Pittsburgh, PA's Must-Visit Museums

Photo of Shyla Watson
12 January 2017

One of the original American colonies, Pennsylvania has a rich history and dynamic culture. Over the past 50-odd years, Pittsburgh has become artistically influential. We profile ten must-visit museums in Pittsburgh.

Marilyn Monroe by Warhol | ©Nathan Rupert/Flickr

The Andy Warhol Museum

A Pittsburgh native, Andy Warhol was one of America’s most influential pop artists, and remains so, even to this day. Warhol thrived in the 50s-70s, creating visually stunning paintings of everything from iconic stars like Marilyn Monroe, to something as ordinary as a Campbell’s Soup Can. Rightfully located in his hometown, the Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in the nation dedicated to the work of a sole artist. Explore the seven floors of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and multimedia created by the artist, in addition to learning about his rich life. The museum features a theatre, where visitors can watch a short documentary about Warhol’s life and work. There is also a restaurant café and store to purchase books, posters, and other memorabilia. Stop by on a Friday evening for a more social experience, featuring a cash bar, discounted admission, and more.

Exhibit at Mattress Factory | ©Sarah Best/Flickr

The Mattress Factory

Contemporary art

Established in the 1977, the Mattress Factory stands as an unconventional, although unique, museum for contemporary artwork. The experimental exhibitions are often quite large and fill the entirety of a room. Explore the various creative installations or attend a public program such as the art lab, where you can take a stab at creating your very own pieces. The museum is also very active in the community and hosts numerous educational programs. Both children and adults may participate in different workshops; there are summer programs available for teens, opportunities for schools and students to take field trips and receive a guided tour, and other incredible outreach programs. Check out the annual Urban Garden Party, a fundraiser disguised with catered food, fun DJs, crazy dancing, and interactive art.

Sculptures at Carnegie Museum of Art | ©Cam Miller/Flickr

Carnegie Museum of Art

Historic art museum

This distinguished Pittsburgh museum was established in 1895 by Scottish American industrialist Andrew Carnegie; Carnegie also founded Carnegie Mellon University, one of the nation’s best private universities. The museum holds nearly 35,000 works and many rotating exhibitions of art, including contemporary art, photography, paintings, architecture, and more. Many educational programs are offered for young children in kindergarten up to college students. There are also scholarships available, so that every child has an opportunity to participate. For adults, there are a ton of lectures and events, art history classes, and culture clubs to get involved in. Check the calendar online to see what’s going on!

Heinz History Center | ©pirate johnny/Flickr

Heinz History Center

History Museum

This Pittsburgh History Center is dedicated to a man well established in history. Senator John Heinz, heir to the Heinz Company (known for their tasty ketchup), was a influential politician for many years. He tragically died in a plane crash in 1991, but his memory and legacy have been preserved. The Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum, and holds nearly 250 years of rich history. Visitors may explore all six floors of American history, including nation defining wars and nation defining pastimes. That’s right – there’s a sports history museum located on the second and third floors. There are over fifteen exciting exhibits to discover and many events to attend, including film festivals, reading discussions, book signings, and free admission days.

Kids’ Activity at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh | ©Devon Christopher Adams/Flickr

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Museum for kids

Although most museums are a great opportunity for kids to become culturally engaged and learn about history and art, kids often become bored or uninterested. Now there’s an opportunity for them to learn and enjoy it, at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh! Complete with interactive, hands-on exhibits, kids don’t have to worry about ‘Do Not Touch’ signs here. There is a ‘makeshop’ and studio for children to create their own art, learn about woodworking ad stop-motion animation, and more. There’s a theatre for performing arts, a waterplay area, garden, backyard, and waterplay activities, not to mention there are some really cool art pieces to keep parents entertained as well. If you have little ones who might be a bit to small, let them have fun in the nursery.

By: Shyla Watson

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