The Fort Pitt Museum, part of the Smithsonian-affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center museum system, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer.
The Fort Pitt Museum explores the strategic role of Western Pennsylvania and the Point in key moments in American history, including the French & Indian War, the American Revolution, and the birth of Pittsburgh.
The museum honors Fort Pitt, which stood at the Point from 1759 until 1792. Originally a British fort, by 1774 it was the western headquarters for the Continental Army during the American Revolution, housing troops and supplies to defend the new United States.
Part of the development of Point State Park, the Fort Pitt Museum was formally dedicated and opened to the public on June 30, 1969. It was Pittsburgh’s first history museum devoted to the story of the Forks of the Ohio River and early Pittsburgh.
21+ Night to Celebrate 50th Anniversary Weekend
On Saturday, June 29, from 6-10 p.m., the Fort Pitt Museum will host an after-hours 21+ Night in celebration of its golden anniversary. The evening will feature Virginia Stotz, who will speak about her father, architect Charles M. Stotz, and his influence on the development of the Fort Pitt Museum.
Throwback Admission Planned for June 30
On Sunday, June 30, to mark the museum’s 50th anniversary, the Fort Pitt Museum will offer a Fort Pitt 50 Family Day, featuring special throwback pricing of $0.50 admission for adults and $0.25 admission for children ages 6-17 – the original admission prices charged when the museum first opened on June 30, 1969.
Throughout the day, the museum will offer tours, hands-on history activities for all ages, and 18th-century military demonstrations presented by costumed reenactors.
Summer Preview: Experience Living History at the Point
Visitors to Point State Park can see history in action during the Fort Pitt Museum’s 50th anniversary summer season.
On select weekends, costumed reenactors will demonstrate 18th-century life at Fort Pitt, perform marches and military drills, and fire the museum’s replica British six-pounder cannon.
All outdoor living history programs are free and open to the public.
The Fort Pitt Museum will host the following living history programs this summer:
- Dunmore’s War Hunting Camp
June 15-16 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors can learn about the colonial struggle of Virginians and Pennsylvanians in and around Pittsburgh during 1774. Costumed surveyors and fur traders will discuss their roles, and Virginia militia will conduct rifle and musket firing demonstrations throughout the day.
June 22, July 13, and Aug. 17 | 1-3 p.m.
The Fort Pitt Garrison will demonstrate 18th-century military drills and fire the museum’s replica British six-pounder cannon, weather permitting. (For up-to-date information on cannon firing times, follow @HistoryCenter on Twitter.)
July 4 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Following an 11 a.m. flag raising ceremony in Point State Park, holiday revelers of all ages can enjoy an afternoon of living history. Learn about Fort Pitt and Western Pennsylvania’s role in the American Revolution and see costumed interpreters reenact 18th-century life at Fort Pitt.
Aug. 3-4 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors can witness how artillerists at historic Fort Pitt prepared for cannon firings to defend the Point and learn how artisans like tinners and blacksmiths helped produce 18th-century artillery. The Fort Pitt Museum Cannon Crew will fire the museum’s replica cannon throughout the weekend, weather permitting. (For up-to-date information on cannon firing times, follow @HistoryCenter on Twitter.)
One of the most affordable family-friendly cultural experiences in the region, the Fort Pitt Museum attracted more than 55,000 visitors last year.
Regular admission to the museum is just $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $2 off admission for retired and active military, and $4.50 for students with a valid ID and children ages 6-17. Children under 5 and History Center members get in free.
The Fort Pitt Museum
, built in a recreated bastion of the British fort originally constructed in 1759, focuses on the critical role that Western Pennsylvania played during the French & Indian War, the American Revolution, and the founding of Pittsburgh. The Fort Pitt Museum is located in Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, operates the Fort Pitt Museum in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). For more information, please visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org/fort-pitt
The Fort Pitt Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special 21+ Night on Saturday, June 29, and a Fort Pitt 50 Family Day featuring $0.50 admission on Sunday, June 30. (Pictured: A recreated 60th Royal American Regiment was founded in 1972, three years after the museum opened, to add a new dimension of storytelling to the Fort Pitt Museum with a focus on 18th-century military music and drills.)
The Fort Pitt Museum will present living history demonstrations in Point State Park on select weekends this summer.