The Westmoreland Museum of American Art's collection of American and Pennsylvanian art orbits around works created during the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries and also incorporates newer work by contemporary artists such as Joyce Werwie Perry into its sophisticated company. Today's deal lets museumgoers choose between individual ($40) and family ($60) memberships. All members benefit from confidence-boosting access to exclusive events and exhibition previews, as well as discounts on museum classes and gift-shop goods. Art aficionados flying solo will snag two passes to Art on Tap ($14), including two drink vouchers to transform a sedate happy hour into a cavalcade of beer swigging, wine sipping, music enjoying, and awkward acquaintance leaning. Family members receive twice as many passes and vouchers ($28) to facilitate double dates and imaginary-friend fieldtrips. A family membership also includes one Second Saturday Studios class ($20) for favored firstborns to create fridge-ready self-portraits, collages, and paintings. Both deals get you a $5 voucher to the gift shop to grab Scenes of Industry posters ($7) with which to plaster the bedroom ceiling, encouraging highly productive REM cycles.
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.
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.