View of Pittsburgh, c. 1910. Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, MSP 285, Detre Library & Archives at the History Center.

History at Home

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.

Do you love History at Home? Want to see more? Please consider making a small donation to support the History Center and our family of museums during this difficult time.  

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.

Women Forging the Way

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

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.

Destination Moon
Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s
We Can Do It! WWII
Pittsburgh’s Lost Steamboat: Treasures of the Arabia

Curator Talks

Get the inside scoop on our past exhibits and programs directly from our historians and curators.

#Pixburgh
Destination Moon
Vietnam War
American Spirits
Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s
We Can Do It! WWII

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.

Podcasts

Stream or download our two featured podcasts.

KDKA Radio Time Capsule with Andy Masich
The Cornerstone – a podcast presented by the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives

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.

Activities for Kids

Download and print these Pittsburgh history-themed coloring pages.

History Center Vehicles

Three Vehicles
Trolley
Steel Car
Jeep

Women in Pittsburgh History

Daisy Lampkin
Rachel Carson
Nellie Bly

Fort Pitt Museum

Fort Pitt Museum Activity Sheets

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.

Photographs

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).

Films

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.

Publications

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.