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About the Museum


The Stephen Foster museum is housed in a 12-sided gothic chamber with stained glass windows designed by Charles Connick that illustrate various Foster songs. In Fall of 2009 we replaced the original, unsecure museum cases with state of the art, preservational quality cases that allow to put a more wide range of original materials on display. On display in the shrine in and around gothic-arched alcoves are exhibits about Foster's life, the types of music he composed over the course of his career, including his minstrel songs and parlor songs, the role of women in Foster's life, and how the music has continued to be used in the years since his death. The exhibits also explore Foster's stance on slavery, myths regarding Foster's life, and why many people find the songs offensive. In the Center of the room is an exhibit on Pittsburgh during Foster's lifetime and the role of slaves and endentured servants in the Foster family's life. The museum's sound system plays several recordings of Foster's songs, in a variety of styles.


In the near future we hope to add a digital display that will allow us to curate exhibits of our digitized materials as well as the work of students and researchers. 


In addition to our physical museum space, we now have detailed virtual tours of our current exhibit.



The Center for American Music is part of the University of Pittsburgh Library System.
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last updated October 20, 2020