I recently had the occasion to show off my city. To lay the foundation I began the tour at the Senator John Heinz History Center. I wanted my friend to see the stainless steel car that is on display on the first floor. This is a person who owns nearly a dozen cars and I knew they had never seen a car made of stainless steel up close and personal. They were impressed.
We moved into the current exhibit at the center, which is “1968: The Year That Rocked America.” Presented by UPMC Health Plan, the exhibit chronicles the pivotal year in U.S. history that saw assertions of Black Power at the Olympic Games, the national launch of Pittsburgh-produced “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” stardom for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, the debut of locally made cult classic “Night of the Living Dead,” and the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The year began with the Tet Offensive, the deadliest period of an increasingly divisive Vietnam War, and ended with hope for the future, as the Apollo 8 capsule beamed back images of “Earthrise” from the far side of the moon for the first time.
Nearly a dozen interactive video presentations and more than 100 evocative artifacts that explore how the year 1968 helped shape our modern world are featured. You can explore the sights and sounds of ‘68, including:
•Original set and several puppets from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” on public display for the first time outside of the WQED studios
•20-foot Bell UH-1H “Huey” helicopter used in the Vietnam War—the largest item ever displayed inside a History Center exhibition
•Video footage from Dr. Martin Luther King’s final public speech and items from King’s funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, including the communion plate, microphone and program.
I really enjoyed the interactive segment; we watched clips of television shows from that era and sang along with each theme song. If you go please go beyond the first floor and visit the entire history center, even if you have been there before. You always see something that you didn’t see before, especially if you see it through someone else’s eyes.
I used to work at the history center and many things have changed since I was a member of the Stages in History acting company. I loved showing off Pittsburgh, our Incline and universities. We had Sunday Brunch at Savoy and had a wonderful time.
In the meantime mark your calendars for March 9, at the Homewood Coliseum, Kings & Queens Mardi Gras Quesnino 2013, the brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. This is always a good time. I wish more people would dress for the occasion. It would be great to see more masks, costumes and that Mardi Gras feeling from the guests.
On March 23, BASH will hold their annual fashion show and Scholarship luncheon at the Double Tree in Greentree. Yours truly will present an eclectic fashion show “Add A little Bling.” The show will feature items that you can walk away with at a great price. Can you believe an evening dress for $5? Visit http://www.BASHFORWOMEN.COM for more information.