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10 Amazing Museums in Pittsburgh You Should Explore this Weekend

If you’re spending a rainy or snowy day in Pittsburgh, it’s not hard to find inside things to do in Pittsburgh because the city is full of museums! Pittsburgh has top-rated and nationally recognized museums for diverse interests ranging from art to science to history to niche. This guide to the museums in Pittsburgh will hopefully help you decide how to spend some free time in the city. Keep reading to discover 10 of Pittsburgh’s amazing museums!

10 Awesome Museums in Pittsburgh to Explore: Top Museums in Pittsburgh

Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

The Senator John Heinz History Center is a great museum in Pittsburgh to visit if you want to spend all day in a museum! The Heinz History Center has 5 floors of exhibits where you learn about the Heinz family and their businesses, Pittsburgh technology and innovation, local history, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and the French and Indian War in addition to rotating exhibits.

The museum also includes smaller exhibits that display some of the museum’s more interesting collections. One of our favorites an exhibit featuring artifacts relating to the cultures that settled in Southwestern Pennsylvania including the Irish, Polish, and German people. The Heinz History Center offers public record archives and workshops for genealogy.

The Heinz History Center is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, so Pittsburgh has the unique opportunity to see traveling exhibitions curated by the Smithsonian. These exhibits are included in the regular admission to the museum.

Hours: 

Admission: $9-$18

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood
  • Heinz Company exhibit

Events Throughout the Year: 

  • History Uncorked
  • Geneology days
Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

Admission to the Heinz History Center also includes the Western Pennsylvania Sports History Museum. In this part of the museum, you’ll see artifacts and learn about famed Pennsylvania athletes and sports teams from the high school level to the professional level. Here you can see artifacts from Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pirates and relive some of Pittsburgh’s most famous sports moments.

Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

Fort Pitt Museum

If you visit the Heinz History Center, the next day you’ll be able to get into the Fort Pitt Museum for a discount! This museum located at the Point, and former location of Fort Pitt, will walk you back in time to the earliest days of Pittsburgh. The Point played a key role during and after the French and Indian War, so the museum focuses on the role this land played during early American history.

Fort Pitt was constructed by British forces between 1759 and 1761 and witnessed the French and Indian War, Pontaics War, and the American Revolution. Because of the constant control of this area, it’s no wonder a community settlement began and Pittsburgh was born.

Outside the museum, you can see the last remaining structure of Fort Pitt, the Blockhouse. The Blockhouse is opened seasonally for visitors.

If you’re a huge history fan, there are TONS of historical sites in Southwestern Pennsylvania from National Parks to other history museums and sites.

Hours: 

Admission: $5-$9

Events Throughout the Year:

  • Living History Days

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is our favorite museum in Pittsburgh.  The Museum of Natural History includes collections of dinosaurs, minerals and gems, taxidermy animals from around the world, Egyptian artifacts, Native American culture exhibits, and much more! It’s very easy to spend an entire day at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History! Some of our favorite exhibits in the museum include the hall of gemstones, the dinosaur fossils display, and the anthropology exhibits.

The Museum was founded by the Pittsburgh-based industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1896 and maintains an international reputation for research and is ranked among the top five natural history museums in the United States.

The museum gained prominence in 1899 when its researchers unearthed the fossils of a Diplodocus carnegii. Today, you can see this enormous dinosaur on display. Visitors and staff have dubbed this dino as “Dippy” and he’s become quite a celebrity in Pittsburgh with his own Twitter account. You can also see a bronze sculpture of Dippy outside the museum along Forbes Avenue. Other famous specimens include one of the world’s only fossils of a juvenile Apatosaurus and the world’s first specimen of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

When visiting the dinosaur collection, don’t forget to stop by the PaleoLab and see if any researchers are at work on some fossil. If you have kids, they can try their hand as a paleontologist and dip for dino bones at the Bone Hunters Quarry

Throughout the year, the museum hosts traveling and special exhibitions on the top floor of the museum. Past exhibits have included the top National Geographic Wildlife Photos and Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Hours:

Admission: $12-$20

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • Dippy
  • Hall of Gemstones
  • Replica Egyptian tomb

Events Throughout the Year:

  • After Dark
  • Sensory Friendly Saturdays
  • Super Science Saturdays
  • Summer Camps

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is connected to the Natural History Museum and features art from the classical era to the modern era. Don’t worry your admission to Natural History gets you into the art museum as well!

Hours:

Admission: $12-$20

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • Monet’s Water Lillies
  • Van Gogh Works

Events Throughout the Year:

  • Art Til 8
  • Yoga at CMOA
  • ArtVentures
  • Summer Camps

Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center is a great place to have some hands-on science fun. At the museum, you can learn all about outer space, the human body, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Science Center features the Robot Hall of Fame, a large miniature train exhibit, a planetarium, and theaters for interactive science shows. The Science Center is also home to the Rango’s Theater, an IMAX theater that plays documentaries, new movies, and your favorite classics. The Museum also will host rotating traveling exhibits. In the past, the Science Center has hosted one of the largest collections of mummies, interactive works of Da Vinci, and extreme Lego structures.

The Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Center is an awesomely large and detailed model train diorama of Western Pennsylvania from 1880 to 1930. During our visits to the Science Center, we love walking around the exhibit and looking for parts of the display that tell different stories about Western Pennsylvania!⁠

The Sports Works Center, an extension of the Science Center, is mostly aimed at children and gives kids a chance to be active and learn about the body mechanics of athletics.

During the spring and summer, you can also tour the USS Requin, a Cold War submarine that is docked along the river.

Hours:

Monday–Sunday: 10 am–5 pm

Fall/Winter Hours:
Sept. 3, 2019–March 31, 2020
Wednesday–Monday: 10 am–5 pm
Tuesdays: Closed

Admission: $20-$33

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • Robot Hall of Fame
  • Rotating exhibit
  • Miniature Train exhibit

Events Throughout the Year: 

  • Science Center After Dark
  • Special movie screenings at the Rangos

Andy Warhol Museum

Andy Warhol, the artist of the famous Campbells soup cans, was a Pittsburgh local so it’s appropriate that there is a whole museum dedicated to his work.

Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. While the Campbell’s Soup Cans are some of his most recognized work, Warhol painted striking portraits of celebrities, created films, and used techniques like silkscreening for printmaking. At the museum, you’ll walk through how his artistic style changed with time and how he had a dramatic influence on the art world. The Andy Warhol Museum, a member of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist (with 7 floors of exhibits!). ⁠

Hours: 

Admission: $10-$20

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • Campbell’s soup cans
  • Marylyn Monroe pop art portrait
  • Andy’s films

Events Throughout the Year: 

  • Exhibition openings

21+ Nights at the Carnegie Museums

Throughout the year, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh offer themed 21-and-over events where you can come have a drink and learn from activities at the museum. These nights let your inner child out with an adult twist. Previous themes have included Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Jurassic Park. Check out the museum’s websites and Facebook pages for event announcements

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is the best museum to take your family. This museum is full of hands-on activities for sparking curiosity and fun. Exhibits include art, theater, building, and building. The Children’s Museum has permanent collections dedicated to Fred Rogers and his legacy. Fred Rogers is a beloved icon of Pittsburgh and served as an advisor, a mentor and a friend for the museum. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a great place to bring your kids on weekends!

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Frick Historical Center

The Frick in Pittsburgh is a group of museums and historic buildings that were developed around the Frick family’s nineteenth-century residence. The Frick family was prominent in Pittsburgh during the industrial revolution. Henry Clay Frick founded the H. C. Frick & Company coke manufacturing company, was the chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company, and played a major role in the founding of the manufacturing giant U.S. Steel.

At the Frick Historical Center, you can tour an art museum, a museum of the Frick’s vehicles, their greenhouse, and estate. One of the buildings on the property has been converted into a lovely gift shop and cafe! Visiting the Frick Historical Center is a great activity if you want to learn about local history and the Frick Family.

The Frick Museum and Estate are a fun and unique free activity to do in Pittsburgh!

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Fort Pitt Museum

The Fort Pitt Museum is located at the Point State Park. Before the Point was the beautiful park that it is today, it was an industrial site. And decades before that, it was the site of Fort Pitt, an influential Fort during the French & Indian War, the American Revolution, and as the birthplace of Pittsburgh. Fort Pitt helped to open the frontier as the “Gateway to the West.” Recently, Pittsburgh has been recognized as the starting point for the Lewis and Clark expedition because Lewis’s keeled boat was built and launched in Pittsburgh.

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Soldiers and Sailors Museum

The Soldiers and Sailors Museum is located in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus. This beautiful building was constructed to serve as a memorial for local military servicemen from the civil war. Since then, the memorial has been rededicated to all veterans of all wars. The museum circles the large auditorium where Pitt hosts graduations and events. Over time, people began to donate their artifacts and physical histories from wartime, which lead to an “accidental” collection. Hence, the museum’s archive began.

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh is the largest memorial in the United States dedicated solely to honoring all branches of military veterans and servicemen. In addition to serving as a memorial, the building serves an auditorium and museum.  Today, there are exhibitions featuring artifacts from the Civil War to modern-day conflicts. ⠀

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Mattress Factory Museum

The Mattress Factory is a unique art museum in Pittsburgh is a favorite for those who enjoy modern art. The museum was founded in 1977 by artists as a place for contemporary artists to exhibit their work and explore new ideas. This museum features 5 floors of exhibitions in the main building, then additional works in the annex buildings.

The Mattress Factory Museum is located on Pittsburgh’s Northside, just down the street from Randyland.

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Photo Antiquities Museum

Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History was founded to preserve and present the history of photography! This museum in Pittsburgh is one of the most unique!

Roberto Clemente Museum

The Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh is a museum dedicate to preserving the life and legacy of the “Great One,” Roberto himself. The Clemente Museum is housed in historic Engine House 25 in Lawerenceville, right next door to the museum owner’s restaurant and wine bar. The Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh is truly a hidden gem in the city.

At the Roberto Clemente Museum, you can see hundreds of photographs, documents, and items from Roberto Clemente’s life. Some of the most interesting items include his offer letters from the Pittsburgh Pirates, original seats from Forbes Field, baseballs from player’s famous hits, and Roberto’s many awards (including his Golden Golves!) ⁠

Roberto Clemente’s life on and off the baseball field left an impact on both the game, the civil rights movement, and the city of Pittsburgh. Today, visitors to the Roberto Clemente Museum can honor and remember his legacy.⁠

Hours: by appointment

Admission: $10-$21

Must-See Exhibits/Artifacts:

  • World Series Trophy
  • Hall of Signed Baseball Bats
  • Clemente’s negotiation letters with the Pittsburgh Pirates

Events Throughout the Year:

  • Open house days
  • Participates in many of Lawerenceville’s community events

Toonseum

***Currently closed for administrative reasons as of March 2020****

The Toonseum is quite a unique place to visit in Pittsburgh. This unique museum is dedicated to exhibiting the history and cultural impact of the comic and cartoon arts! The Toonseum, or Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, is one of only three museums in the United States dedicated to comics and cartoons!

Which museums in Pittsburgh would you visit?

Pittsburgh truly is a museum city! Hopefully one of these museums in Pittsburgh sparked your interest.

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Pam & Kathrine

Hello! We are sisters for southwestern Pennsylvania who love to travel locally and internationally. Join us in exploring the world around us while balancing the 9-5 life!

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