While you’re practicing social distancing at home, the Heinz History Center has you covered with an array of virtual history offerings.
For more information about the Heinz History Center’s response to COVID-19 and the most up-to-date closure information, please click here.
Women Forging the Way
Throughout 2020, the nation will commemorate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the U.S. The 19th amendment, ratified on Aug. 18, 1920, prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens on the basis of sex. To mark the centennial of this watershed moment in American history, the History Center has launched Women Forging the Way – an initiative focused on elevating women’s history in 2020 and beyond.
Google Arts & Culture Virtual Exhibitions
The History Center is one of just two cultural organizations in Western Pa. to partner with Google Arts & Culture and curate digital exhibitions seen by people around the world!
↠ The Legacy of Fred Rogers
↠ #Pixburgh: The ‘Burgh
↠ From Farm to Table with the Heinz Collection
↠ Pittsburgh: An Idea Factory
↠ Presidents in Office
↠ Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon
↠ Making Meadowcroft
↠ Italian Americans in Western Pennsylvania
Virtual Exhibit Tours
Blast off to the Moon, explore the treasures of a long-lost steamboat, discover retro toys from your childhood, and so much more! Our online tours allow you to travel back in time to virtually visit our best exhibitions from past years.
History at Home
Our curators and educators bring you weekly content from their homes during the time that the museum has been temporarily closed.
↠ On Lillian Russell
↠ On Hannah Sandusky
↠ On Helen Richey
↠ On Ida Tarbell
↠ On Ida Tarbell and Abraham Lincoln
↠ On Daisy Lampkin
↠ On Rachel Carson
↠ A Short History of Libraries
↠ National Nurse’s Day: Mary T. Sullivan
Get the inside scoop on our past exhibits and programs directly from our historians and curators.
Visit our video gallery for more.
Explore Our Online Collections
From the oldest site of human habitation in North America to the Gateway to the West, from America’s Steel City to the City of Champions, from hard hats to high tech, this region has evolved and changed through time. The museum collections of the Heinz History Center reflect these stories and preserve the rich history of the people who have shaped our region and the world. To learn more, explore the museum’s collections online.
↠ History Center Museum Collections
↠ L&A Collection Highlights
↠ Historic Pittsburgh
↠ Meadowcroft Rockshelter Gigapan
↠ Generation to Generation: Family Stories Drawn from the Rauh Jewish Archives
↠ A Tradition of Giving: The History of Jewish Philanthropy in Pittsburgh
↠ From Slavery to Freedom microsite
Explore an Archaeological Treasure
Looking for a way to explore the archaeological wonders of the from home? Our First Peoples curriculum offers educational resources including teacher guides, virtual tour documents, and interactive images.
A Brief History of 18th-Century Pittsburgh
Explore the city of Pittsburgh in its earliest years in a virtual exhibit from the Fort Pitt Museum, featuring 18th-century images and artifacts that bring the story to life.
History Center Blog
Enjoy more than 300 posts on the History Center’s blog by browsing the entire blog archive.
Western Pennsylvania History Magazine
Explore back issues of Western Pennsylvania History magazine online.
Just For Fun
Take one of our online quizzes and share your results with your friends!
DETRE LIBRARY & ARCHIVES RESOURCES
The Thomas & Katherine Detre Library & Archives at the Heinz History Center is Western Pennsylvania’s preeminent source for researching the region’s rich history. Search thousands of archival documents, photos, and more using these digital resources.
The Heinz History Center’s Detre Library & Archives offers many opportunities to explore its collections virtually from the comfort of your home. Listed below are options for accessing digitized photographs, films, publications, and collection resources online.
More than 7,000 archival photographs from more than 50 different Heinz History Center collections can be accessed via the website Historic Pittsburgh. These images document businesses (such as Alcoa, Heinz, and Westinghouse), organizations (like the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development) and local individuals and families (the Dorsey-Turfley Family, for example).
Visitors to Historic Pittsburgh can also view clips culled from local filmmaker William G. Beal’s vast collection of stock footage. From 1952 until his retirement in 1992, Beal created over 160 films for clients such as PPG Industries, Alcoa, and Kennywood Park. The filmmaker also created stock footage for use in future productions. Highlights include footage of Pittsburgh’s famous dancing cop, Vic Cianca, the construction of Three Rivers Stadium, and the Monongahela and Duquesne inclines.
A collection of digitized books can be found via the library’s online catalog. This collection is comprised of digital versions of books held by the Detre Library on a wide range of subjects with a focus on Western Pennsylvania history. Most of the books in this collection were published in the 19th and early 20th centuries and are out of print or not readily available. The collection will continue to grow over time.
Additionally, Historic Pittsburgh has digitized versions of Pittsburgh city directories between 1815 and 1945, as well as G.M. Hopkins Company plat maps which cover the greater Pittsburgh area through the years 1872 to 1940.
Rauh Jewish Archives digital resources
The Rauh Jewish Archives offers several ways to research Western Pennsylvania Jewish history online.
↠ A Tradition of Giving documents more than 170 years of Jewish philanthropic activities in Pittsburgh, going back to 1847, when the Bes Almon Society became the first Jewish institution in the region.
↠ Generation to Generation profiles 172 Jewish families and 59 small-town Jewish communities throughout Western Pennsylvania. The website contains thousands of photographs and documents and dozens of oral history recordings. It also contains detailed burial records of area Jewish cemeteries.
↠ The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project provides online access to 117 years of local Jewish newspapers. The website includes the Jewish Criterion (1895-1963), the American Jewish Outlook (1934-1962), the Jewish Chronicle (1962-2010) and the papers of the Y-JCC Series (1926-1975)
↠ The Cornerstone is a podcast connecting Jewish historical sites in Western Pennsylvania to historic materials in the Rauh Jewish Archives. Each episode tells the story of one spot using documents, photographs and oral histories, all of which can be studied in greater depth with interactive StoryMaps.
Google Arts & Culture
Selections from the Library & Archives collection can be found in Legacy of Fred Rogers, Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon, and other virtual offerings from the History Center on the Google Arts & Culture platform.
Library Catalog and Collection Finding Aids
Curious about the non-digitized material in the Library & Archives collection? Our library books and archival collections can be searched in our online library catalog, while our finding aids (research guides for archival collections) can be searched on Historic Pittsburgh.
If you have any questions about these resources, you can contact us via this online form.
Resources for Parents & Teachers
We’ve developed history-focused activities for young children, families, students, and teachers. Using step-by-step guides, you’ll learn how to plant your own backyard garden like H.J. Heinz, design an innovative attraction for the World’s Fair, and sharpen your historical thinking skills using objects from the Smithsonian’s collection.
Explore some of Pittsburgh’s favorite things in this activity kit designed for elementary age kids! The Pittsburgh Favorites Activity Kit comes with an Inspiration Journal and coloring pages related to each activity. You can also virtually join a History Center educator to talk about the activities one day each week during July and August.