Andy Masich, President and CEO, Heinz History Center: The Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. It’s also Pittsburgh’s oldest cultural institution. Our mission is to tell people about their history so they can make good decisions in the present and plans for the future.
It’s a place of Pittsburgh pride. It’s a place where people bring their family and friends and out-of-town guests because it tells the story of why we are the way we are. Our philosophy here at the History Center is for children and adults to have a meaningful experience in the same space, at the same time. That’s easier said than done, but all of our exhibits are designed in such a way that adults can learn while kids are having fun.
Exhibitions are always changing at the History Center, but you can always find our Heinz exhibit. You can also see Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation – 250 years of how Pittsburgh changed the world. The Clash of Empires covers the French & Indian War – a war that made the America we really know today. From Slavery to Freedom is about the African American experience in Western Pennsylvania. Shattering Notions is the story of glass – Pittsburgh’s first industry. In our Falk Collections Center [Special Collections Gallery] you’ll find visible storage – all the stuff that’s been in storage for years, now you can go behind the scenes and see it.
There’s always something happening at the History Center. For young professionals, we have a great program called History Uncorked. There’s food and dancing and music on every floor. Usually about 1,500 to 2,000 people turn out. For those who are interested in food, it’s Hometown Homegrown. It’s a sampler of everything edible Pittsburgh has to offer.
The Detre Library & Archives is Pittsburgh’s oldest collection. It’s Pittsburgh’s memory – books, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, films, and 750,000 photographs. Located behind the History Center on Penn Avenue is the Museum Conservation Center. This is a place where you can bring your artifacts and heirlooms and have them conserved or restored by museum professionals.
The Heinz History Center is all about people. We tell the story of people – their innovation, their can-do spirit, their competitiveness. Pittsburgh has a great history, a rich history, and if you love Pittsburgh, I think you’ll love the Heinz History Center.