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Rivers of Steel announces the launch of Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation's active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2015. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families. The program also provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation's cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move. The complete list of participating museums is available at this link.


Rivers of Steel is providing special military member discounts during the Blue Star Museums project:


BOST BUILDING TOUR - FREE admission for every active duty military member and FREE admission for up to 5 of their family members for the Bost Building museum exhibit.


CARRIE BLAST FURNACES TOUR - FREE admission for every active duty military member and a 50% discount for up to 5 of their family members.


As the only extant iron making facility of the nation, we invite you to visit both the historic Bost Building and the Carrie Furnaces where iron and steel made America the "Workshop of the World."  


Complete tour schedules available through this link.  

The Round 20 Rivers of Steel Heritage Area Mini-Grant Program is designed to fund projects that sustain Rivers of Steel's sense of place through heritage preservation, interpretation, cultural, and recreational assets of the region. Grants range from $2,500 to $15,000 and require a 1:1 match [in-kind (pre-approved) or cash required].


Eligible applicants: Non-profit organizations with 501(c) 3 status, municipalities, counties, and academic institutions. Projects must be located in one of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland.


Formal deadline for application submission is Friday, July 31, 2015. Award recipients will be announced Fall 2015, with projects to be completed by December 31, 2017.


Submit applications electronically to Jeff Leber ( Paper applications will not be accepted.


This link provides further information, access to the 2015 Mini-Grant Packet and other related materials.   


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  eventsEVENTS with RIVERS of STEEL 

2PM to 5PM at the Carrie Furnaces in Rankin, PA

This event introduces the public to Carrie's wild gardens and celebrates the achievement of all who helped with the process. It is FREE and open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 per attendee. Combined tours of the garden and the historic site will be provided.

Iron Garden Walk - Photo by Ron Baraff

Tours will be run on the half hour from 2PM to 5PM and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please join us in celebration of the Carrie Furnaces Iron Garden Walk, a wonderful new addition to the historic Carrie Furnaces site and learn more about our heritage and indigenous ecology.
FREE Public Workshop 
Saturday, June 27  
Carrie Furnaces

Join us at the Carrie Furnaces for a free public workshop of the new Eco-Opera - A New Kind of Fallout. Set to Gilda Lyon's music, the story of this new American opera introduces a typical Pittsburgh family thrown into conflict by the environmental warnings issued in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, its themes of stewardship and renewal, and the resounding impact on of these issues on one family and their unborn child.


Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is also presenting Carrie Blast Furnaces tours before the workshop. These special tours begin at 4:00 PM and the $10 tour tickets can be purchased in advance through our webstore.


A New Kind of Fallout workshop will begin at 6PM and features excerpts by the cast members of the July world premiere. A discussion with cast members and librettist Tammy Ryan will be led by Artistic and General Director Jonathan Eaton after the opening presentation.  


A delicious selection of food, craft beer and retro cocktails will be available for purchase from Blue Dust beginning at 4:30PM.


For more information about A New Kind of Fallout or

to make reservations for free lawn seating at the workshop, please visit this link.




Rivers of Steel is excited to offer public iron casting workshops this summer. Casey Westbrook of Detroit's CARBON ARTS will be lending his expertise in iron casting as visiting instructor for this exciting opportunity. Workshops include 3 full days of instruction with an optional pattern workshop on Thursdays. Workshops are appropriate for adults and children over 12 years old and ...require absolutely no prior knowledge of iron casting! 


If you're a regional artists or metal enthusiast interested in learning this unique process, this workshop is the perfect introduction for those new to the craft. You'll learn the basic processes of iron cast sculpture-patternmaking, 

mold making, casting and finishing, through an intensive three-day weekend workshop.  


While learning all these foundational skills, every participant will complete their own unique singular work professionally cast in solid iron!


Workshop:  July 31 - August 2
(Thursday, July 30 optional pattern workshop)
Friday 5 - 7 PM, Saturday and Sunday 10 AM - 4 PM


Click here for more information.    Register for the workshop at this link. 

STEEL CITY SOLIDARITY - Through June 30th    

Pump House, Munhall, PA  


Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is proud to present the first installment of photographic works exploring the present labor culture from the multi-part documentary series Citizens of Industry, by writer/documentarian Andy Prisbylla. We invite you to explore the Steel City Solidarity exhibition at the Pump House at the Waterfront during the month of June.


Standing up to UPMC rally, Pittsburgh, PA 2013 - Photo by Andy Prisbylla

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has one of the richest labor histories in this country, and is the perfect place to examine the subjects of worker solidarity, organized labor and community culture. Utilizing in-depth interviews, essays and photo documentation, Andy Prisbylla's Steel City Solidarity explores the current state of labor activism and tradition in one of the strongest union towns in the United States. This photo exhibit displays 24 images chosen from the Citizens of Industry archive. 


OUR RIVERS: The Allegheny River  

 NEW in 2015 - Free Educational Video Program Online  


The Allegheny River, our most recent addition to the Our Rivers: Yesterday and Today Series, is now available free online for educational use. Our Rivers: Yesterday and Today is a free online educational video and resource material program designed in response to area educators' requests for additional classroom resources after having participated with their students in the Pittsburgh Gateway Clipper Rivers of Steel Tour.  


The Allegheny River

The Allegheny River, designated a US Wild and Scenic River, demonstrates prime examples of  conservation, water trails, and riparian efforts such as those of the Allegheny Islands Wilderness Area. Our program opens at the Kinzua Dam and introduces students to the important history of the river and headwaters. Moving closer to Pittsburgh, the recreational and conservation aspects are joined by commercial cargo transport through the river's Locks/Dams as we engage the increasing industrial, commercial, and residential features. Traveling downriver toward the Point, the Allegheny River becomes a highly active community of growing revitalization. Parkways, greenways and projects-in-development are designed to best preserve the valuable harmony of riverfront attributes combining our ecological systems, commerce and economic development. Narration of the program is provided by Dr. Charles McCollester, Retired Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Senator Jim Ferlo.  


Funding provided, in part, by National Park Service,  

Port of Pittsburgh Commission and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

The Allegheny River Program
The Allegheny River educational package and video are available for educational use from our website at this link.
The Monongahela River Program
First in the Our Rivers Series, The Monongahela River program, is available for educational use from our website at this link.
NBC's Filming of Elimination Rounds
held at Carrie Furnaces


NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," a spinoff of the Japanese television series "Sasuke," transformed the Carrie Furnaces into a full-scale competition battleground on May 22-23. This popular NBC challenge series constructed an elaborate obstacle course at the historic site for the overnight filming of elimination episodes for the Las Vegas finals and $500,000 finalist prize.


American Ninja Warrior course construction at Carrie Furnaces - Photo by Ron Baraff

The amazing obstacle course of this popular challenge required 5 days of construction on the Carrie Furnaces site and another 2 days to dismantle after the filming. Audience members that had garnered complimentary tickets to the live filming through the production company drawing cheered their favorite participants through the obstacle course lit by roving spotlights against the backdrop of the glowing Carrie Furnaces. "American Ninja Warriors" opened its seventh season debut on May 25. The Pittsburgh-filmed episode will air on June 22 at 8:00 PM EST. 


Read more about the series here.
 toursTOURS with RIVERS of STEEL    

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
FREE Routes to Roots Online Directory

Discover the cultural and industrial heritage of Southwestern Pennsylvania with our new online directory of must-see sites, inspiring events and great things to do and explore - all at your fingertips in
Rivers of Steel's Routes to Roots!


Browse the directory by routes, towns and interests to find festivals, unique eateries, historic landmarks, museums, art galleries, architectural marvels, natural wonders, and a host of activities for family fun, year-round vacations or just a great night out!


From the Youghiogheny Station Glass Gallery, home of the beautiful Youghiogheny Opalescent Glass housed in the former Pittsburgh & Erie Railroad Station, to blue-grass performances at the Brodhead Cultural Center, to historical wonders such as the restored railroad and trolley memorabilia of the Mars Station, the Casino Theater of Vandergrift, to the ghost tours of Nemacolin Castle - you'll find the perfect get-away destination at Routes to Roots.


Looking for new and exciting things to do this summer?

Plan a day, an evening or a week exploring our Southwestern Pennsylvania attractions. Great ethnic dining, backpacking the trails, touring historic landmarks, shopping for arts and crafts or taking the kids to an outdoor festival - tailor your search to build your own getaway! Plan your own road trip through the wonderful sites, experiences and historic sites designed for your personal interests and geographic areas. Use the Tour Routes selection to design an historic adventure following one of the 5 heritage routes - Ohio-Beaver, Alle-Kiski, Three Rivers, Monongahela and Youghiogheny. 


Rivers of Steel's new Routes to Roots online directory is your free resource to explore the history, culture and places that made Southwestern Pennsylvania the gateway to the world!    


US Steel/American Bridge-Iron Worker's Hard Hat
Tom Franko Collection
Fridays at 10 AM - June, July and August

Saturdays at 10 and 11 AM - May through October

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the hard hat, Rivers of Steel is offering a special general admission price of $19.15 on guided tours!

"In 1915, my grandfather began work on a helmet that could protect miners from falling objects. He based it on the doughboy, a helmet he'd worn as a soldier in World War I," said Edward D. Bullard, CEO and president of the E. D. Bullard Company. 
Read the history of the hard hat at this link.

Tour the Carrie Blast Furnaces at the former U. S. Steel Homestead Works the and learn the real work behind the iron-making process from steelworkers who ran the furnaces at the Workshop of the World.  

TOURS - July 25, August 22, and September 19


Steel history, an iron blast furnace tour, pierogies and a cookie table - how can you resist? 

Explore the magical mix of immigrants and industry that made Pittsburgh the steel-making capital of the world! The tour includes:

A fully guided tour of the awe-inspiring Carrie Blast Furnaces -be sure to have your camera for capturing the history of steel!

An interactive presentation about the global impact of Pittsburgh steel manufacturing, Pittsburgh's unique steel history and personal stories of what it was like to work in the iron and steel mills of Steel Country. After our demonstrations of safety gear, you can don the full blast furnace safety suit (shown here at our recent Festival) and snap a few photos!   

A tour of the Historic Pump House, site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead
- including Andy Prisbylla's STEEL CITY SOLIDARITY exhibit!

Your tour concludes with a delicious lunch featuring regional favorites such as stuffed cabbage rolls, pierogies and the beloved cookie table!

Who doesn't love the cookie table?
Courtesy of Iron Oven
Tours will begin at 10 AM at Station Square
(transportation is provided).

A portion of the proceeds benefits Rivers of Steel National heritage Area.



1st Wednesday of the month at 6PM - May through October

Thank you to all our patrons who have made Happy Hour with Carrie such a popular event! Join us on July 1 for a new one-hour tour followed by a great brew at The Brew Gentlemen!

Each month we will offer a  different one-hour tour uniquely designed for each month's guests that will highlight a segment of this historic iron facility, then wrap up with a cold brew at one of our local partners: Blue Dust,  The Brew Gentlemen and Voodoo Brewery Homestead. The tour includes presentations of newly added artifacts, deeper exploration of the activities of this globe-spanning industry, and its impact on the historic and economic development of Pittsburgh.  
Ticket price is $20 and includes your hour-long Carrie Furnaces Tour, beginning at 6PM, plus one brew at one of our local partner's establishments.
More details available through this link.

What better place to expand your photographic skills than the uniquely photogenic and inspiring Carrie Furnaces! Our new Carrie Furnaces Photo Safari and Workshop Tour combines a tour of the Carrie Furnaces, a photography workshop, and a photo safari through this historic site. A technique critique session is also available to complete your workshop session. 
Ivette Spradlin, a Cuban-American photographer, video artist, and educator is our instructor for this three-hour experience. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, and her Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has shown her work nationally and internationally, and has taught photography and digital imaging at colleges and universities in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.


2014 Photo Safari Tour -
Carrie Furnace Photos on Blogspot

Carrie Furnaces Photo Safari with Workshop:

Saturday, August 8 & Sunday, August 9

Saturday October 17 & Sunday, October 18


Carrie Furnaces Photo Safari:

Sunday, July 19 & Saturday, September 12

More information on Photo Safari Tours and Workshop options HERE.
 Tickets available at ShowClix.
Previous tour photo viewing here.
W. A. Young and Sons Foundry and Machine Shop
Summer Sunday Tours - Noon to 4PM

Owned and operated by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, the W.A. Young and Sons Foundry and Machine Shop is a prime example of America's industrial heritage. William A. Young, owner and operator of the business built the Machine Shop in 1900 with lumber from the family farm.  In 1908, the shop expanded to include the foundry.  The other major change to the shop occurred in 1928 when  electrical service was installed.  All of the equipment dates from 1870 to 1920.  


Located at 116 Water Street, Rices Landing, PA,
For reservations, contact George Blystone at 724-710-4898


View the W.A. Young and Sons Machine Shop and Foundry 
Photo Book at Storehouse.

Fillins, King, Fat Caps, Pieces...learn about these graffiti terms and more during a special Urban Art Tour and Workshop at the Carrie Furnaces. Dive into the underground culture of graffiti, its history and how it continues to evolve today as an art form.      


Led by Shane Pilster of 82 Conceptsthe tours will walk you through the entire site, highlighting works while encouraging open discussion about graffiti as a whole. The workshops give our guests a hands on experience with design, letter form, specific techniques, and painting with aerosol. A great idea for students grades 4 and up!


For more details follow this link.
A RUST BELT Culinary Tour
SATURDAY - June 20

In the early 1900s, the Steel Valley of Homestead, Munhall, and Braddock was home to immigrants from around the globe.These thriving towns, once dotted with retail shops, bakeries, backdoor gardens and many a beer hall, fell silent in the 1980s when the mills closed, but now are a part of the Pittsburgh-area renaissance. Guests will visit a renovated church hall, a modernized mill bar, and other revamped treasures of the still gritty mill towns to savor culinary delights that reflect the region's rich heritage as well as its now trendy rustbelt cuisine! This four-hour shuttled culinary tour provides more than enough food for a meal plus other surprises!


The tour was created by Mary Miller, owner of The Fork and the Road, LLC, a regional culinary tour company in partnership with Pittsburgh Tours & More, a division of the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, and in collaboration with the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.


Tickets available through ShowClix 



It is with deepest regret that we share the news of the passing of our dear friends Anna Marie Sninsky and Manuel "Manny" Stoupis. We extend our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones for their loss. As uniquely inspiring individuals of community spirit, they will be greatly missed.


Carnegie Museum of Art graduate and both member and former Executive Director of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Mrs. Sninsky was a highly talented and diverse artist whose works are included in many private and public collections. Among her many notable awards, Mrs. Sninsky's "Romeo and Juliet" was presented as a gift to the President of France by our State Legislature and the People of Pennsylvania upon his visit to America during our country's bicentennial. She served on the first Board of Directors for the Friends of the Carnegie Library and also as Grant Writer, raising over three million dollars for this historically significant facility's restoration. Mrs. Sninsky was involved early as a Rivers of Steel volunteer and community leader, and was also a founding member of the Steel Valley Arts Council. Her beautiful works in oil and acrylics often featured elements of Pittsburgh's present cityscapes and historic landmarks.


Mr. Stoupis began his employment as a part-time millworker in his junior year of high school and was employed for 38 years with U.S. Steel, National Tube Works, through his retirement from the rolling mill department. During his employment he served his fellow workers as Vice President of $1408 Steelworkers Union, Chairman of the Grievance Committee and as a member of the Health and Safety Committees. With a Master's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, he was a 50 year member of the Mathematical Association of America. Manny was a generous member of his community, a strong advocate for his fellow coworkers and a vital supporter of the men and women who created the industrial heritage of our area. Manny was one of Rivers of Steel's most entertaining volunteers.

We will miss Anna Marie and Manny.
SHARE YOUR STORY: The Centennial Project Contest
FIND YOUR PARK - National Park Service Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The Centennial Project is a contest to find and celebrate the top 100 Find Your Park stories submitted on Browse the online gallery for inspiration, then share what a park is to you in whatever way you think best: a song, a photo, a painting, a poem, a dance, a video - anything you want. You can also use #FindYourPark on Twitter or Instagram.


The five Grand Prize Winners will have their story inspire one of our Centennial Ambassadors to create a project of their own and also receive:
  • 2 VIP tickets and travel to the ultimate Centennial celebration
  • 2 Yearly National Park passes
  • An unforgettable REI Adventures fully guided weekend getaway for 2 to one of America's classic national parks
  • A Subaru adventure kit, including a limited-edition Subaru national parks Pendleton* blanket, a Yakima SkyBox 16 LTD, and a $500 Subaru gear gift card
  • Coleman® Tenaya Lake™ 6P Fast Pitch Cabin
  • 1 Find Your Park gear prize package
    *DISCLAIMER: Pendleton Woolen Mills, creators of the historic National Parks Blanket.
 The Find Your Park campaign is as exciting and diverse as the many variations of heritage sites, iconic natural destinations, urban sites and national parks spanning America. Within western Pennsylvania, it's an easy drive to the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site and the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area - just a few of the NPS destinations brimming with opportunities for you to explore history, marvel at natural and historic beauty, and join in countless community activities.  
Get ready for your own journey through our nation's parks, heritage sites  
and natural wonders and then SHARE YOUR STORY! 
ALLOY PITTSBURGH 2015: Introductions to the Artists

An exciting and eclectic mix of regional artists has been selected for Alloy Pittsburgh 2015! A
unique visual and performing arts initiative developed and administered by the Kipp Gallery at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Rivers of Steel Heritage Area, the program is conceived as an incubator where 15 regional artists from the region benefit from peer support and enhanced curatorial assistance. After being selected, artists participate in a laboratory where they initiate parallel conversations with the site during a week-long research residency. Following the residency, artists will finalize their plans and begin work on their respective projects. 


Visit Alloy Pittsburgh 2015 for more about the program as well as artist statements and biographies of this year's artists. We'll be highlighting the artists monthly and providing updates on the development of this amazing program through the next months. Explore these Alloy Pittsburgh 2015 artists through their following links:


Oreen Cohen

"As an observer and explorer, I draw insight from my surroundings by unpacking the embedded meanings, histories, and identities of place. By excavating incidental fragments of the built environment, I examine the psychological and physical ruins left behind by industrial decline. I am curious about how the residue of our histories culminate into our understanding of self and site."

Photo: Shibbolet: Installation View by Oreen Cohen




Sharon Massey

 "I am drawn to the crowded streets and alleyways, and the rich patchwork of brick, paint, siding, and architectural details like smokestacks and chimneys that are scattered like monuments around the region. I use steel and other metals to meticulously recreate the essence of these details, paying homage to the blue-collar past in both materials and labor."

Photo: Streetview Series by Sharon Massey 



  Lenore Thomas

"Through my sketches, Photoshop experimentation, and color choices, I translate the landscapes into basic shapes and forms creating a flat, geometric interpretation of the original photograph. The flexibility of printmaking fosters this investigation; through multiple plate etchings and screen printing, I can build an image with a dozen or more layers in one piece. I am interested in the tension between the flat colors I choose and the sense of space and perspective created by the abstracted forms." 
Photo: This sunrise is like being in love (1)  by Lenore Thomas  



Our thanks to the artists, performers, vendors and patrons that made the inaugural Rivers of Steel National Heritage Festival a resounding success! Kettle corn, pysanky eggs, Celtic music, workshops and demonstrations..from hand pies to history, there was something new and exciting at every turn!   
Be sure to watch the Rivers of Steel website for the upcoming listing of the autumn festival and thank you all for joining us in celebrating the history and heritage of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
Available online and at our gift shop

Pittsburgh and the State of Pennsylvania:

Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know by Kate Boehm Jerome


Getting ready for summer vacation with the family? Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know is a great addition to your personal library and a fun introduction to the exciting and important history of the Pittsburgh region! Taking a tour of our historic sites or planning a summer excursion, introduce the kids to amazing facts about our region with a trivia game of:


What huge discovery was unveiled in 1907 at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History?  


Which letter was officially ordered out of Pittsburgh's name from 1891 to 1911?


Find these answers and more in Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know - an interesting little book about a very special place on the planet! AVAILABLE at our Gift Shop or online HERE.  


Statewide Conference on Heritage: July 8-10, 2015 - Harrisburg    


"Bring your modernist mojo, since this year we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the State Museum and Archives."  


Rebirth on the Monongahela River 

"For those who love the mighty Monongahela River -- affectionately known as "The Mon" -- it being named "Pennsylvania River of the Year" in 2013 was just the beginning. The 130-mile-long waterway, the historic small towns along its banks and the Mon River Valley as a whole are fast becoming a hub for recreation and tourism."
Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards 


"Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards continue a tradition started in 1979 to honor excellence in preservation. The annual awards recognize significant contributions in the field of historic preservation made by both individuals and organizations."

READ MORE here  


As a MEMBER of  Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, you can make a difference in preserving our cultural heritage, natural resources, recreational amenities and assist in economic development of our region. Membership benefits also include: 

*   10% discount in the gift shop 

*   FREE exhibit admission

*    INVITATIONS to members-only events and programming

*   2 COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS  to our Carrie Furnaces Tour!

      for Supporting Members and above


Thank you for supporting the efforts of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area!