: We Can Do It! WWII radio spot:
- We Can Do It! WWII Opening Day
- So How Do You Move a 38-Ton Sherman Tank?
- Spotlight on the Sherman
- Zippo Lighters Lit the Way in World War II
- John F. Leahy, FBI During WWII
- Michael Musmanno and the Nuremberg Trials
- First Frontier Mechanized Cavalry
- An American in China: Sgt. Bus Means
- A History of Curtiss-Wright During WWII
- The Steelworker’s Work Whistle on VE Day: Three Dots and a Dash
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.