Frequently Asked Questions

How many people can this location accommodate?

We can accommodate up to 50-325 guests depending on your room preference.

What rooms do you suggest for a wedding reception?

The 1st floor Great Hall is the premiere Heinz History Center location. Framed by vintage vehicles, including a Conestoga wagon, an antique Fire Engine, a Stainless Steel Ford, the Heinz Hitch, and an antique Trolley, the Great Hall is a wonderfully memorable venue for celebrating any historic occasion. Originally part of the Chautauqua Lake Ice House, the Great Hall features a two-story grand staircase, perfect for making your grand entrance, high, vaulted brick ceilings and the original steel beams. For a dinner event that includes an area for dancing, it graciously seats 150-180. Great Hall is available for rental events after 5 p.m.

The 5th floor Mueller Center is a beautifully appointed, traditional ballroom featuring a wall of windows and a 15′ x 135′ outdoor deck with a view of the river directly in front and a view of the city to the left. The sunsets seen from the deck are just spectacular. For a banquet or dinner party, it seats 170-300 comfortably and 350 in a tighter seating arrangement, leaving room for a rented dance floor.

The 1st floor Great Hall for the cocktail reception and the 5th floor Mueller Center for dinner and dancing works beautifully!

Can there be more than one event in the building at a time?

Yes, we can have more than one event in the building at one night. We are very mindful of both groups and arrange the day so neither couple will see the other throughout the night. Each group will have their own Event Coordinator, catering staff and kitchen to ensure the night runs smoothly.

Can we have full facility exclusive use?

Yes, a Full Facility Exclusive Use Rental means that the entire Heinz History Center including every meeting and event location and all exhibits on all floors are reserved for your use and your use only. No other group will be permitted to use or rent any location, whether or not you choose to utilize every location for your event. Chiavari chairs and the dance floor upgrades are included. Only available after 5 p.m.

Can I hold my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional charge? How much time is allocated for the rehearsal?

Yes, you can have your ceremony here as well. Yes, it is an additional $1,500. This cost covers a rehearsal the day before, an hour for the ceremony, and an on-site coordinator. If choosing the Full Facility Exclusive Use Package, all locations are available to you for wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.

What rooms do you suggest for a wedding ceremony?

The 1st Floor Great Hall is a perfect ceremony location for larger guest count accommodating up to 300 guests. The 6th floor Library & Archives is perfect for 175-200 guests.

Is there a room available for the wedding party before the ceremony/cocktail hour?

Yes, we provide a room free of charge for the wedding party.

Is there a discount for booking on a Friday or Sunday?

Yes, we offer a 10% room rental discount for all Friday and Sundays, except on holiday weekends.

Is there a discount for booking an off-season date?

Yes, we offer a 10% room rental discount for January and February.

How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable? What’s the payment plan for the entire bill?

The deposit is half of the room rental and we are a non-refundable venue. The deposit is due 2 weeks after the contract is made and the balance is due three months prior to the wedding date.

What’s the cancellation policy?

We are a non-refundable venue. However, if you cancel your date you have up to a year to use your deposit as a credit to another event. Or we can give you a letter stating the full amount is a tax deductible donation and no goods or services were exchanged.

Is the site handicap accessible?

Yes, the venue exceeds ADA guidelines for accessibility.

How long will I have use of the event space(s) I reserve? Is there an overtime fee if I stay longer? Is there a minimum or maximum rental time?

The event rental, no matter how many locations are rented, is for five hours or less. You are welcome to extend for an additional $1,000 per hour. Before you choose to extend, please check first with your other vendors to see how this impacts their costs as well. Consider an off-site after-party as an affordable option.

Are there any time restrictions?

If you are renting the 1st Floor Great Hall, 4th Floor Campbell Gallery. and 6th Floor Library & Archives you can start any time after 5 p.m., due to the History Center being open to the public. If you are renting the 5th Floor Mueller Center, you are welcome to start at any time. The History Center does not have a specific end time.

Are there decoration guidelines/restrictions?

Prohibited: Confetti, glitter, feathers, popcorn, cotton candy, sparklers, and chemical based smoke machines. You may have popcorn as an exit gift and sparklers outside for a send-off.

Candles are permitted in glass votive holders or glass hurricanes — no exposed flame tapers or metal spring-loaded tapers permitted. Battery-run faux candles are preferred.

Balloons must be weighted or in a frame and disposed of by vendors or clients at the end of the event. They may not be released outside of the building. A clean-up fee of $200 will be billed to the licensee if balloon decorations are left in the rented location after the event.

Hanging décor from the ceiling is permitted by special arrangement. A fee may apply.

What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding?

The History Center will set up three hours prior to your start time. The History Center Event Coordinator or Director will set up times for your vendors to load in and set up their items, 2-3 hours prior.

Is it possible to start the setup the day before?

We are unable to set up the day before except for the 5th Floor Mueller Center. If you would like this option it is an additional cost.

How early can deliveries be made?

You can drop off all of your smaller items (guest book, card box, escort cards, favors, cookies and etc) a day or two before the wedding date. This can be arranged with your Event Coordinator.

Do you provide parking?

Unfortunately, we do not own our own parking lot. However, we are surrounded by parking lots that cost roughly $5.00-$12.00 per car depending on what is happening in the city.

Can we pre-arrange parking, provide valet parking or shuttle service for our guests?

Yes, you are can pre-arrange your guest’s parking, provide valet parking, or shuttle service. The Event Coordinator can provide you with the information on who you can contact for these services.

Do you provide a coat check service?

Yes, we can provide a coat check service for an additional $200 per coat check person. Or your guests are welcome to use our coat room, unstaffed, free of charge.

Are there restrictions on what kind of music I can play, or a time by which the music must end? Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?

No restrictions, you are welcome to hire a DJ, a live band or both. We have a list of suggested vendors if you need a starting point in your research.

Do you offer on-site coordination? If so, what services are included and is there an additional charge for them? Will the coordinator supervise day-of?

Yes, you can be assured that your money will be well spent and that the experience, service and ambiance will be everything we promise it will be. We don’t simply rent you a location. The Events Department Director and Coordinators are available to you throughout the planning process offering recommendations, trouble-shooting, advice and support, as much or as little as you need. We invite you to schedule planning sessions and meetings with florists or other decor professionals in the room you are renting to be sure they provide the perfect enhancements for your event. The week before your day we contact all of your vendors to schedule deliveries and load-ins and on your event day the Director or Coordinator, the Events Production Manager and a crew will be on site managing every detail including the set-up, guest arrival, the event itself and the load-out.

Are our guests welcomed to tour the museum during our wedding?

We invite your guests to tour the museum free of charge the day of your wedding. The museum opens at 10 a.m. and your guests can tour until you wedding ceremony or cocktail hour starts. If you wish to open exhibits after hours (5 p.m.) for your guests to tour there is an additional cost depending on which exhibits you open, $200-$450.

Do you provide security guard the night of our wedding?

We do have 24/7 security in the building. You are not required to bring in additional security. If you wish to open exhibits for your guests to tour after 5 p.m., there is an additional cost of $200-$450 depending on which exhibits you choose to open.

Do you require proof of insurance?

Yes, we do require that the couple or family provide proof of insurance. The Heinz History Center and Common Plea Catering have insurance coverage. All rental events require insurance. The Licensee must provide proof of insurance coverage naming the Heinz History Center as an additional insured, on their personal property in and about the rented locations within the History Center as well as for liability insurance to protect themselves against claims of the Licensee’s guests, invitees and vendors in and about the rental area. The standard amount of liability is $1,000,000 and is usually provided by the Licensee’s insurer as an addendum to a homeowner’s policy or a special one-day Special Event Endorsement. Many families with umbrella coverage, corporations and educational institutions already have acceptable liability coverage for off-site events, but must provide proof of coverage.

Can I hire my own vendors or must I select from a preferred vendor list? If I can bring my own, do you have a list of recommended vendors?

Yes, you are welcome to bring in your own vendors. We do have a list of preferred vendors that we have had a good experience with. However, you are required to use Common Plea Catering for all food and beverage and Mosaic for linen.

Do you have a contracted caterer or can we bring in our own?

We have an exclusive arrangement with an exceptional caterer, Common Plea Catering. We do not permit outside caterers. Liquor must be purchased from and served by Common Plea Catering. Average costs can range from $160-$200 per person, depending on your choices, includes hors d’ouvres, dinner, liquor package (three options), staff (servers, bartenders, kitchen staff, event manager), rentals (tables, basic banquet chairs, dinnerware, glassware, etc.) and administrative charges. After looking through the attached menu packet, please call them directly at 412-281-5140 ext. 307, 302, or 303 with your catering related questions, for suggestions, and a quote.

Can I bring in a cake from an outside cake maker or must I use a cake made on the premises? Is there a cake-cutting fee? Do you provide special cake-cutting utensils?

Yes, you are permitted to order your cake from any bakery you’d like. Please check with Common Plea on additional costs for cake-cutting services.

Do you have any costs associated with a cookie table?

Check with Common Plea Catering on the cookie table assembly charges. We do recommend you ask for guidance on quantity—many times there is an excessive number of cookies requiring additional staff to plate them, re-stock the platters, and re-box the leftovers which must be removed that evening.

Do I provide the alcohol or does the catering company?

Common Plea Catering carries the liquor license for the History Center. Common Plea will provide all of the alcohol and beverages for your wedding. There are three levels of bar service in the Common Plea Catering Menu.

Please inform the bridal party members that they may not bring flasks, bottles of alcohol, or coolers into the building. These items will be confiscated.

Do we need to remove décor items and gifts immediately after the reception?

Yes, all vendors must return and all items will need to be loaded out that night.

Are there any additional fees for holiday weekend events?

Holiday Days and Holiday Weekends will incur a 10% additional room rental fee. Please check with Common Plea Catering for additional food and beverage fees.

What are the nearest hotels to the venue?

Homewood Suites
1410 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Ask about their “After Party” option!
O: 412-232-0200 | F: 412-232-0202
Corin Giglio, Director of Sales,

Hampton Inn and Suites
1247 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Samantha Lumadue, 412-288-4350 or
Directly across the street from the History Center, free parking, free breakfast.

Westin Pittsburgh Convention Center Hotel
1000 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Walking distance to the History Center.
Sandy Pulcini, 412-560-6356 or
Gina Griffiths, 412-560-6364 or