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Westmoreland Historical Society partners with Heinz History Center for Civic Empathy Project | Lifestyles

The Westmoreland Historical Society has partnered with the Smithsonian-affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center and 14 other area museums, libraries and cultural organizations to activate the connection between history and civics.

The Westmoreland Historical Society is proud to join the Civic Empathy Project, part of the History Center’s America 101 civic initiative that was undertaken by the History Center Affiliates Program, which includes more than 125 regional organizations dedicated to preserving the local culture and history.

As part of this pilot project, the Westmoreland Historical Society worked closely with History Center curators and educators to develop physical and virtual exhibits that inspire visitors to develop empathy and take action to strengthen the civic engagement.

The Westmoreland Historical Society exhibit features an engraved silver spoon and pottery shards that were recovered during archaeological digs at Historic Hanna’s Town to explore the history of slavery in Pennsylvania. These small artifacts are used to tell a big, little-known story. In partnership with the Blackburn Center, a QR code allows observers to view human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery.

The Westmoreland Historical Society is also working with the History Center to develop a virtual exhibit on the Google Arts & Culture platform which will launch in 2023.

All exhibit summaries can be viewed at

The Civic Empathy Project is generously supported by a Grable Foundation Tomorrow Grant.

The History Center’s America 101 initiative enables the public to critically engage with contemporary civic issues through exhibits, digital learning, curricula, and public programs.

The Westmoreland Historical Society is the only historical society in Westmoreland with a countywide mission. County history is shared in an effort to show how local stories connect to national and global history. This is accomplished through exhibits, programs, a local history and genealogy library, research services, and the management of Historic Hanna’s Town, a Westmoreland county park with a Wartime period village. partially reconstructed independence listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and Pennsylvania’s largest history museum, showcases American history with a connection to western Pennsylvania. The History Center and Sports Museum is located at 1212 Smallman St. in the city’s Strip district. The History Center family of museums includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in Historic Point State Park, and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Washington County.