by Rusty Baker, PA Museums
Devoted to the history and heritage of Western Pennsylvania, the Senator John Heinz History Center is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a proud affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The Heinz History Center family of museums includes the Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, Fort Pitt Museum, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Detre Library & Archives, and the new Museum Conservation Center. The 370,000 square-foot museum, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2009, presents compelling stories from American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection in an interactive environment perfect for visitors of all ages.
The Heinz History Center is located in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, home to a wide variety of restaurants and shops, a charming mix of the old and the new. The museum’s Smallman Street home combines the former Chautauqua Lake Ice Company building with a five-story Smithsonian wing. Its location contributes to its success as an organization that has a huge economic impact throughout Allegheny and the surrounding counties. The regional impact of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Western Pennsylvania is an estimated $686 million in spending and $74 million generated in taxes (source: Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council).
The History Center draws tourists from around Pennsylvania and the world. Tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s top five industries with cultural tourism leading the way in the tourism sector. Recently gathered data shows that Pennsylvania’s history strongly influences 35% of visitors to our Commonwealth and that 90% of Pennsylvanians themselves annually take advantage of our cultural and historic assets (source: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission).
The Heinz History Center’s local economic impact looks like this:
- Attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who generate nearly $11 million in leisure spending annually.
- Welcomes 25% of its guests from out of town who spend an average of $25 more per day than local visitors at nearby restaurants, retail establishments, and lodging.
- Spends an estimated $4.9 million annually on goods and services – generating local income tax revenue, support-ing jobs, and influencing subsequent spending.
- Pays $4.4 million in payroll that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, state, and local taxes.
- Serves tens of thousands of school students and teachers each year through education initiatives that save public schools money.