#Pixburgh exhibition explores life through Pittsburghers' lens


Last updated 12/19/2016 at 5:34pm

Visitors to the Senator John Heinz History Center can experience an in-depth look at the museum’s extensive collection of photographs as part of the new major exhibition, #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience.

With nearly two billion digital images taken daily, photography connects generations and remains one of the most popular means of self-expression, thanks in part to popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The #Pixburgh exhibit highlights Pittsburgh’s passion for photography from the early 1850s through today, culled from the History Center’s extensive vault of nearly one million photos. Many of the nearly 400 featured photographs have never been displayed to the public.

Each image featured in #Pixburgh reflects a wide variety of subjects and time periods, from turn-of-the-century mugshots to the 1960 World Series, from the 1936 St. Patrick’s Day Flood to the Westinghouse Skybus, and from early “selfies” to Polaroids, all while exploring Pittsburgh’s cycle of change and renewal.

With images featuring social gatherings and holiday traditions, family dinners and beloved pets, historic events and unforgettable milestones, the exhibit showcases the similarities between the subjects Pittsburghers photographed a century ago to what is captured by our social media-savvy society today.

Exhibit subject areas include:

• The faces of Pittsburgh, showing the racial, ethnic, and religious fabric of the region;

• Famous landmarks, large-scale events, and iconic images of the Point, the Kaufmann’s Clock, and Three Rivers Stadium that help to give a sense of place;

Pittsburgh at work, highlighting the cross-section of workers that help to keep the city growing;

• Leisure activities showing how Pittsburghers enjoy their time off, from vacations and holiday parties to cookouts and happy hours; and

• A special area focusing on dogs, cats, and other beloved family pets.

The exhibit also includes artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian, including a nine lens wet plate camera from the 1880s that was used to take multiple images at the same time and a sheet of uncut gem tintypes from 1870. Both Smithsonian artifacts demonstrate the evolution of lower-priced, faster-paced camera technology, as well as Americans’ ever-increasing love of photography.

Families will enjoy several interactive activities throughout the #Pixburgh exhibit, including an immersive photo slideshow area that encourages visitors to play the role of museum curator and guess the date and location of historic images; a hands-on children’s section where kids can play a special photo matching game; and a special “Through the Lens” section where visitors can gaze through an oversized lens to see images from the photographer’s viewpoint.

The History Center is inviting Pittsburghers past and present to leaf through their photo albums, scan their laptops, and check their smartphones to find their favorite photo that perfectly captures their Pittsburgh experience.

Visitors can submit their best image to the History Center for inclusion inside the #Pixburgh exhibit and as part of a special online photo gallery.

To submit a photo, visit http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/submit-your-pixburgh-photo.

The #Pixburgh exhibit will be on display through Aug. 20, 2017.

For more information, including behind-the-scenes photos and a full lineup of public programs, visit http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org.


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