Open through September 8, 2024

Note: The Museum is closed Sept 2 – 4, 2024.

How People Make Things tells the stories of how common childhood objects are made by linking them to a process of manufacturing that combines people, ideas and technology to transform raw materials into finished products.

The exhibit is inspired by the factory tour segments from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series.

Hands-on Components

Explore some basic manufacturing processes with these hands-on activities:

  • Operate a die cutter to make a box and a paper horse
  • Cut wax using different sculpting tools
  • Deform a wire by winding it around a metal shaft
  • Match objects to real vintage steel molds
  • Assemble a trolley and gauge your skills on the testing track

Factory tour videos from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series featured in the exhibit depict the making of crayons, carousel horses, balls, stop lights, quarters, shoes, toy cars and toy wagons.

think local

Locally produced products that are featured in How People Make Things include:

  • Toy balls from Hedstrom Plastics (Ashland, Ohio)
  • Cooking pans from All-Clad Metalcrafters (Canonsburg, Pa.)
  • Springs from Diamond Wire Spring Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • An “exploded” bicycle display from Cannondale Bicycle Corp. (Bedford, Pa.)

your support

Pittsburgh has a rich history of making and a wealth of people whose stories are intertwined with this history.

We invite to share your story and tell us about the makers in your life.

Here’s a memory from a member of our staff:

My dad worked in a paper mill, and from as far back as I can remember, he’d draw diagrams to show me how factories like his made milk cartons, newspaper, and glossy magazine paper. I was fascinated by his doodles, and the stories he told me. And when our weekly groceries were loaded into paper bags, I would see the logo of his company and imagine him hard at work making paper. My dad was a person who made things!  

Making a donation to support this exhibit can also provide innovative and interactive learning experiences for doers and makers of all ages and abilities.

Contribute here

How People Make Things was created by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Family Communications, Inc. (FCI), the producer of Mister
Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in
Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE).

Supported in part by: