Andy Masich wears many hats, quite literally (stop by his office to check out his impressive historic hat collection). As president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center, Masich leads Pennsylvania’s largest history museum. An award-winning author and lecturer, he is also an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon and a grandfather of two.
Monday, May 16
This morning, I’m traveling to visit the Maritime Museum in Erie for a meeting with history and preservation leaders, Tom Hagen and Craig Pepper, and hopefully a tour of the Flagship Niagara. The Maritime Museum is one of the 126 History Center Affiliate Program museums, a collection of local historical organizations that we assist with museum best practices. As part of my role as chairman of the PHMC, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting museums and historical sites throughout the Commonwealth. Criss-crossing the Keystone State has allowed me to catch up on 41 audio books over the past year—while logging plenty of miles in my car. I hope to complete A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman on the drive to Erie and begin Nobel Laureate Frans de Waal’s The Bonobo and the Atheist on the return trip.
In the evening, I plan to connect with Mayor Peduto to map out plans for the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Bridge Light Up project in conjunction with the National League of Cities conference this fall. Along with 300 partner organizations, we’ve been busy planning hundreds of events around the city this year, including the Bicentennial Birthday Bash on July 8 and the Bicentennial Parade on July 9. Happy birthday, Pittsburgh!
Tuesday, May 17
I’ll start the day walking up the History Center’s UPMC SmartSteps—the exhibit in the stairway is a great way to get fit and learn about local history.
In the morning, curators and educators will update me on additions to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Then we’ll share these ideas with the chairman of the Sports Museum, Franco Harris. We’re looking forward to adding new items to our hockey exhibit (let’s go Pens!). We’re also busy planning an event in July that will feature nearly 20 former Olympians, just in time for the Summer Games.
After lunch, I’m leading members of the Leadership Pittsburgh Community Leadership Course for Veterans through a tour of the Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibition, now under construction, to learn how innovative and indomitable Pittsburghers changed the world for the better.
Later in the afternoon, I’m giving a tour of the Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s exhibition to steel industry manufacturers from across the U.S. as part of an event hosted by Nadine Bognar. They’ll get a last look at the Toys exhibit before it closes on May 31.
After work, I’ll be submitting final grades for my Carnegie Mellon University class, “Public History: Learning Outside the Classroom.” Teaching this class of international students has been a lot of fun and a wonderful learning experience for me.
Wednesday, May 18
This morning, I’m meeting with our team at the Fort Pitt Museum to discuss the summer Living History Program in Point State Park. Hopefully it’s warm enough to try out the water balloon-slinging cannon that blasts chalk outlines of British and French soldiers on the Monongahela Bastion.
For lunch, I’ll stop by the new Café @ The History Center to enjoy a chicken caesar salad. The Café is part of our partnership with Common Plea Catering. If no one’s watching, I may sneak in a chocolate chip cookie, too (putting it in the microwave for nine seconds). Time to take the SmartSteps again!
After work, I’m planning to re-connect with some of my History Hog buddies to map out this year’s motorcycle ride from Tucson, Ariz. to Santa Fe, N.M. to promote my new book, Civil War in the Southwest Borderlands (University of Oklahoma Press). Our History Hogs motto? “Born to Read.”
Thursday, May 19
After a morning coffee at Coca Café in Lawrenceville, I’ll start the day with our team to discuss the 9th annual “Pittsburgh Hidden Treasures” appraisal event with KDKA on Sunday, August 7. Antiques Roadshow has got nothing on us!
I’m looking forward to a call with John Gray from the Smithsonian to discuss the American History 101 initiative, designed to help improve all Americans’ basic knowledge of history and civics. The History Center is proud of our Smithsonian affiliation—we’re “the Smithsonian’s home in Pittsburgh.”
I’ve been craving the best fish sandwich in the city, so for lunch, I’ll stop by Nied’s Hotel in Lawrenceville. Can’t resist the fries—better hit the SmartSteps!
This evening, my wife Debbie and I hope to go to the Pirates vs. Braves game. It’s a Zambelli Fireworks Night, so watch for me on TV—I’ll be behind home plate eating peanuts non-stop. Let’s go Bucs!
Friday, May 20
Today’s a very emotional day as the History Center will welcome 50 new American citizens as part of a Naturalization Ceremony. I tear up every time. The ceremony reminds me that all Americans were once immigrants, even if you arrived at Meadowcroft Rockshelter 16,000 years ago.
This afternoon, I’ll be busy preparing for tonight’s 24th annual History Makers Award Dinner at the Westin Convention Center, presented by BNY Mellon and Citizens Bank. Each year, the History Center honors extraordinary Pittsburghers who have positively impacted our region, nation and the world. Our honorees this year include Kim Tillotson Fleming, G. Nicholas Beckwith III, Eric Springer, William Kassling, and “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino. Makes me proud to be a Pittsburgher!
Saturday, May 21
After a busy week, it’s time to relax a bit. How does a history buff relax? By cleaning out gun powder residue from my Civil War howitzer, which we fired at our annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Once it’s cleaned of its smelly powder residue, Debbie lets me roll it back into the living room.
Sunday, May 22
Sunday means brunch and this week, Debbie and I will be enjoying Café on Main in Sharpsburg. In keeping with the Cinco de Mayo theme, I’ll probably order the South of the Border omelet with a side of home fried potatoes with grilled onions. I’ll enjoy life today—and hit the SmartSteps again on Monday morning.