Rising six floors above the historic Strip District, the Senator John Heinz History Center's handsome, redbrick exterior houses 275,000 square feet of exhibits and materials devoted to Western Pennsylvania. Long-term exhibits include From Slavery to Freedom, which traces the quest for equality from the antislavery movement to the modern struggles for Civil Rights, using indenture, manumission, and freedom papers from the Allegheny County recorder of deeds as starting points. Pittsburgh: A History of Innovation highlights the land's original inhabitants, the journey of Lewis and Clark, and the modern superhighways, 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; its current offering is 1968: The Year That Rocked America which explores this decade-defining year using evocative objects, multimedia displays, and more than 100 artifacts related to 1968’s seminal moments.
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.
Preserve. Present. Promote. These three p's comprise the mission of The Manchester Craftsmen Guild, also known as MCG Jazz. Since 1987, MCG has fortified the musical community of Pittsburgh. In addition to drawing in the nation's most renowned jazz artists, they nurture culture for later generations by archiving their shows on their own record label. Past appearances have included greats such as Stanley Turrentine, Joe Williams, and even Dizzy Gillespie.
Sunday-morning visits to the grocery store are vastly improved by samples of toothpicked sausage bites and tiny cups of squash soup. Humanity's mysterious love affair with trial-sized morsels is in full effect with today's deal: for $20, you get access to one walking food tour of the Strip District from 'Burgh Bits & Bites, a $38 value (including tax and service fees). Tours meet at the Old St. Patrick's Church courtyard and depart at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Call ahead and namedrop your Groupon to reserve your spot on a tour.
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.