With restrictions and limited or no access to public venues such as museums in effect over the past year, Pittsburghers seeking a dose of culture have been relegated to finding information, images, talks, and videos online. While things are currently opening up, and more cultural institutions are inviting patrons to physically visit their exhibits, programs, and collections, there are many online options to get a taste of these precious objects for those who still wish to safely browse our art and history from their home couches or kitchen tables. Three of the best online sources for this type of museum-going are the Carnegie Museum of Art, The Frick Pittsburgh, and the Strip’s own Heinz History Center. Here follows a guide to what these institutions have to offer via personal digital on-screen access.

    Senator John Heinz History Center


    While the Heinz History Center events and exhibits are mainly on-premises these days, there is plenty to see online—previews with lots of photos, videos, and good information. Click, for example, on the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibition box, and learn via the Heinz website about the legendary show and host, with a video/slide presentation on the life and work of Fred Rogers, and with many images of artifacts, puppets, and sets from the series. Or read about the show through posted articles and videos on the Fred Rogers page. Those choices include:

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood at Heinz History Center

    TribLIVE: “Mister Rogers” Moves to New Neighborhood—Heinz History Center

    KDKA-TV: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sets Now on Display at History Center

    Times Online: Andy Masich Gives a Tour of the Mr. Rogers Exhibit

    NBC Sunday Today: 50 years After “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” Premiered, His Legacy Lives On

    CBS News: Back to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”

    Kidsburgh: 10 ways to Celebrate Mister Rogers’ 50th Anniversary

    Mental Floss: Mr. Rogers’ Sweater and Shoes Are on Display at the Heinz History Center

    Another fascinating exhibit with plenty of online material/links is “Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation.” In addition to listening to “KQV-Radio History Minutes,” there is here, as on the other exhibit pages, an “On the Blog” section with links to many articles (with visuals) related to Pittsburgh’s history of invention and just being first. Subjects include:

    • Remembering Billy Strayhorn

    • Samuel Langley: Pioneering Standard Time

    • Pittsburgh Aviator Calbraith Perry Rodgers

    • Pittsburgh: The City of Bridges

    • The Real Johnny Appleseed

    • The Westinghouse Time Capsule

    • Manufacturing Thrills: The Legacy of Western Pennsylvania’s Rollercoaster Pioneers

    • Nellie Bly: A Race Against Time

    • The Real Rosie the Riveter

    • Lois Weber, First American Woman Film Director

    Among the Heinz’s other exhibit pages is the intriguingly named “Visable Storage” section that provides a plethora of online images about often unseen items at the Heinz. Onsite visitors can tour the fourth floor to take in more than 1,200 artifacts, “ranging from George and Marguerite Westinghouse’s Tiffany china to John Cigna’s legendary Harley-Davidson motorcycle … and other household appliances, silver, toys, glass, armaments, and paintings.” Online however, there is still plenty to see on the fourth floor with photos and “On the Blog” links.

    Senator John Heinz History Center
    1212 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222


    The Frick Pittsburgh

    The Frick website has the merit of having the most direct invitation to online touring, and immediately offers their “Virtual Museum” as soon as you open the site. Here there is a cornucopia of links to images and talks, allowing website visitors to virtually tour The Frick while lounging at home.

    Under “Explore the Frick” there are many links to YouTube “Curator Talks,” including:

    •  What’s Past Is Prologue: Industrialization and Changing Landscapes

    •  Clayton Christmas Memories

    •  Peeking Inside the Clayton Vault

    •  Sneaking into Storage

    •  A Look Inside the Frick: Imagining Playtime

    •  Reviving the Renaissance with Dawn Brean

    •  French Confections: Highlights of The Frick Pittsburgh’s 18th-century French Collection

    Under “Virtual Exhibitions,” the Frick staff invites you to access these selections:

    •  Collection Highlights

    •  Gilded Age Fashion

    •  Entertaining at Home

    •  Vive la France!

    •  Collecting Millet

    •  Portraits and Personalities

    And still one more invitation is offered, to “take a virtual tour of our museums and gardens” by selecting these links:

    •  The Frick Art Museum permanent galleries

    •  First floor of Clayton

    •  Car and Carriage Museum

    •  Grounds and gardens

    Finally, see much of the art in The Frick’s amazing collection as you munch on snacks in your underwear at home: Access their “Explore the Frick’s Collection” and choose from six categories or just “view all.”

    The Frick Pittsburgh
    7227 Reynolds St., Pittsburgh, PA 15208


    Carnegie Museum of Art

    While the Carnegie Museum’s website is a little less direct in regard to finding elements of its exhibits and collections, and onsite visits are encouraged, some determined hunting can still find many links to online sections that offer a virtual exhibit or tour. The Teenie Harris Archive is among the available online collections. According to the website’s description: “Charles ‘Teenie’ Harris (1908-1998) was the preeminent photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the nation’s most prominent Black newspapers, photographing Pittsburgh’s historic African American community from 1935 to 1975. His archive of over 70,000 images is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the Black urban experience known today. The Teenie Harris Archive at Carnegie Museum of Art is a richly detailed chronicle ranging from World War II to the Civil Rights movement, entertainers to local heroes, sports to churches, and other hallmarks of everyday family life. Carnegie Museum of Art has digitized nearly 60,000 of Harris’s negatives, and the collection is now available online.” Just check “Search the Entire Teenie Harris Archive.”

    But the Carnegie’s greatest visual treats are available to online users by simply browsing and/or searching the entire Museum Art Collection. Start by accessing the “Collection” section. You can: “See All Works on View at the Museum” or “Filter Search Results by Department: Decorative Arts and Design, Film and Video, Fine Arts, Teenie Harris Archive, Heinz Architectural Center, Modern and Contemporary Art and Photography.” Or you can just select “Search the Collection” and you will get 10 (or more) images per page—among tens of thousands of results.

    4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    (412) 622-3131

    Greg Suriano is The Strip!’s editor and frequently writes on cultural subjects.