The Senator John Heinz History Center will offer visitors an in-depth look at Pennsylvania’s significant role during the Civil War with its new major exhibition, Pennsylvania’s Civil War, presented by Mylan.

In addition to highlighting the state’s contributions to important conflicts like the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania’s Civil War showcases Pittsburgh’s role as the “Arsenal of the Union” and the impact of Western Pennsylvanians on the war, both on the battlefield and the home front. This exhibition is a key part of a series of History Center programs and publications developed in partnership with PA Civil War 150, the statewide initiative commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Featuring over 150 artifacts, Pennsylvania’s Civil War includes items on loan from institutions like the Smithsonian Institution, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and the National Civil War Museum. It also presents rare archival images, lifelike museum figures, and immersive settings, bringing to life the personal stories of soldiers, women, African Americans, and children affected by the four-year conflict.

The History Center employed innovative 3-D printing to create a 26-foot-long, nine-ton smooth bore Rodman Cannon, underwritten by Dan and Bonnie Sandman, illustrating Pittsburgh’s military production during the Civil War. The original cannon, built in 1864 at Pittsburgh’s Fort Pitt Foundry, weighed nearly 90 tons and could shoot a 20-inch cannonball 4.5 miles, representing the groundbreaking technology developed by Thomas Jackson Rodman.

  • A recreated 1863 Pittsburgh street scene teaching about the threat of a Confederate invasion;
  • A tintype camera and portable printing press from the Smithsonian Institution;
  • A letter by Union Army officer Joshua Chamberlain from the National Civil War Museum;
  • A bullet-shot forage cap from the Battle of Antietam;
  • Mourning jewelry, accessories, and costumes;
  • A militia drum, fife, bugles, 19th-century board games, and soldier’s camp materials;
  • “Old Iron City” camp fiddle with soldiers’ names inscribed retrieved by the members of the 193rd Pennsylvania;
  • Personal mementos and gifts for soldiers as they headed off to war, including a sewing kit, needle case, and Bible; and
  • Original Civil War recruitment posters from communities across Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Blairsville, Lock Haven, and Meadville.

The exhibit will feature Civil War-themed living history demonstrations on select weekends and special events, giving visitors a realistic portrayal of life in Western Pa. during the war.

Pennsylvania’s Civil War complements other Civil War areas in the History Center’s long-term exhibitions, including From Slavery to Freedom, Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation, and the Sigo Falk Collections Center with the Monongahela House bed Abraham Lincoln used during his only Pittsburgh visit in 1861.

The exhibit will be on display until Jan. 5, 2014.