PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30, 2016 – The Senator John Heinz History Center, the region’s oldest cultural institution (since 1879) and the Smithsonian’s home in Pittsburgh, announced a new chair and other changes in the organization’s leadership.
Diane P. Holder, president and CEO at UPMC Health Plan and executive vice president at UPMC, was unanimously approved as the new chair of the History Center’s board of trustees. Holder succeeds William Lambert, chairman, president and CEO at MSA Safety, who served as chair of the History Center for the previous three years.
Under Lambert’s leadership, the History Center opened the Museum Conservation Center in the newly renovated Dietrich Building on Penn Ave. in the Strip District; launched several successful exhibitions, including We Can Do It! WWII, Visible Storage, and Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s; and led initiatives that resulted in nearly 300,000 visitors during the 2016 fiscal year.
“The History Center has enjoyed unprecedented growth and is recognized as one of the region’s top cultural institutions and a national model for history education,” said Lambert. “The museum’s dedicated staff, led by President and CEO Andy Masich, continually produces award-winning work and makes our region proud as the Smithsonian’s home in Pittsburgh. It’s been an honor for me to lead such a talented and dedicated board over the past three years, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the organization’s future growth.”
Holder, who joined the History Center’s board of trustees in 2013, will lead one of the nation’s top history museums through a series of important strategic initiatives, including an expanded Smithsonian partnership, a new focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and civics education, and an increased emphasis on statewide cultural tourism efforts.
“This is a historic year for our region, as Pittsburgh celebrates its 200th anniversary,” said Holder. “UPMC and UPMC Health Plan have a strong partnership with the History Center, including the museum’s multi-faceted Food & Fitness Initiative, and I’m proud to help guide the History Center during this growth period and throughout the upcoming strategic planning process.”
“We’re excited to welcome Diane as one of the top business leaders in the region,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. “She is also making history as the first woman to be elected chair of Pittsburgh’s oldest cultural institution. Her insights, experience, and enthusiasm will be tremendous assets to the History Center and its branch museums at Fort Pitt and Meadowcroft.”
Several additional officers were named to the History Center’s board of trustees, including Beverlynn Elliott, vice chair; Laura Ellsworth, vice chair; Alvaro Garcia-Tunon, treasurer; and Paul O’Neill, Jr., secretary. The History Center’s board currently comprises 53 regional leaders.
In addition to playing a leadership role with the Pittsburgh Bicentennial festivities throughout the year, the History Center recently unveiled the new Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibition and is set to open the #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience exhibition in December.
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.