Alan Gutchess, Director, Fort Pitt Museum: The Fort Pitt Museum is located in Point State Park, the Golden Triangle of Pittsburgh. The museum itself focuses on the history of the region starting with the French and Indian War and going right on through the 1790s. Part of what we want to do here is tell the stories of the real people who lived in early Pittsburgh and were stationed at Fort Pitt.
One of our reconstructed spaces here is a trader’s cabin. Fort Pitt, in addition to being an important military outpost, was also an important economic outpost. Over 200,000 deer hides a year, at times, passed through the fort, and so the trading of goods – everything from firearms and weapons to cloth and silk ribbons – were all part of the trade with Native Americans.
We try to have as many hands-on experiences as we can. We have the display of how our artillery was used here at the fort. Folks can come play around with another British cannon from the period. We have a 16-foot diorama, and it represents Pittsburgh as it would have looked in about 1765.
I’ve been coming to the Fort Pitt Museum since I was a child. My own passion has always been about the history of the Ohio country, and so the opportunity to share the stories is something that I’m very passionate about. What I hope people take away from a visit to the Fort Pitt Museum is that this really is the birth place of Pittsburgh, and I hope they come to appreciate better just how important western Pennsylvania was to the history of the United States.