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Just four minutes from Heinz Lofts is the oldest cultural institution in Western Pennsylvania. It’s known as the Senator John Heinz History Center and its roots trace back to 1879. Early on, the center was called the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and at that time, membership to the society was only open to men who had lived in the region for fifty or more years. Today visitors can enjoy an array of exhibits that tell the story of Western Pennsylvania’s past, present, and future. They include:


This is one of the center’s newest exhibits and it’s home to the largest collection of Heinz company artifacts and archival materials in the world. Visitors learn how the business started when eight-year-old Henry John Heinz sold produce from his family’s garden and how the company became so successful. Highlights include H.J. Heinz’s recipe book from 1869, various Heinz bottles, and iconic Heinz pickle pins.

From Slavery to Freedom

This exhibit explores more than 250 years of African American history. It will take you on a journey that starts in 18th century Africa and ends in 21st century Western Pennsylvania. Highlights include an original fiber quilt called “The Guiding Light,” rare African artifacts, and 19th century paintings that depict everyday life for African slaves.

Special Collections Gallery

Located on the museum’s fourth floor, the Special Collections Gallery  features thousands of objects that share the heritage of the area’s settlers and they communities they helped build. Highlights include Slovak folk costumes, archaeological pieces found during construction of the Port Authority Gateway Center, and a stained glass window made by the Rudy Brothers Studio of Pittsburgh.

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