Though having only recently celebrated its second birthday, the August Wilson Center commands a striking architectural confidence. Its two-story steel-and-glass sail juts into the night sky with the bravado of a toddler who just lassoed his first neighborhood cat. Within the steal and glass, a 486-seat theater hosts plays, dance performances, and lectures while multiple exhibition galleries display art and cultural treasures for the community. The center draws on the legacy and culture of African Americans from Western Pennsylvania, infusing each curation with a celebration of rich history.
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.
Hitting the road from the Idea Warehouse on their 2012 Rock-O-Matic tour, the Imagination Movers bring the music and fun of their Emmy-winning Disney Channel show to the stage of the Benedum Center. The four-piece band of problem solvers plays energetic, kid-friendly tunes in a wide range styles, from rock and pop to ska and funk. Clad in blue jumpsuits, Dave, Rich, Smitty, and Scott launch into the brassy, bouncy introduction of the Imagination Movers theme song. The following set list entertains kids with audience interaction, keeps parents interested with musical references to U2, Jack Johnson, and other famous bands, and stops the sobbing of distressed clowns.
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.
When the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum opened in 1910, it had a specific mission: to honor the Civil War veterans of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Today, though, the museum honors all Pennsylvania military throughout the country's history, with exhibits on every American conflict.
Size: Big enough for exhibits on topics from military gear to the iconic "We Can Do It!" campaign, plus general-use rooms like the imposing Grand Ballroom.
Eye Catcher: The uniforms on exhibit, which documents the evolution of military garb from the Civil War through modern operations in Iraq.
Permanent Exhibit: A display of war-themed art, which features mediums such as stained glass and oil paint. One painting, dubbed the "Cavalry Charge of Colonel Schoonmaker," depicts the colonel riding into battle astride a white horse.
Don't Miss: The Hall of Valor, which is filled with nearly 700 members honoring local veterans and military heroes. Many of them have earned honors from the Silver Star to the Medal of Honor.
Founded 115 years ago by Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Museums have grown into a cultural consortium containing four fine institutions: the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Andy Warhol Museum.