This holiday season, the Smithsonian’s home in Pittsburgh is offering free admission for ages 17 and under now through Jan. 8. The policy will be enforced at the Senator John Heinz History Center, Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, and Fort Pitt Museum.

Some events of interest related to the holidays include:

n Santa at the History Center. Old St. Nick will appear from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 17. On Christmas Eve (Saturday, Dec. 24), Santa will appear from 10 a.m. to noon.

Visitors can take a photo with Santa in an exact replica of the chair from Kaufmann’s Santaland.

n Special Installation Explores Pittsburgh Holiday Traditions

The History Center will showcase artifacts and images throughout its first-floor Great Hall that will explore how Western Pennsylvanians have celebrated major winter holidays, including Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali, and Kwanzaa, through the years.

Visitors can also explore memorable objects from Kaufmann’s Santaland, including Santa’s original chair and giant Mr. and Mrs. Claus ornaments, and see the mailbox where thousands of Pittsburgh children mailed their Christmas wish lists to the North Pole.

n Sports Museum Showcase of new Franco Harris Artifacts

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum has added rare artifacts and historic images to its Super Steelers exhibition that examine the life and career of Franco Harris.

The new installation includes the football from the Immaculate Reception, Franco’s “Italian Army” football helmet, and his Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket, along with other iconic objects that are displayed year-round at the Sports Museum, like the cleats and field turf from the play.

The football is on view through Dec. 24.

n Holiday Shopping for Uniquely Pittsburgh Gifts

The Heinz History Center Museum Shop is a one-stop shop for Pittsburgh gifts from Heinz ketchup pajamas to a new Franco’s Italian Army sweatshirt or other one-of-a-kind gifts for Pittsburgh fans.

Visit or the museum at 1212 Smallman Street daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No museum admission is required to visit the Museum Shop.

n John Kane Exhibition

The exhibit, which details the life and art of an American workman, is open now through Jan. 8. It features 37 works of art from America’s most prestigious museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Carnegie Museum of Art, American Folk Art Museum, and others.

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 History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District. The History Center’s family of museums includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella.

Visit for more information.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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