Museums play a key role in our culture and society. The Senator John Heinz History Center has a rich history of telling significant and multifaceted stories of Pittsburgh throughout its long history. We’re proud to have partnered with the History Center on a number of exhibit design projects.
We branded, laid out and designed an exhibit dedicated to a 100-year-old collection of artwork given to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and enjoyed by tens of thousands of school children over the years. The Gift of Art exhibit featured nearly 80 paintings, as well as sculpture and other media, from the Public Schools’ collection. The exhibit included some of the first pieces purchased for the collection, as well as art created in the past decade—offering an interesting perspective on the work of regional artists and what it tells us about Pittsburgh and its people. We used a grouping system for each piece to help attendees digest each piece as they explored the exhibit. We also employed a few visual cues such as school lockers and a “lost and found” section to help keep the historical context of the exhibit.
Special care was given to address the challenge of presenting a large number of pieces in a relatively small space. The floor plan was laid out so attendees could consider each piece at their own rate without getting overwhelmed by the large collection.
The pieces were split into their own sections with a strong headline and introduction paragraph to give the viewer context. A few small touches, such as school lockers and a “Lost & Found” section were added as well.
The Gift of Art received positive attention from local media—all celebrating the fact that this collection was being shown in its entirety for the first time.
From Slavery to Freedom
250 Years of African American History
We also collaborated with The Heinz History Center creative team to develop concepts and designs for From Slavery to Freedom, an award-winning exhibit. Our work included a digital, interactive exhibit allowing visitors to explore a map of local safe houses along the underground railroad. The exhibit took visitors on a journey that began in 18th century Africa, crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a re-created slave ship, featured the toil in bondage on plantations of America, joined the Underground network of freedom seekers, showed the fight for freedom in the Civil War, organized for civil rights and then concluding in 21st century Western Pennsylvania.
The exhibit won esteemed international awards including: American Association for State and Local History Leadership in History Award for 2013; African Diaspora World Tourism Cultural Exhibit Flame Keeper, and the PA Museums Presidents and S.K. Stevens Awards for 2014.