Mr. Rogers Exhibit Promises Sweet Nostalgia for all of his “Neighbors”
By Elaina Harris
“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” was integral to many childhoods across the United States. It taught children life lessons with its iconic music, puppets, and other characters. Now the Heinz History Center has set out to preserve this classic show with their Mr. Rogers exhibit, which they have placed in their special collections section on the fourth floor of the Center.
According to senior communications manager, Brady Smith, the history center had a previous connection with WQED, the Pittsburgh-based studio, which produced “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” and so they were able to acquire the sets from the show.
Smith also said that the center had planned on getting more artifacts from the show, which brought Pittsburgh native Fred Rogers to the screen, and that they chose “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” because, “We (the center) present American history with a Western PA connection. That’s why Mr. Rogers was a great fit.“
The exhibit incorporates King Friday VIII’s castle, X the owl’s tree, and the living room, which Mr. Rogers entered at the beginning of every episode, as well as displaying some of the fondly remembered puppets and other items from the show. The final touch is a life size wax figure of Mr. Rogers tying his shoes, which sits on the bench from which he tied his shoes in the introductory song from each episode, “It’s a Beautiful Day in This Neighborhood.”
According to Smith, the sets are the originals, as he said, “Many many visitors say, is this the real thing?… It absolutely is. It’s the original set… When people see that that’s what really strikes them.”
“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” affected families across the country, as the lessons included within it taught many young children how to function as they began to enter the real world, and the songs and puppet characters stuck with many people in their memories.
Texas native Karrie Brueck said, “It had some good lessons… and I remember the songs… and I remember some of the characters.”
Pittsburgh resident Ami Moore was also a Mr. Rogers fan as a young girl.
“I loved Mr. Rogers. I enjoyed watching it because I enjoyed the mannerisms and everything and I enjoyed the puppets. I felt welcome; it (the show), made me feel welcome into Mr. Rogers’ world,” she said.
People will be able to see the preserved work of Mr. Rogers for a long time to come. According to Smith, the exhibit is a “permanent exhibit”, which means that the Center has no plans to take it out of the Center at this time or any time in the near future. The continuation of this exhibit at the Center will allow the legacy of Mr. Rogers to live on in the hearts of children and adults for decades to come.
|Senior Citizens (62+)||$14.00|
|Retired and Active Duty Military||$6.50|
|Students with a valid school ID||$6.50|
|Children ages 6-17||$6.50|
|Children ages 5 and under||Free|
|History Center Members||Free|
According to their website, the Heinz History Center offers a variety of prices for different age groups, as well as past or current military and current students. It is open every day from 10A.M. to 5P.M. except for New Year’s Day, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
Music in Video Credit: Jamendo Music Provided “Why Not?” by TON