Boarding a Tench Class Submarine at the USS Requin

Not every city can boast that they have their own submarine, which makes the USS Requin at the Carnegie Science Center one of Pittsburgh's most unusual attractions (and a personal favorite).

Visitors to this one can explore the submarine as either part of the Carnegie Science Center ticket or with an a la carte ticket in order to learn more about what life was like on a mid-20th century submarine!

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Experience Village Life in the 1800s at Depreciation Lands in Allison Park

The history of the Depreciation Lands is a fascinating one and was a novel solution to a problem that the early United States had after the Revolutionary War.

While the living history museum of the same name in Allison Park covers this unique history, it also takes a look at what life was like in the region in the early 1800s- a time when southwest PA was the wild frontier.

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Mummies of the World at the PPG Science Pavilion for a Limited Time

Since 2018, the Carnegie Science Center has stepped up its exhibit game with the addition of the PPG Science Pavilion. This new wing not only significantly expanded the museum's footprint but also allowed for national and internationally touring exhibitions to make a stop in Pittsburgh.

One such show is Mummies of the World, a touring exhibition focused on all things mummies and mummification!

This exhibit runs from October 2019 to April 2020, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to check it out during a press event a few days before the official opening. In this one, I wanted to share more about what you can see when visiting!

Note: This article contains images of human mummies in various states. A few images could be considered graphic. Likewise, please note that Mummies of the World is a strictly no photography show; however, I was given an exemption during a media preview event for this article.

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The Compass Inn Museum Preserves the 1800s in the Laurel Highlands

You may know a lot of what life was like during the early days of Pittsburgh's history thanks to the forts found nearby and famous battles that took place leading up to the Revolutionary War.

But the period after the war quiets down a fair bit (apart from the brief Whiskey Rebellion) until a few decades later due to the War of 1812. This triggered a rapid increase in iron production, which subsequently became the steel industry, and ultimately modern Pittsburgh as we know it.

One spot in the Laurel Highlands, the Compass Inn Museum, captures the history from this rather calm period, around the turn of the 19th century, and showcases what life was like for those living in (and more appropriately, passing through) southwest Pennsylvania around this time!

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Learning the History of Pontiac’s Rebellion at Bushy Run Battlefield

In the early days of southwest Pennsylvania history, a number of battles ensued for control over the confluence of the three rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh.

You likely know about George Washington's mishap at Fort Necessity in the Laurel Highlands that is considered the start of the Seven Years War. You may also know about the Forbes Campaign that passed through Fort Ligonier in order to capture Fort Duquesne a short time later. But the Battle of Bushy Run during Pontiac's Rebellion may be one you have not heard much of, and if so, a trip to Jeannette, PA, should be on your radar.

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Tour-Ed Mine & Museum Takes an Educational Trip Into a Coal Mine

Virtually everyone knows about Pittsburgh's steel history. You may even know that the city was a big producer of glass and iron as well. But did you know that the area was also a big coal producer too? 

While coal mining was necessary for steel production, there were numerous uses for this bountiful material found in the area- and coal mining boomed for several centuries.

One mine decided to close down in the mid-1900s, despite sitting on a large deposit of coal, and converted the area into an educational museum in order to highlight the history of coal mining in the region. They became the Tour-Ed Mine & Museum, and this spot has been operating educational tours for over 50 years!

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Phipps Conservatory’s Summer Flower Show – Van Gogh in Bloom

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland is one of the pride and jewels of Pittsburgh. Each season the conservatory unveils a new show that features impressive artistic displays as well as unique seasonal flowers that will have you coming back time and time again.

The Summer Flower Show in 2019 is themed “Van Gogh in Bloom” and features some of this master's wonderful works re-imagined with flowers as the medium!

As with previous shows, we do not like to give everything away in our reviews. Instead, we're only featuring a select few of our favorite rooms and are leaving the rest for you to enjoy on your visit!

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Exploring the Historical Jail Museum in Downtown Pittsburgh

If you've spent some time walking around downtown Pittsburgh, odds are good you've seen the old Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. This historical building is one of the most stunning in the city and even includes its own Bridge of Sighs walkway that connected the two buildings.

Today the jail has been decommissioned and converted into a Common Pleas court, yet many artifacts from the era exist and are available on display in the Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.

But if you want to check this one out you'll have to plan accordingly- it is only open from 11:30am to 1pm on Mondays, February to October!

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Visiting the Donora Historical Society and Donora Smog Museum

One of the things we love about the boroughs in southwest Pennsylvania is that many of them have a historical society and museum dedicated to sharing the history of the area.

Some of these, like the Saxonburg Museum, are huge. Others, like the Harmony Museums, are spread out over multiple historical buildings that are all worth exploring.

In Donora, the museum managed by the Donora Historical Society is fairly small. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in sharing the borough's history and the Donora Smog environmental disaster.

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