Virtual Heritage Programs

teeming archival image

Steelworker Oral History Lesson Plan

This lesson features three oral history transcripts detailing first-hand accounts of individuals who worked at J & L Steel in Aliquippa. The oral histories were conducted by Rivers of Steel staff in 2003 and the individuals who agreed to be interviewed discuss their work history and life in the mill spanning from WWII, during the Vietnam War, and on through the decline of the steel industry.

There are reflection questions at the end of each individual transcript as well as summary questions at the end of the readings to guide the reader in comparing and contrasting each persons’ experiences.

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Steelworker Trunk Video

With PPE (personal protective equipment) featured heavily in the news in 2020, have you ever thought about the types of PPE that people wore and still wear in places that produce iron and steel? Join Rivers of Steel Educators, Jenn and T.J. as they demonstrate safety gear for workers dealing with molten metal.

Steelworkers Trunk Video (YouTube)
Jones & Laughlin at Night

Intro to Pittsburgh Steel History

Why was Pittsburgh one of the steel capitals of the world?  Learn more about the geology and geography of Southwestern Pennsylvania and its connection to the natural resources necessary for the production of steel.

Steel History (Google Slides)
archival image of the J&L steel mill from the 1960s

History of the Monongahela River

Highlights of the Monongahela River’s historical and industrial significance. Find out how a lock and dam works, learn about the major steel mills that were located on the Mon, and see the role that the Mon played in major historical events like The Whiskey Rebellion.

Mon River History (Google Slides)
W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop Exterior

W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop. Built in 1900, the shop produced parts for steamboats, coal mines, railroads, and for local businesses. The Machine Shop, as it’s known, received recognition as a National Historic Landmark in 2017.

Machine Shop Program (YouTube)

W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop Virtual Tour Companion Guide

Read more about the history of W.A. Young & Sons and reflect on the importance of twentieth century “Job shops” like W.A. Young as part of the American industrial economy.

W.A. Young Guide (Google Slides)

Book early! Contact us to schedule

a learning experience for your students with Rivers of Steel.