RoSA and the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation (RSHC) host regular exhibitions of art and artifacts representing the cultural heritage of the Pittsburgh region and its rich industrial legacy. Exhibition venues include the Pump House, BOST Building Gallery and the Homestead Room which are managed by the RSHC Museum and Archives division. Information about these venues including current exhibits and exhibition opportunities can be found on the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area’s website.
Inaugural Steel Case Mini Exhibit
CHSS Building, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Mellon Foundation Fellow at Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
“The massive collapse of America’s steel industry in the mid-1980s changed southwestern Pennsylvania’s economic and physical landscape, signaling the end of an industry that provided a livelihood for generations of workers and their families. Many of the objects and ephemera that have been preserved over time reveal that the steel industry provided not only good jobs, but also served as a major initiator of popular culture for everyday life. Children learned the significance of Pennsylvania’s steel industry through superheroes that faced monstrosities and evil villains battling one another amidst the fiery mills. Legendary folk heroes like Joe Magarac, revealed the pride, passion, and dedication many steelworkers had for their jobs. Citizens across the country used household products and displayed memorabilia created by the steel industry, further memorializing the significance that industrialized southwestern Pennsylvania had their daily lives. Objects that initially appear to be trivial or comical and that were saved for their cultural significance, illustrate that the steel industry had a strong presence in American communities that still continues long after its physical presence upon the landscape has disappeared.”
The Steel Case Mini Exhibit is a self-contained micro exhibition series highlighting southwestern Pennsylvania’s industrial, cultural, artistic and architectural history. Created from clear acrylic, riveted steel plate and crown molding, the traveling case is equipped with audio/video capabilities and a modest “open cabinet” style display area designed for indoor or outdoor public spaces.
Rivers of Steel Arts (RoSA) invites independent curators from a broad range of disciplines to continually reinterpret the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation’s collection of
over 250,000 artifacts and artworks. With each iteration the case travels to a new public location across Pennsylvania and beyond, generating narratives that harness the power of oral histories, photographs, labor memorabilia, artworks, site plans and much more to cumulatively tell the complex story of Southwestern Pennsylvania.