History Center's 'Dog Jack' exhibit winds down

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Young visitors will have their last chance to pose with "Dog Jack" on Jan. 5.

That's when the "Pennsylvania's Civil War" exhibition closes at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

Dog Jack was the mascot for a company of Pittsburgh firefighters who joined the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry. The life-sized sculpture of the canine is one of six models of historic figures that are part of the museum's sesquicentennial exhibit. Others depicted include abolitionist leader Martin Delany and Col. Strong Vincent, one of the heroes at Gettysburg.

Wounded twice, Dog Jack was traded for a Southern prisoner of war after he was captured by Confederates. He disappeared before the end of the war, mostly likely killed by someone looking to steal his silver collar.

Visitors to the 9,000-square-foot history center show also will see a full-size reproduction of a 20-inch Rodman cannon. The original of the 26-foot-long artillery piece was cast in 1864 at the Fort Pitt Foundry. That 19th-century manufacturing plant was located on the banks of the Allegheny River, just across Smallman Street from the history center.

In addition to the cannon, the exhibit features more than 150 artifacts, many borrowed from a variety of places including the Smithsonian Institution, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Civil War Museum and private collections.

Visitors also can walk along a recreation of a Pittsburgh street in 1863, a time when the city prepared for a Confederate invasion.

Admission to the exhibit is part of regular history center admission at $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 62 and older, and $6 for students and children. More information about the exhibit is at the museum website, www.heinzhistorycenter.org/civil war/.

A smaller touring version of the "Pennsylvania's Civil War" exhibit will travel to museums and other places affiliated with the history center over the next two to three years. Plans call for the show ultimately to make as many as 40 stops throughout the state.

-- Len Barcousky

First Published December 26, 2013 12:01 AM

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