Experience Kits

If you're interested in a free stay-cation for the entire family, look no further than your public library! 

Select libraries around the county (including Robinson), partnered with the Senator John Heinz History Center and its Affiliate Program to offer library card holders access to free admission to unique sites (see available sites below).

Each kit can be checked out for up to one week at a time and grants admission for up to four people. It's 'First come, First served', so stop in to pick one up. 

You are welcome to call beforehand to see if it is available, but unfortunately they cannot be placed on hold.

Available year-round:

Senator john heinz history center

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Also included in complimentary admission: Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, and Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village in Avella, PA

The Heinz History Center has been in continuous existence since 1879, which makes it one of Pittsburgh’s oldest cultural organizations. The museum is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The Heinz History Center also facilitates its own affiliate program, working with over 200 historical organizations in our tri-state area. It is devoted to the history and heritage of Western PA and contains six floors of long-term and changing exhibits with hands-on activities, as well as a multitude of events and programs.

 

There is something for everyone! The museum system also includes the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, the Detre Library and Archives, and the Museum Conservation Center.

In addition, the Heinz History Center operates the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in Avella, PA and the Fort Pitt Museum at the Point in Pittsburgh.

Virtual Kit available here

Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

1212 Smallman Street (Strip District)

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Phone

412-454-6000

Website

http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org

Hours

10 AM to 5 PM                    Daily

(Closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day)

Lincoln highway experience museum

Complimentary Admission for up to four people

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Location

3435 State Route 30 E

Latrobe, PA 15650

Phone

724-879-4241

Website

http://www.LHHC.org

Hours

10 AM to 4 PM          Monday - Saturday

(Closed Saturdays in Winter (January - March)

Check website for special tours and events!

Also included in complimentary admission: Slice of pie and cup of coffee at the end of each tour (alternatively, a juice box and fruit cup for children)

During America’s westward expansion, the Lincoln Highway was one of our country’s first transcontinental roads, stretching from New York City to San Francisco in 1913, and a major part of America’s transportation history. Even though the historic Lincoln Highway goes across all of Pennsylvania, there is a 200-mile section in south-central PA that is one of the Commonwealth’s 12 Heritage Areas – the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. Their mission is to:

 Connect residents and visitors with the story of the Lincoln Highway;

 Encourage others to travel along the road that their ancestors did;

 Host visitors at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum; and

 Preserve and promote ‘roadside giants’ like the 1927 Coffee Pot near Bedford, PA.

 

“See America First” was the early theme of the Lincoln Highway in 1913. This Highway, which is twice as long as Route 66 and 10 years older, clearly launched tourism. Gas Stations, Tourist Cabins, Motels, and mom and pop Diners sprung up to accommodate the new traveling public. Today, there are still two-lane roads and unique sights to witness along this historic route. Travelers will find the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum in Latrobe, PA the best place to begin their Lincoln Highway journey.

 

Visitors will experience America’s first coast-to-coast highway best by watching the award-winning 13-minute orientation film, Through the Windshield. Authentic Lincoln Highway artifacts, such as a 1937 Packard automobile, a 1938 restored Serro’s Diner, a 1939 Tourist Cabin and Filling Station with restored gas pumps, will round out the Tour; and end with enjoying a piece of pie and cup of coffee (or alternate beverage) inside the Diner. Children will receive a juice box and fruit cup in lieu of pie and coffee.

 

An affiliate of the Heinz History Center, the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum invites visitors to step back in time to experience the road that changed America forever – the Lincoln Highway.

Virtual Kit available here.

mckeesport regional story & heritage center

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Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

1832 Arboretum Drive

McKeesport, PA 15132

Phone

412-678-1832

Website

http://www.mckeesportheritage.org

Hours

10 AM to 4 PM          Tuesday - Friday

9 AM to 3 PM                        Saturday

Closed Sundays and Mondays (except for events)

Check website for special tours and events!

The McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center was founded in 1980, but it was recently updated in 2019 to “focus on individual stories in the grand story of McKeesport and the Mon Valley.” Every item of the museum collection has been privately donated.

 

The new “Veterans of the Mon Valley” exhibit highlights the Vietnam War and local veterans. In the new sports exhibit visitors can learn of the effect that local athletes such as Swin Cash, Rick Krivda and Bette Ford have had on the country and the world.

 

The “Presidents in McKeesport” exhibit shows the ties that all of our presidents have had to the region, and there is a display honoring McKeesport native Helen Ritchie, who was a pioneering female aviator.

 

Another new exhibit recreates McKeesport’s famous shopping district, focusing on stores such as G. C. Murphy’s, Cox’s, Hirshberg’s and Balsamo’s. More exhibits are planned for 2021.

 

In addition, the Center houses a complete one-room schoolhouse, built in 1832, the first in McKeesport. The Industry Room focuses on the backbone of McKeesport’s success, the iron and steel industry, and on display are artifacts from McKeesport’s National Tube Works. The Center contains a research library with extensive archival resources, and it also offers a variety of community and outreach programs.

Virtual Kit available here.

pennsylvania trolley museum

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Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

1 Museum Road

Washington, PA 15301

Phone

724-228-9256

Website

http://www.pa-trolley.org

Hours

June - August

10 AM to 4 PM          Thursday - Sunday

September - November & April - May

10 AM to 4 PM                Friday - Sunday

Last trolley tour sold at 3:00 PM.

Pass not valid for special events & pre-registered programs.

The streetcar, or “trolley,” played a vital role in the growth of 20th century American cities. Because of this means of transportation, people could then live much farther from their place of work, which led to the development of the suburbs.

 

In 1940 the Pittsburgh Electric Railway Club established a trolley museum in the Pittsburgh area, first in the eastern suburbs, and then in 1954 a site was chosen in Washington County, where the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum was established.

 

It started with three trolleys; now there is a collection of nearly 50 cars, over 600 members worldwide, 125 active volunteers, and over 30,000 visitors each year.

 

The Museum offers a variety of educational and public programs and special events throughout the year, including field trips, Scout Days, the Bunny Trolley, Anything on Wheels, Park n’ Ride Service to the Washington County Fair, Pumpkin Patch Trolley, Santa Trolley, Operator for an Hour session, and birthday parties.

 

Check their website for more information.

 

An affiliate of the Heinz History Center, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum offers a variety of programs and events every year. There’s something for everyone in the family!

Virtual Kit available here.

Available starting in June:

quecreek mine rescue site

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Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

140 Haupt Road,

Somerset, PA 15501

Phone

815-445-5090

Website

http://www.quecreekrescue.org

Hours

Monument for Life Memorial Park

Dawn to Dusk (weather permitting)

Educational Visitors Center

11 AM to 4 PM          Tuesday - Saturday

Sunday and Monday open by appointment

The Quecreek Mine Rescue took place in Somerset County, PA, when nine miners were trapped underground from July 24-28, 2002.

 

It was caused by an accidental breach of a flooded neighboring mine, and was first reported by miners who had escaped from another part of the mine.

 

Rescue operations started immediately and continued for four days, while the world anxiously watched the rescue efforts on television. Although there were complications that occurred during the rescue, all nine miners were eventually rescued after the four-day ordeal.

 

Since then, books, songs, and documentaries have been written about the event.

 

Construction for a memorial park was begun in March, 2003 at the Dormel Farm field where the drilling rescue operations took place, and a Monument for Life is being built to honor rescue workers and to serve as a tribute to coal miners.

 

When completed, it will be a five-acre site that will contain a Welcome Center featuring information and artifacts from the rescue.

 

It is supported by donations to the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization.

 

An affiliate of the Heinz History Center, The Quecreek Mine Rescue Site works to educate visitors, preserve the site, and celebrate this inspirational story.

Virtual Kit available here.

Captain william vicary mansion

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The Vicary Mansion was built overlooking the Ohio River in 1829 by Captain William Vicary, a retired Philadelphia merchant sea captain and land speculator. Over the years additional changes were made to the buildings and grounds; several unique adaptations allow visitors to observe early 19th century architecture in the house. It is now owned by Beaver County and is occupied by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation. In 1974 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, noted for its architectural significance.

 

The Vicary Mansion is a very busy place, offering many educational, informative, and entertaining programs. Several major events are held there during the year, including the county-wide History Celebration Weekend, Apple Butter Fest, Hauntings and Ghost Tales, and Christmas at the Mansion. On Vicary Day a series of authentically historic classes are offered to teach the crafts of the past, such as weaving, spinning, lacemaking, quilting, woodcutting and gardening. Their award-winning “Windows Through History” program is held for young ladies; it teaches what life was like during different time periods of our history.

 

A wide selection of archival materials and historic objects are housed at the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation in the Vicary Mansion, including diaries, letters, newspapers, photographs, textiles, and records from over 50 boroughs and townships of Beaver County.

 

A variety of programs and speakers are offered; prior to your visit, please check their website for updated information on their everchanging calendar of events and programs. An affiliate of the Heinz History Center, the Vicary Mansion is a bee hive of activity! Check out their website for what they’re developing next!

Virtual Kit available here.

Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

1235 Third Avenue

Freedom, PA 15042

Phone

724-775-1848

Website

http://bchrlf.org

Hours

10 AM to 3 PM          Monday - Friday

Closed Saturdays and Sundays (except for events)

Open for tours by appointment

Check website for special tours and events.

zelienople historical society & passavant house

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The Zelienople Historical Society was founded in 1975, and in 1978 they purchased and restored the Passavant House. It was built in 1808 and was the second oldest house in Zelienople. It had been owned by Zelie and Philippe Passavant, who were instrumental in establishing Zelienople in the early 1800’s.

 

Today the Passavant House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it serves as a museum, library, and headquarters for the Zelienople Historical Society. It features artifacts and memorabilia of the Passavant family and the town’s historic past, including a collection of furniture, clothing, and personal and household items dating back to the early 1800’s.

 

There is also a research library in the house, which holds a large collection of primary source materials as well as genealogical records of many early immigrant families from the area. Special tours for local school children are conducted each spring.

 

In 1991 the Zelienople Historical Society bought the Buhl House, which had originally been built in 1805. After it was restored, it became a second museum site, located at 221 South Main Street. Its ten rooms contain rare artifacts related to the history of Zelienople, its schools, businesses, and daily life, as well as Buhl family items commemorating their significance in history. In addition, temporary, traveling, and onloan exhibits are displayed.

 

The two museums are open to the public for tours. They are also involved in several events during the year such as a Spring Tea, Spring Floral Design Class, Garden Talk and Brunch, Genealogy Class, Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, Butler Bikes and BBQ, Sundae Sunday, and Paint and Pour Class. Prior to your visit, please check their website for updated information on their ever-changing calendar of events and programs.

 

An affiliate of the Heinz History Center, the Zelienople Historical Society brings local history to life by offering visitors a look at life in Zelienople in the 1800’s.

Virtual Kit available here.

Complimentary Admission for up to four people

Location

243 South Main Street

Zelienople, PA 16063

Phone

724-452-9457

Website

http://www.zeliehistory.org

Hours

9 AM to 12 PM          Monday - Friday

Closed Saturdays and Sundays (except for events)

Check website for special tours and events.