Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh delights children with hands-on learning and interactive exhibits that allow kids to interact with real stuff and do things they wouldn't normally do, such as hammer a nail, build a circuit, and ink a silkscreen. The museum welcomes nearly 250,000 visitors annually, encouraging them to explore its interactive permanent-exhibit areas, which include The Studio, Theater, Waterplay, Nursery, Backyard, and MAKESHOP.
MAKESHOP invites young minds and hands to tinker with sewing machines, woodworking, and electronics. Kids craft boats and build fountains in the nearby Waterplay exhibit, and in the Studio they form clay, paint portraits, and create paper from recycled-newspaper pulp. Infants, toddlers, and their families can play in the Nursery, where they build wooden train systems and then roll their trains around, comb colored sand with hand tools atop lighted tables, and ride a seesaw whose motion generates water bubbles.
The museum’s award-winning, three-story center building is screened by a shimmering wind sculpture and connects two historic structures—the Allegheny Post Office Building and the Buhl Building. In 2006, it became a certified green building and was honored by the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In 2011, the museum was named one of the 10 Best Children’s Museums in the nation by Parents magazine.
One of Pittsburgh’s well known landmarks, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum has stood as a testament to veterans from Western Pennsylvania for more than 100 years. The Greco-Roman Revival structure designed by renowned architect Henry Hornbostel houses a concert hall, a ballroom, and museum exhibits featuring military themed artifacts and personal mementos. The museum includes the Hall of Valor, which honors local veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty while in action. The Gettysburg Room exhibit houses artifacts from the famous battle including objects that belonged to General Gouverneur K. Warren, known as the “Hero of Little Round Top”.
Size: Big enough for exhibits on topics from military gear to the iconic "We Can Do It!" campaign, plus general-use rooms like the remarkable Grand Ballroom.
Eye Catcher: The uniforms on exhibit, which documents the evolution of military uniform from the Civil War through modern operations in Iraq.
Permanent Exhibit: Throughout the museum is miltary-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.
When Helen Clay Frick passed away in 1984, she left behind provisions for her childhood home, one of the few surviving buildings on Pittsburgh's fabled "Millionaire's Row," to be restored and opened to the public. Her family home from 1883-1905—named Clayton by Helen's industrialist and art collector father, Henry Clay Frick—is one of the only intact Gilded Age homes left standing in America. The 22 historic rooms were restored to circa 1900 conditions and visitors can view many art acquisitions along with some of the original household furnishings. Also on the 5.5-acre property, The Frick Art Museum hosts temporary exhibitions and displays a permanent collection with a focus on early-Renaissance Italian painting and 18th-century French painting and decorative arts.
Size: 5.5 acres of land, the home of the Frick Art Center, the Car and Carriage Museum (temporarily closed for renovation), a Greenhouse, and Clayton
Eye Catcher: if visitors are roaming the grounds, they'll probably be most impressed by the original house, a 22-room mansion purchased by the Fricks in 1882 and expanded in 1892
The Building: the Frick Art Museum opened in 1970, but many structures date back to the 1800s
Permanent Mainstay: Henry Clay Frick began his collection of art, emphasizing landscapes, portraits, and Old Master paintings, with the purchase of Landscape with River by George Hetzel, which hangs in Clayton
Don't Miss: Rolling Hills, Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape–a new exhibition that just opened in The Frick Art Museum
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.