Senator John Heinz History Center

On view long-term
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Along with local landmarks such as the Cathedral of Learning, Point State Park Fountain and the Thunderbolt, there is a little green pickle that has become an enduring symbol of Pittsburgh’s rich (and delicious) past and bright future.

Names such as Heinz, Westinghouse, Carnegie and Frick are synonymous with a significant legacy of industry and development in Pittsburgh—figures, families and companies that built a foundation for 21st-century innovation. Among the most iconic of pioneering figures embedded in Pittsburgh’s storied past is that of H.J. Heinz and the company’s beloved 57 Varieties.

But just how did a mid-19th-century small-scale family farm in Sharpsburg, PA go on to become the manufacturer of everyone’s favorite ketchup?

Anticipation has been building for a new in-depth exhibition that explores how The H. J. Heinz Company’s groundbreaking innovation and creativity turned a small local food purveyor into one of the world’s most recognized brands. The wait is over. The Heinz History Center unveils its latest long-term exhibition this weekend, with opening programs and promotions on September 6th and 7th.

The company’s remarkable 145-year history, including its local origins and international reach, is showcased via rare artifacts and cutting-edge interactive displays featured in the one-of-a-kind Heinz Exhibition. Visitors will discover the earliest days of the family business, which began when eight-year-old Henry John Heinz started selling items from his mother’s humble garden in Sharpsburg. The informative exhibit follows the company’s expansion to become a global producer with more than 5,700 products in 200 different countries.

Encounter a giant 10-foot ketchup bottle constructed from 400 individual bottles and explore Heinz’s revolutionary and influential use of product marketing and packaging in a display of more than 100 historic bottles. Watch videos chronicling the genealogy of the Heinz family and sit down to learn at an interactive table focusing on the brand’s lasting international popularity.

The exhibit also includes never before seen artifacts from the History Center’s collection, the largest of its kind in the world, including H.J. Heinz’s desk set, hand-written ledger and recipe book dating back to 1869. Curated by Emily Ruby of the History Center—which is named after H.J.’s great grandson, the late Senator John Heinz—the 3,000-square-foot exhibition features nearly 300 artifacts.

Step up to a life-like figure of 10-year-old H.J. Heinz, enjoy videos of vintage Heinz TV ads from around the world and view rare items from former Heinz brand advertising campaigns, such as a 9Lives director’s chair used by Morris the Cat and a life-size costume of StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna. The exhibit’s collection of iconic Heinz pickle pins even includes one example from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Ready to show your 57 pride? Be one of the first 57 visitors to arrive on September 6th, and you will receive free museum admission! All visitors attending the weekend-long kick-off on September 6th and 7th will be eligible to enter a free raffle featuring four complimentary Steelers tickets for the September 28th game at Heinz Field. Throughout the first 57 days of the exhibition—from September 6th through November 1st—all museum visitors will receive a complimentary Heinz pickle pin.

The new Heinz exhibition will remain on view long-term at the History Center.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.