Exhibitions at the Bost Building

Rivers of Steel is home to an extensive archival collection related to Big Steel and its associated industries. Collections include art, artifact, documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials.

Objects range from massive machinery, such as the 48” Universal Plate Mill currently housed at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, to the smallest ephemera, such as a worker’s pay stub.

In the galleries, guests can explore permanent exhibits on the U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works, the 1892 Homestead Lockout and Strike, and a chronicle of the restoration of this National Historic Landmark, as well as take in temporary exhibits that draw from the resources in the archives.

Gledaj! The Gaze of Maxo Vanka

On display April 20 through October 26, 2023

Presented by the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, in partnership with Rivers of Steel

Croatian artist Maxo Vanka is known to many for his “Gift to America”: the 25 murals painted on the walls of Millvale’s St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church. These one-of-a-kind murals—a tribute to an immigrant congregation and community—are also the dramatic culmination of the artist’s experiences, his vision of justice, and his unflinching gaze at the world around him.

In 2019, Maxo Vanka’s granddaughter, Marya Halderman, and her husband John gifted the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka a treasure trove of original sketches and drawings completed during the artist’s visits to Pittsburgh in 1935 and 1937. The more than 130 works feature sketches of bridges, riverboats, industry, and architecture from the Pittsburgh region as well as preparatory sketches for the murals Maxo Vanka completed at St. Nicholas in Millvale.

This exhibition adds another dimension to our knowledge of Vanka. Where the work in the collection offers a window to the artist’s process on the murals, the pieces on loan show that Vanka was working on many of the themes, portraits, and scenes in the murals across his creative life. He drew inspiration from peasant life and costume, from Catholic liturgy and religious teaching, and from the landscape and architecture of his beloved Croatia. Many of the pieces on loan can be grouped thematically and demonstrate Vanka’s process, his intense concentration, his gaze.

Learn more.

An impressionistic self portrait of a white man in a brimmed hat with a beard and mustache wearing a plaid jacket and blue shirt.

Gledaj! The Gaze of Maxo Vanka

The Restored Rooms

Permanent Exhibition

The Bost Building was built in 1892 as a hotel and served as the temporary headquarters for the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers during the Homestead Lockout and Strike. Two rooms in the building have been restored to the way they looked in 1892, with original floorboards and period reproduction wallpaper. One room tells the story of the Homestead Strike; the other is currently hosting a selection of items previously included in the From the Vault exhibition.


The Homestead Room

Permanent Exhibition

The Homestead Room is a permanent exhibit displaying artifacts and art work specifically related to the Homestead Works. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 23.5′ long model of the Homestead Works that originally stood in the General Office Building of the mill.

Guests in the Battle of Homestead Room

Visitors in one of the restored rooms

Learn more about the events

such as tours, workshops, and festivals happening at each unique attraction.