Steel case

Steel Case Mini Exhibits are self-contained, traveling micro exhibitions that highlight southwestern Pennsylvania’s industrial, cultural, and architectural history

Rivers of Steel invites independent curators from a broad range of disciplines to reinterpret our collection of over 250,000 artifacts and artworks housed within the Bost Building.  Each iteration of the case travels to a new public location across Pennsylvania and beyond, generating narratives that harness the power of oral histories, photographs, labor memorabilia, artworks, site plans and much more to cumulatively tell the complex story of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Created from clear acrylic, riveted steel plate and crown molding, the traveling case features adjustable self-lighting capabilities within a modest “open cabinet” style display area designed for indoor public spaces.

Current Exhibition

/ˌseləˈbrāSH(ə)n/

noun:  The action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity

Pittsburgh International Airport (Concourse B)
April 10th, 2019 – September 30th, 2019
Guest Curator: United Hazelwood Design Team

The artifacts enclosed in this cabinet are small souvenirs saved by countless people. The matchbook placed in a pocket or handbag that remains uncovered for decades. Snapshots of community parades at the back of a drawer. A vinyl record made by a favorite local band. These souvenirs of communal experiences are clues to what is and has been important to people in this region. They remind us of the pleasure of listening to music, singing, honoring significant achievements, enjoying an ice cold beer or a cigarette with colleagues, friends and family. We like to think of these mementos as remnants of people coming together.

POLITICS, PROPAGANDA, AND THE STEEL INDUSTRY

Steel Case Mini Exhibit
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Oakland)
September 10th, 2018 – April 30th, 2019
Guest Curator:Alexander Schempf

This installment of the Steel Case examines the cultural climate before, during, and after
WWII to frame the state of the industry and the country that produced the related political
propaganda of the 20th century. The rise of the steel industry ushered in new political ideals to
the American forefront. How these left-wing groups sought to attract industry workers to the
socialist ideology, and how large corporations quelled and attempted to maintain the existing
capitalist working state largely shaped the American political climate of the time. Themes such
as the “common man” and the “greater good” were staples for each side in discrediting the other
and strengthening their own views, yet hidden beneath the corporation’s language was a
continued effort to quell movements that threatened their status. The selection of objects seeks
to illuminate the progression of these interactions from unions, the industry, and popular culture
and how their influence made its way throughout many facets of 20th century America.

POP CULTURE OF THE STEEL INDUSTRY

CHSS Building, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
December 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017
Guest Curator: Ashley Funyak

This installment of the Steel Case examines the cultural climate before, during, and after
WWII to frame the state of the industry and the country that produced the related political
propaganda of the 20th century. The rise of the steel industry ushered in new political ideals to
the American forefront. How these left-wing groups sought to attract industry workers to the
socialist ideology, and how large corporations quelled and attempted to maintain the existing
capitalist working state largely shaped the American political climate of the time. Themes such
as the “common man” and the “greater good” were staples for each side in discrediting the other
and strengthening their own views, yet hidden beneath the corporation’s language was a
continued effort to quell movements that threatened their status. The selection of objects seeks
to illuminate the progression of these interactions from unions, the industry, and popular culture
and how their influence made its way throughout many facets of 20th century America.

Learn more about the events

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