History Center adds Fred Rogers’ clothing to popular exhibit
Just in time for the release of the highly anticipated “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” film starring Tom Hanks as Pittsburgh’s favorite neighbor, the Senator John Heinz History Center will add more than 20 items of clothing worn by Fred Rogers to its popular “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit, beginning this Friday, Nov. 22.
The clothing – worn by Rogers both personally and professionally – was recently donated to the Smithsonian-affiliated History Center by Rogers’ wife, Joanne Rogers.
Items include one of Rogers’ favorite jumpsuits to wear around the house; a black button-up shirt worn behind-the-scenes while doing puppetry for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” episodes; a brown cardigan sweater made by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers; assorted ties and bowties; and more. A costume worn by Officer Clemmons on the show is also on display.
The articles of clothing will join the largest collection of original items from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on public view in the History Center’s fourth-floor Special Collections Gallery.
Highlights from the museum’s top attraction include:
- The entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through to begin each episode;
- King Friday XIII’s castle;
- The Great Oak Tree, residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl;
- Mr. McFeely’s “Speedy Delivery” tricycle; and
- A variety of additional items and puppets from the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe.”
Re-Creating the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” Set
The Heinz History Center played an important role in the making of the new movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which will be released nationally this Friday, Nov. 22.
Last year, the film’s art directors, set designers, costume designers, and sound engineers made frequent trips to the museum to examine the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” set pieces and costumes in the History Center’s collection – including several pieces not on public display. The production crew measured artifacts, analyzed the construction of set pieces, matched paint colors and fabrics, and recorded sound.
With help from the History Center’s curators, the crew meticulously re-created the original set from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” ensuring that iconic pieces like X the Owl’s Tree, Grandpère’s Eiffel Tower, and more were as accurate as possible for the film.
Visitors can explore “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” at the History Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The exhibit is included with museum admission: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (62+), $9 for students and children ages 6-17, and free for children ages 5 and under and History Center members.
The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a museum within a museum, comprehensively presenting the region’s remarkable sports story through hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District, and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The History Center’s museum system includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa. in Washington County. More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
The Smithsonian-affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center is home to the largest collection of original artifacts from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Heinz History Center curator Emily Ruby prepares a handmade sweater owned by Fred Rogers to be added to the museum’s popular “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit.
History Center registrar Nicole Lauletta assists an “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” crew member, who records the sound of the living room door opening and closing. Fred Rogers came through this iconic door at the beginning of each episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”