Photo Credit: KDKA

Pittsburgh has a rich history, from an important role in the French and Indian War to modern innovations and advances in medicine. And with numerous museums throughout the city, it’s no surprise that some have plenty to teach about its history. Here are five of the best places to learn about Pittsburgh history, from traditional museums to informative boat tours.

Fort Pitt Museum
601 Commonwealth Place
Building B
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 281-9284

Located downtown in Point State Park, the Fort Pitt Museum helps to educate visitors about Pittsburgh’s part in the French and Indian War, as well as the American Revolution through artifacts, interactive exhibits, and Living History events, as well as both guided and self-guided tours through the museum. Fort Pitt Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. year round, with the exception of New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. If you present your proof of admission at the John Heinz History Center, you’ll get half-price admission.

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 454-6000

The six-floor Heinz History Center, located in the Strip District, is an affiliate of the Smithsonian and is also Pennsylvania’s largest history museum, with plenty of exhibits focusing on Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Current exhibits include Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, including set pieces and artifacts from the locally produced show, and Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, which includes almost 100 local innovations — everything from the Big Mac to advances in medicine. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is affiliated with the Fort Pitt Museum in Point State Park.

Duquesne Incline
1197 West Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 381-1665

The Duquesne Incline, with centuries-old cable cars typically used as transportation or a great sightseeing opportunity — especially during the Christmas season, when the city is decorated — seems an unlikely spot to learn about Pittsburgh history. But the upper station includes a small museum of city history, including pictures and information about other inclines around the world. Groups of 10 or more can schedule a tour in advance. Be sure to check out the gift shop, too!

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Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall
4141 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 621-4253

While other museums focus on numerous aspects of Pittsburgh’s history, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland is dedicated specifically to the military, featuring personally donated artifacts and mementos — such as uniforms, equipment, and even an art collection — and tributes to Pennsylvania veterans. The museum also has a memorial for all fallen soldiers from Pennsylvania, as well as the Hall of Valor, which honors Pennsylvania veterans who went “above and beyond the call of duty.”

Gateway Clipper
350 West Station Square Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
(412) 355-7980

The Gateway Clipper isn’t just a great way to get a view of Pittsburgh from its rivers–it’s also a unique educational experience that talks a little bit about some of the city’s history. The one-hour sightseeing tour by boat will take you on all three rivers, with a tour guide relaying interesting facts about the city’s past. They also offer an evening tour, as well as special events. You can catch a tour up until Oct. 23, and after that, you’ll have to wait until spring.

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Janelle Sheetz is a 20-something closed-captioner by day, writer by night, just outside of Pittsburgh. She also regularly contributes to and, and her writing has also been featured on The Billfold and Neutrons Protons.