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A Guide to 20+ Pittsburgh Museums

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Pittsburgh is a hub for sports, craft beer, art and…museums! With a wide variety of options, the chances are there is museum dedicated something that you love in the region! Here’s your guide to the best and most unique Pittsburgh museums!

Be sure to check with all museums before attending for information on closures and procedures due to COVID-19.

UNIQUE PITTSBURGH MUSEUMS

📷 Patrick Robert

Museum Details
🗓 Hours vary, please check website before going! 
📍 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

The University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning is home to 30 unique rooms designed to represent historical classrooms from the 18th century. According to Pitt’s website, “The rooms were designed to represent the culture of various ethnic groups that settled in Allegheny County and are supported by these cultural groups and governments.” The university actually uses the Nationality Rooms for classes, allowing the chance for students to embrace other cultural learning environments! When class isn’t in session, Pitt offers multiple tour options, including a free one! Of all the Pittsburgh museums, we highly recommend checking this one out! 

The New York Times and Associated Press dubbed it the world’s largest bicycle museum and shop. Initially established in 1996, Bicycle Heaven started as a repair shop for vintage and collectible bicycles. It has slowly transitioned into Pittsburgh’s premiere destination for bike enthusiasts. The museum’s bikes are so iconic that they have even been featured in Hollywood films such as A Beautiful Mind, Super 8 and Fences. 

In total, Bicycle Heaven has amassed a collection of nearly 6,000 bicycles, including some of the rarest and most sought after on the market. In addition to bikes, the museum also features a collection of themed items featuring The Beatles, Elvis and local sports legends! They are open 7 days a week from 10AM – 7PM with free parking and admission! 

Trundle Manor isn’t your average Pittsburgh museum… From the outside, it looks like an average Swissvale house but what’s on the inside is anything but normal! This insane collection of eccentric items includes vintage taxidermy (like really, really old taxidermy), Steampunk artwork, odd medical equipment, weaponry, things preserved in jars and more!

Trundle Manor prides themselves on “not filling [their] shelves with cheesy, fake memorabilia.” This house of oddities was even featured on “MTV’s Extreme Cribs” in 2011! It’s safe to say that out of all the Pittsburgh museums, this is the only one with that distinction! 

Museum Details
🗓 MON-FRI 4:30AM – 12AM | SAT 4:30AM – 1AM | SUN 5:30AM -11PM (Call to verify!) 
📍 9061 US-30, Irwin, PA 15642

The Big Mac was invented in 1967 by Jim Delligatti. Many disagree on where the actual burger was invented, but nevertheless it was still in the Pittsburgh/Western PA area! 

The history of the burger is celebrated at the Big Mac Museum in North Huntingdon! This restaurant and museum combo highlights the entire history of the Big Mac, including the famous jingle released in 1974! In addition to the history lesson, this museum also features vintage McDonald’s items, including iconic kids meals toys! This may be the only museum in Pittsburgh where a 14 foot burger statue is the center of attention!

Since its creation, billions of Big Mac’s have been consumed worldwide, with 900+ million sold every year…all with its roots in Western PA. 

Being that George A. Romero filmed Night of the Living Dead in Pennsylvania, it’s only fitting that we have a museum that celebrates the cinematic classic! This museum specifically celebrates the role of zombies in pop culture. Featuring props and memorabilia from movies, the Living Dead Museum takes viewers on an interactive journey of zombie horror!

Of all the museums in Pittsburgh, this one is a true hidden gem! The Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History takes patrons on a journey “of the world through the lens of a camera.” Founded in 1993, the museum is home to some of the oldest photographs in the world and the equipment used to take them! 

Their mission is simple: “As our ability evolved to capture images through the use of film, motion pictures, Polaroid, video and digital media, the requirement to preserve these images and equipment has become greater. With technological advances, many stored digital images are no longer printed and can be deleted electronically forever. Preservation of historic images and equipment becomes more important as we move to the next chapter in the evolution of photography.”

In a time where everyone can be a photographer, using simply their phone, it’s vital we learn where that ability came from! The Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History is definitely a Pittsburgh museum you must visit. 

The Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum (WPMRM) is one of the oldest model railroad organizations in the United States. Founded in 1938, the original members pioneered the hobby of building model railroads – with many helping launch the National Model Railroad Association in 1935! 

Unlike other Pittsburgh museums, the WPMRM is unable to remain open year-round due to the fact that its run by volunteers. However, during their closures, the volunteers take the time to make repairs, build new structures and prepare for the holiday show! 

CLASSIC PITTSBURGH MUSEUMS

📷 Abby Warhola

Museum Details
🗓 SUN-MON, WED-THURS  10AM-5PM | FRI 10AM-10PM
📍 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

One of four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum is the largest gallery in North America dedicated to a single artist! The museum features a large collection of work created by Pittsburgh-born icon, Andy Warhol!  The collection includes 17 galleries, 900 paintings, 2,000 works on paper, 1,000 unique prints, 77 sculptures, 4,000 photographs and over 4,000 films! 

📷 Carnegie Museum of Art

Museum Details
🗓 SUN-MON, WED, FRI-SAT 10AM–5PM | THURS 10AM-8PM
📍 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Featuring a collection of 30,000+ objects spanning different art mediums, the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) was the first museum in the United States dedicated to contemporary art! Andrew Carnegie, founder of the museum, wanted to “educate and inspire audiences” while promoting a welcoming and engaging art environment.  In order to complete this mission, CMOA began to purchase work in the 1890s for their “Old Masters of Tomorrow” initiative, which would represent the contemporary art gallery. The initiative is still in use today, making it oldest international contemporary art exhibition in the states, and the second oldest in the world! 

Ranking among the best natural history museums in the United States, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) is a Pittsburgh staple! With 20 galleries, 22 million specimens and 1 million cataloged online databases, the CMNH encourages knowledge, advancements in education and inspires visitors to become passionate about history! 

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History truly gained prominence when scientists discovered the fossils of a new dinosaur, Diplodocus carnegii (yes, named after Andrew Carnegie) at the turn of the century! Presently, the CMNH has curated one of the finest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world, with 75% of this collection on display! 

Did you know that one of the nation’s top children’s museums in located right here in the Burgh? The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh aims to “inspire joy, creativity and curiosity” in children through interactive exhibits! The museum encourages an environment of learning through playful experiences. Their exhibits include a nursery, garage, garden, water-play, and studio dedicated to puppets amongst others! 

Dedicated to one of Pittsburgh’s finest, the Clemente Museum features the largest collection of Clemente memorabilia in the world! The highlight of the museum is Clemente’s Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger Award and his World Series Rings! The exhibit also includes items related to his family and humanitarian efforts! 

Additionally, the Clemente Museum follows in the footsteps of Roberto’s legacy by assisting in charitable causes, including raising money for the victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017. 

Located in Point State Park, at the confluence of the rivers, the Fort Pitt Museum focuses on the role Pittsburgh played in the nation’s history! The Museum sits where Fort Pitt once stood in 1758, with an outline for Fort Duquesne nearby. The exhibits focus on the impact the Fort had on the American Revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion and the founding of Pittsburgh! 

Visitors embark on a journey learning about John Forbes’ expedition to claim the land from the French, as well as, Pontiac’s Rebellion and Dumore’s War of 1774. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to view the Blockhouse (outside of the museum), which is the only remaining building from Fort Pitt, built in 1764. 

The Senator John Heinz History Center is the largest educational institution in the state of PA! The museum features 6 floors with permanent and rotating exhibits, all telling the story of Western PA! Staples of this museum include a display dedicated to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Pittsburgh Innovations and the Heinz company.

The Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, also features the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. The “museum within a museum” includes artifacts from iconic sports moments including the shoes from the “Immaculate Reception,” Mario Lemieux’s skates, Satchel Pages’ glove and more! 

📷 Mattress Factory

Museum Details
🗓 SUN 11AM-6PM | WED 11AM-8PM | THURS-SAT 10AM–6PM
📍 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh PA 15212

The Mattress Factory is dedicated to contemporary art and features artists from around the world! Founded in 1977, the goal of the Mattress Factory was to have artists create “site-specific installations.” In total, they have worked with over 750 artists and pioneered the development of alternative art! Permanent installations include works from Yayoi Kusama, Greer Lankton and Allan Wexler. 

Since its founding, the Mattress Factory has worked to rehab nine buildings within the North Side, dedicating themselves to create a positive impact on the community! 

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum is the largest memorial in the U.S. dedicated to honoring all branches of the military! Honoring veterans since 1910, they preserve a “lasting tribute” to all individuals that unselfishly served their country. The museum features rare artifacts from the Civil War to present day conflicts. Fun fact, Soldiers and Sailors served as a filming location, including the infamous escape scene, for Silence of the Lambs!

More Pittsburgh Museums

Carnegie Science Center | Interactive experiences in science & tech

Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff | Cool and unique memorabilia 

Randyland | Vivid murals and objects

The Old Allegheny Count Jail Museum | Historic structure 

More Things to Do

This is just a short list of all of the wonderful museums Western PA has to offer! From the classics to the eccentrics, there is definitely a museum for you!

Plus, we want to hear from you! Tell us about your favorite Pittsburgh museums and share a pic! Make sure to tag @stufftodoinpittsburgh in your museum photos and use the hashtag #stufftodoinpittsburgh! We might even repost it on our social channels! 

For more fun things to do in Pittsburgh, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Plus download the UNATION app for all of the latest and best happenings in the Steel City! 

Britta Moletz

Britta Moletz

Britta is a City Manager for UNATION and author of the Stuff to Do in Pittsburgh City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Pittsburgh area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinPittsburgh on Instagramand Facebook.

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