Pittsburghers love traditions – especially during the Steelers season and the holiday season.
And, as the years go by, the beginnings of holiday traditions that made Pittsburgh’s once-vibrant Downtown shopping district shine are nothing but a memory.
Horne’s, Kaufmann’s, Gimbels all had extravagant holiday season traditions: windows, tree lightings, amazing interior decorating, Santa.
While those landmarks and many of the events are gone, the memories will live on through a very special exhibit at the Heinz History Center: “A Very Merry Pittsburgh.”
It’s the second year for the unique display (it first appeared in 2017).
The display, which opens Nov. 16, features:
- The original Santa’s chair from Kaufmann’s Santaland, the giant mailbox where Pittsburgh area children used to mail wish lists to Santa
- Holiday window display items and other memorable objects from Kaufmann’s, Horne’s and Macy’s
- An interactive retro toy display showcasing toys from several generations
- Gifts and toys dating to the 1840s, which show the evolution of gift-giving for the holidays
And, of course, Santa! The History Center welcomes Santa on select days and times.
I visited this exhibit during its premiere year in 2017 and took my mother, who fondly recalled so many toys and items from Kaufmann’s and Horne’s. I loved getting a chance to see old window display pieces up close and to learn more about those pieces.
This is a must-see exhibit for any Pittsburgher!
A Very Merry Pittsburgh opens Nov. 16 and continues through Jan. 5. The exhibit is included as part of a regular admission ticket to the Heinz History Center.
Santa will be at the History Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the following days: Nov. 16, 17, 23, 24, 29; and Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24.
The History Center is located at 1212 Smallman St. in the Strip District. You’ll want to block off several hours to visit the History Center because of all of the wonderful exhibits, including pieces from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and the massive Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, and so much more! Or, just get a membership and return multiple times throughout the year!
Get event listings and more holiday fun in the It’s Christmas 365 newsletter!