Free Entry Into Three of Pittsburgh’s Best Museums During August
The Andy Warhol Museum, Heinz History Center and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will be open to visitors free of charge throughout the month of August. These three museums were recently recognized by USA Today as some of the nation’s best, making Pittsburgh the only city to see three different museums honored in the top five.
Article By Tre Harrington
Now, they're celebrating this success with 3 for Free which makes each of these distinguished museums free of charge throughout August 2023. Cap off your summer with a long weekend in Pittsburgh enjoying the top museums in the country, all in one place.
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
2nd Best History Museum in the US, USA TODAY 10Best Reader's Choice Awards
Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, the Senator John Heinz History Center occupies a 100-year old building, formerly the home of the Chautauqua Lake Ice Cream Company, and a five-story wing of the Smithsonian Institute, of which it’s been an affiliate since 2000. Although the museum itself was established in 1879, it moved to its current location over a century later in 1996.
As the largest museum in the state, the History Center is actually comprised of a complex of museums. These include the Heinz History Center itself, along with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, the Fort Pitt Musuem, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village, the Detre Library & Archives, and the Museum Conservation Center.
The History Center was named after the late Senator H. John Heinz III, who was a prominent figure in Pennsylvania politics and the heir to the H.J. Heinz Company, a well-known food processing company famous for its ketchup and other condiments.
The museum houses an extensive collection of over 250 years' worth of Western Pennsylvania's history. The collections include artifacts, documents, photographs, and oral histories that depict the region's rich industrial, social, cultural, and political heritage.
The History Center features numerous permanent and rotating exhibits that cover a wide range of topics. These exhibits delve into Pittsburgh's industrial past, its role in American history, sports history, immigration and ethnic heritage, the impact of the steel industry, and much more.
The Special Collections Gallery, located in the Sigo Falk Collections Center on the museum’s fourth floor, features the neighborhoods and people who define our region. Thousands of objects, showcased in this open storage gallery, share the rich heritage of the people who settled this region and the stories of the communities they built. The Special Collections Gallery also houses a changing textile gallery which features outstanding examples of clothing from the collection. In addition, a large window into the the Grace M. Compton Conservation Lab, provides behind-the-scenes views of museum professionals at work.
Some exhibits you don’t want to miss:
- Select artifacts from the popular children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” including King Friday XIII’s Castle and the Great Oak Tree.
- The paintings and experiences of artist Ron Donoughe in the “90 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods” display.
- A 1941 Cadillac hearse from the Gaines Funeral Home, one of the oldest continuously operating African American businesses in the region.
- Interactive drawers that visitors can open to discover archeological pieces collected during construction of the Port Authority’s Gateway Center station.
- Brightly colored Slovak folk costumes with beautiful handwork and a Slovenian Kurent costume worn during Pust or carnival.
- Unique artifacts from regional businesses and corporations such as the eagle sculpture that once stood atop the H.J. Heinz Company’s Time Building on the North Side.
- Toys including circus figures made by the Schoenhut Company and given for Christmas to a Pittsburgher in 1915.
- An extraordinary stained glass window crafted by the Rudy Brothers Studio of Pittsburgh for the Vanadium Company Building in Oakland.
- The interior features from Machsekei Hadas synagogue.
The Heinz History Center has rotating exhibitions. The current exhibition The Negro Motorist Green Book will be on display until August 13, 2023.
The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition, presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and award-winning author Candacy Taylor, offers an immersive look at the reality of travel for African Americans in mid-century America and how the annual guide served as an indispensable resource for the nation’s rising Black middle class. The Green Book exhibit also features stunning photography of Black Pittsburghers during the 1930s-1960s, courtesy of the History Center’s Detre Library & Archives and the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
There is ample paid parking directly next to the museum entrance. Admission to the museum is free for the entire month of August. For more information, call (412) 454-6000 or visit https://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/.
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
10 Children's Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
2nd Best Children's Museum in the US, USA TODAY 10Best Reader's Choice Awards
The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is a hands-on interactive museum located in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood. It is one of the top children's museums in the country and is known for its innovative and engaging exhibits designed to inspire creativity and learning in children of all ages.
The museum was founded in 1983 by a group of local parents, educators, and artists who saw the need for a creative and educational space dedicated to children. Initially, it was housed in the old Allegheny Post Office building on Pittsburgh's North Side. The museum expanded over the years, and in 2004, it moved to its current location in the former Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building.
The Children's Museum features a wide range of interactive exhibits designed to encourage hands-on learning and play. The exhibits cover various themes such as art, science, engineering, technology, and more. Some exhibits change regularly, offering new and exciting experiences with each visit.
The museum includes a theater that hosts live performances, puppet shows, and other cultural and artistic events for children and families. These performances add to the museum's dynamic and enriching experience.
One of the most popular attractions in the museum is the Waterplay area, an interactive space where children can experiment with water, flow, and buoyancy. It offers an engaging and fun way for kids to learn about the properties of water.
The museum's "Makeshop" is a dedicated space where children can explore various tools, materials, and techniques to create their own projects and inventions. It encourages creativity and problem-solving skills in a collaborative and supportive environment.
The Children's Museum also features outdoor exhibits and play areas where kids can enjoy physical activities, explore nature, and engage in imaginative play.
The museum places a strong emphasis on early childhood education and offers programs and activities designed specifically for younger children. These programs aim to stimulate curiosity and provide a foundation for lifelong learning. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has received numerous accolades and awards for its commitment to providing a stimulating and interactive learning environment for children. It continues to be a beloved destination for families, educators, and children seeking an exciting and educational experience in the city of Pittsburgh.
Currently one of the main attractions is the Wild Kratts Creature Power exhibition. This is an interactive exhibit based on the popular PBS Kids series. Kids and families will explore animal habitats from around the globe, discover incredible creature powers and complete missions and challenges to foil the villains’ nefarious plans. Explore animals, habitats and the relationships between them in creature adventures that engage them in wide-ranging STEM experiences. The exhibit activities are geared towards ages 3 through 9, but will delight all fans. A tot area offers activities specifically geared to children under three years of age. The Wild Kratts exhibit will be on display until September 3, 2023.
Entry to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will be completely free for the entire month of August. For more information call (412) 322-5058 or visit https://pittsburghkids.org/.
The Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
4th Best Art Museum in the US, USA TODAY 10Best Reader's Choice Awards
The Andy Warhol Museum is a renowned art museum located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dedicated to the life and work of the iconic American artist, Andy Warhol. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist and is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
The museum was established in 1994, seven years after Andy Warhol's death, through the combined efforts of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Dia Art Foundation, and the Carnegie Institute. The museum is located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, near the Allegheny River.
The museum is housed in a converted seven-story industrial building that was originally constructed in 1911 for the storage of products by the Watson Company. The building's interior was redesigned to create a contemporary space suitable for showcasing Warhol's diverse body of work.
The Andy Warhol Museum holds an extensive collection of artworks, films, archival materials, and personal artifacts related to Andy Warhol's life and career. The museum's collection includes paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and other forms of Warhol's art.
The museum's seven floors are dedicated to different aspects of Warhol's life and art. Visitors can explore his early works, iconic pop art pieces, celebrity portraits, film and video works, as well as his impact on popular culture.
One of the most significant aspects of the museum is the recreation of Warhol's famous studio, "The Factory." The Factory was Warhol's creative space and a gathering place for artists, musicians, celebrities, and other influential figures during the 1960s and 1970s.
The museum regularly hosts film screenings of Warhol's experimental films and other avant-garde cinema. These screenings provide visitors with an opportunity to experience Warhol's filmmaking techniques and artistic vision.
The Andy Warhol Museum offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and lectures for both children and adults. These programs aim to engage visitors with Warhol's art and ideas, as well as promote creativity and critical thinking.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts rotating special exhibitions that explore various aspects of Warhol's art and its impact on contemporary culture. Currently, the special exhibition which is on display is The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions. The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions highlights the Velvet Underground and the music from their first recording sessions in April 1966 at Scepter Studios in New York City. Recently identified while processing Andy Warhol’s archive at The Warhol, the nine initial tracks recorded by the band were the bedrock of their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967, Verve Records), which became one of the most jarring and influential albums in rock music. These monophonic reel-to-reel ¼” tapes feature alternate versions and mixes of songs later issued on the 1967 release, which was produced by Warhol, and often referred to as the “banana album”, as it featured a peel-away banana on the cover designed by Warhol.
The music from the tapes will play continuously in the gallery and will be accompanied by a large selection of photographs by Steve Schapiro from 1966-67 of the Velvets, Warhol, and associates, as well as Exploding Plastic Inevitable performances. Also on view will be rare, unseen footage of the band performing live, more than thirty Warhol Screen Tests featuring the five members of the band filmed during the peak of their collaboration in 1966, and 100 copies of the “banana album”, all from the collection of Velvets enthusiast, Mark Satlof, which highlight the listener’s interaction with Warhol’s art.
The Andy Warhol Museum stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. It attracts art enthusiasts, Warhol fans, and visitors from around the world, offering a comprehensive and immersive experience into the life and art of Andy Warhol.
Entry to the Andy Warhol Museum will be free for the entire month of August. For more information call (412) 237-8300 or visit https://www.warhol.org/.
All three Pittsburgh museums are Free for the entire month of August thanks to a grant from RAD Works. RAD provides grants to Allegheny County's libraries, parks and trails, arts and cultural organizations, regional attractions, sports and civic facilities, and public transit. RAD’s revenue comes from half of the proceeds of an additional one percent sales and use tax in Allegheny County.