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Take a step back into the Pittsburgh holidays of old

Mary Pickels
| Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Display of Kaufmann's/Macy's holiday artifacts in the Special Collections exhibit, December 2015.
Display of Kaufmann's/Macy's holiday artifacts in the Special Collections exhibit, December 2015.
The 'Thanksgiving Day Parade' window features a boy watching 'Miracle on 34th Street' on Nov. 20, 2013, at Macy's in downtown Pittsburgh.
The 'Thanksgiving Day Parade' window features a boy watching 'Miracle on 34th Street' on Nov. 20, 2013, at Macy's in downtown Pittsburgh.

For so many Pittsburghers, and those visiting over the holidays, the season was not complete without a trip downtown to Kaufmann's (and later, Macy's) department store.

Wandering the floors, all aglow with lights and decorations, clutching shopping (and wish) lists, people marveled at the sights, pressed noses to the windows full of holiday magic and waited in line to see Santa Claus.

The Senator John Heinz History Center is celebrating those cherished memories of generations of families with its new exhibition, "A Very Merry Pittsburgh," featuring original artifacts from Kaufmann's and Macy's and Christmas decorations.

Visitors can ooh and aah over toys including World War I soldiers, an original Slinky, Mrs. Potato Head, Barbie, Easy-Bake Oven, Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots and a Red Ryder BB gun (like Ralphie pines for in "A Christmas Story.")

Visitors can see giant Mr. and Mrs. Claus ornaments from Kaufmann's, its Santaland mailbox, where thousand of Pittsburgh children mailed their Christmas lists to the North Pole; original costumes and float materials from the Macy's holiday parade in Pittsburgh, and visit St. Nick in an exact replica of his original chair from Kaufmann's from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day through Christmas Eve.

The exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 15 and is included with admission of $16; $14 for seniors, and $6.50 for ages 6-17.

Details: 412-454-6000 or heinzhistorycenter.org

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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