For 33 years Mister Rogers entered our homes with his gentle, soft-spoken personality and his positive and affirming messages - and he won our hearts.
Fred Rogers dedicated his life to serving children. His relentless commitment to all that is best in people led to an astonishing array of honors, from induction into the Television Hall of Fame to The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fred was many things. He was an educator, a minister, songwriter, author, and television host. However he is even more well known for his compassion, patience, morality, and advocacy efforts. (If you haven't seen his testimony to the U.S. Senate advocating for government funding for PBS, take 6 minutes and watch him charm a senator into approving a 20 million dollar budget.)
Why Do Pittsburghers Love Mr. Rogers?
Most people in America love Mister Rogers, but as per usual, Pittsburghers do it bigger and better. Why do we have such a strong affinity for Fred Rogers? It begins at home - he was born and raised in Latrobe, Pennsylvania only about 40 miles from Pittsburgh!
In honor of his birthday, tomorrow (March 20) is Mister Rogers Day in Pittsburgh! The Children's Museum is celebrating Mister Rogers' birthday by offering free admission all day. Mr. McFeely will make an appearance, and you can visit the Fred Rogers & Us Exhibit where you can climb aboard the Neighborhood Trolley, put on a puppet show in King Friday's Castle, and view Fred's original and iconic sweater and sneakers.
What if you're not a child but young at heart and want to reminisce? The Heinz History Center has you covered. They are featuring a “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” exhibit in their special collections gallery with the largest collection of original items from the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood television set on public view - including the life-like figure of Mister Rogers wearing his iconic sweater, necktie, khakis, and sneakers. Highlights from the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" installation include:
The entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through to begin each show;
King Friday XIII's Castle;
Great Oak Tree, the residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X The Owl;
Picture Picture, the display that helped Mister Rogers teach children using interactive media;
McFeely's "Speedy Delivery" tricycle; and more!
There are two wonderful and unique places where locals and tourists alike can pay homage to Mister Rogers. Make sure to check out the sculpture of Fred at North Shore Drive (located between Heinz Field and PNC Park) and "Fredasaurus Rex Friday XIII" at 2100 Wharton Street, the location of the Fred Rogers Company offices.
Although most of us have never met Mister Rogers, he has certinally left something of himself with us. As he once said, "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."