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“The Best Regional/City Museum I Have Ever Seen”

Senator John Heinz History Center
Ranked #12 of 176 things to do in Pittsburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
391 reviews
253 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
“The Best Regional/City Museum I Have Ever Seen”
Reviewed April 24, 2014

My wife and I live in Northern Virginia and volunteer at one of the Smithsonian museums there. We are museum nerds. The Senator John Heinz History Center is the best regional/city museum I have ever seen. Europe, Asia, other US museums....none come close.

The museum covers six floors and incorporates the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. The displays and artifacts are beautifully arranged, illuminated and presented to tell clear and accurate stories. Placards are clear and easy to read. Lighting is comfortable and facilitates photography. A casual visitor could easily spend 2-3 hours. Someone with a particular interest could spend an entire day.

Most noteworthy were the mannequins used in the dioramas and displays. These are Madame Tussaud-quality mannequins that add to the displays. Not merely serving as "clothes hanger.
but advancing the story.

There are numerous interactive stations for kids. And the displays offer an intimate feel. Many museums present artifacts in cases and behind barriers. These displays are "open" in ways most museums would never permit.

The Sports Museum is extraordinary, offering displays on scholastic and amateur as well as professional. Everything from marbles, to boat racing, to men and women's sports, it is truly exceptional.

As good as the museum is, and it is very good, there are areas that could use some help.

Docents or tour guides could expand on the displays. Some of the displays were a bit maze-like and tough to navigate.

The curatorial and collections staff have allowed many artifacts to deteriorate. Shoes are disintegrate in their case.Clothing improperly displayed are tearing and pulling apart at the seams. Someone seriously needs their butt kicked for allowing this to happen.

All that said, this is a great museum with a lot to offer the visitor. It should be on the must-see list for any visitor or resident.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank G C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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997 reviews from our community

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English first
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
295 reviews
239 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Special pop art exhibit was our favorite”
Reviewed April 23, 2014

SO much to see; you can't see everything in one visit. Great if you love history or art or both. $5 to park in a lot across the street.

Visited April 2014
Thank Cynthia F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blandon, Pennsylvania, United States
Level 6 Contributor
175 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Wonderful exhibit”
Reviewed April 20, 2014

We particularly liked the Sports Museum (only one of us is a Steelers/Pirates/Penguins fan). The displays covers ALL sports in and around Pittsburgh.
If you visit Point State Park museum, the ticket will get you half off at this museum.
Gift shop had plenty to offer. Small snack shop for snacks/drinks.
Plenty to do for kids--hands-on.
Three Rivers Stadium goalpost is outside.

Visited April 2014
Thank leetl319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fascinating, fun history”
Reviewed April 19, 2014

This is one of the best history centers I have been to in my visits around the country. Wonderful, thought provoking exhibits that tell the story of the region and the nation. It is one of my favorite places to take out of town guests. In addition, I go frequently when there are new local exhibits because they are always so well done. The visiting national exhibits are a special treat. There is something for everyone. Hands on interactive exhibits for kids, sports memorabilia for sports fans, and much, much more.

Visited December 2013
Thank funraiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Heinz...it's not just ketchup...”
Reviewed April 17, 2014

This museum is awesome. I went thinking..."a whole museum on ketchup?" Not.Even.Close. I'm a little too young to remember Senator Heinz and his journey toward the presidency which was cut short by his tragic death. However, the museum named in his honor is amazing. It's not just about Ketchup and the Heinz family, it's everything Pittsburgh and how Pittsburgh really helped to change the face of America. I was completely blown away by this museum and my only regret is that I didn't have more time to go through it. I missed at least 2 floors because of my poor planning with timing. I'll definitely be heading back the next time I'm in the 'burgh.

Visited March 2014
Thank PAisHome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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