Where to Get a Taste of the Gilded Age in Pittsburgh
As part of a summer series, T+L is highlighting amazing lesser-known attractions found in the United States. Next up: a trip to the Gilded Age at Pittsburgh's Frick Museum.
The Frick Art & Historical Center—a 22-room mansion, art museum, automobile museum, and reconstructed 1892 greenhouse—lets visitors (not to mention the city's burgeoning millennial populace) take a peek at high-society life during the Gilded Age.
The decorative and fine art collections in this 5.5-acre complex serve as the historical legacy of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family in Pittsburgh. The Fricks bought the property in the late 1880s, and raised their children there until moving to New York City in 1905.
They never sold the Pittsburgh residence, though. In 1908, Helen Clay Frick, the family’s youngest daughter, returned to Pittsburgh for her society debut and spent intermittent time there until her death in 1984, when in honor of her father’s and her own love of collecting art, she left provisions for the property to be converted to the three-museum compound and opened to the public.
Now, visitors can spot works by greats like Claude Monet, early Italian Renaissance paintings, Baroque bronze statuettes, Chinese porcelain, and more among the Frick’s permanent collections. It also hosts rotating exhibitions, which have included a range of exhibits from the Brooklyn Museum’s Killer Heels to Impressionist Edgar Degas’ works on paper.
At the recently expanded Car and Carriage Museum, you’ll find some of the first horseless carriages used in Pittsburgh dating back to the turn of the 20th century. And don’t miss the impeccably restored Clayton house to glimpse further into the lives of the Frick family. For a more in-depth viewing, consider scheduling a tour.
End your visit in the greenhouse and gardens, and, if you're peckish, stop at The Café to enjoy lunch, a cup of tea, or one of the seasonal prix fixe dinners on Friday evenings. All of the food is prepared from scratch on the Frick grounds and many of the vegetables are grown on site.
Keep an eye on The Frick’s online calendar for additional special events, including after-hours networking events, workshops, and classes. During the summer, hit up Summer Fridays at The Frick; food trucks, local bands, and picnickers take over the grounds.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays, the site is open until 9 p.m. Admission is free to the grounds, gardens, the Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, and the Greenhouse. This way for details.