The Children's Museum of the Ohio Valley may be a small space housed inside a storefront, but the square feet pack in a lot of fun and hands-on activities that enable kids to explore science and art through play. Past and current exhibits cover such topics as magnets?which can be used to push and pull ping pong balls?as well as more physically active explorations such as rock climbing walls or the opportunity to stand inside a giant bubble. Members and regular attendees get additional learn and play opportunities through classes, family events, kid-friendly performances, or even by hosting a child's birthday party in a museum without any decrepit mummies putting a damper on the fun.
Built in 1788 as a civilian fortification by the Ohio Company of Associates, Campus Maritus housed some of the first American settlers in what would soon become the state of Ohio. Although the fort was eventually disassembled, the blockhouse of General Rufus Putnam remained as a testament to the fort's important. In 1931, the house was joined by the Campus Maritus Museum, an institution dedicated to giving future generations a glimpse at the lives and migration of Ohio's pioneers, native inhabitants, and historical luminaries.
Size: The museum stands three stories high, with exhibits housing more than 100 artifacts that tell the story of Ohio's move from frontier to familiar state during the years from 1788 to 1970.
Eye-Catcher: The Rufus Putnam House remains in the same spot it stood when it was built in the 18th-century. Now restored to its original state, the house offers an interactive look at pioneer life complete with guided tours of the kitchen and bedchamber.
Rotating Exhibits: Temporary installations include Imagining Marietta, a 12-mural series depicting the settlement of the Northwest Territories, and Touched By Conflict: Southeastern Ohio & The Civil War.
Don't Miss: Billed as the oldest known building in Ohio, the original Ohio Company Land Office lets visitors step into the life of General Putnam as he surveyed and and divded the landscape of the territories.
While You're in the Neighborhood: You can also pay a visit to the Ohio River Museum?only one block away on the Muskingum River?to see the last intact coal-powered sternwheeler towboat.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum thrusts visitors into the midst of Pennsylvania's Trolley Era, conjuring bygone methods of travel with exhibits, rides, and a full roster of antique trolleys, including a horse-drawn streetcar from the 1870s. Hourly tours shepherd guests and members on their exploration of the museum's collection, starting with a video introduction before a scenic, four-mile ride fills the air with the sounds of century-oldf trolleys. Inside the visitor-education center, pictorial exhibits breathe life into storied eras, and stops inside the restoration shop illuminate how volunteer craftsmen restore vintage trolleys. Trolley fans can also add to their own memorabilia collections with souvenirs from the store, or borrow the museum spaces for birthday parties and rentals.
Established in 1832, J.J. Gillespie Gallery furnishes its walls with a wide range of art from American and international artists. In an attached workshop, a master framer meticulously preserves keepsakes inside custom wood or metal frames. The gallery also hosts an onsite art expert, who can appraise oil-based works or clean and restore them to their former luster.
Rising six floors above the historic Strip District, the Senator John Heinz History Center's handsome, red brick exterior houses 275,000 square feet of exhibits devoted to Western Pennsylvania history. Long-term exhibits include From Slavery to Freedom, which traces the quest for equality from the anti-slavery movement to the modern struggles for Civil Rights. Pittsburgh: A History of Innovation highlights the men and women behind the 250-year history of the region, whereas the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum delves into the history and lore of local athletics, from the Steelers? Immaculate Reception to Bill Mazeroski's title-clinching home run in game seven of the 1960 World Series. The museum also hosts nationally renowned traveling exhibits; click to see a list of current exhibits.
Perched in the Steel City's Cultural District downtown and staffed by passionate volunteers, the nonprofit ToonSeum pays homage to the art of the cartoon with rotating exhibits, kids' classes, and hands-on entertainment for all ages. Exhibitions have ranged from collections of original work to special displays honoring artists such as Pennsylvania native, Keith Haring. Contributing to the museum's ongoing educational mission, local cartoonists often donate their own time to teach fun-filled workshops or share the bleak realities of living with a talking cat.