How People Make Things Returning to Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Beloved exhibit will be on display until September 1, 2024

May 13, 2024

Every object in our world has a story of how it is made. How People Make Things, an original exhibit created by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, returns May 18, 2024, to tell that story by linking familiar childhood objects to a process of manufacturing that combines people, ideas, and technology.

How People Make Things, inspired by the factory tour segments from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series, offers hands-on activities using real factory tools and machines to create objects with four manufacturing processes - molding, cutting, deforming and assembly. Many common manufactured products help tell the story of how people, ideas and technology transform raw materials into finished products. 

“This exhibit brings children close to the real stuff, the nuts and bolts of how products are manufactured, which is very easy to feel removed from these days,” says Jane Werner, Executive Director of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. “Through his factory tours, Fred Rogers took complex issues and made them simple and direct so children could understand them and relate them to their own lives. He made manufacturing fascinating and inspirational, and we continue that tradition with How People Make Things.”

Visitors can use a die cutter to make a box and a paper horse; cut wax using different sculpting tools; deform a wire by winding it around the metal shaft; match objects to real vintage steel molds assemble a trolley and test your skills on the testing track.

Factory tour videos from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series featured in the exhibit depict the making of crayons, carousel horses, balls, stop lights, quarters, shoes, toy cars and toy wagons.

Locally produced products featured in How People Make Things include toy balls from Hedstrom Plastics (Ashland, Ohio), cooking pans from All-Clad Metalcrafters (Canonsburg, Pa.); springs from Diamond Wire Spring Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and an “exploded” bicycle display from Cannondale Bicycle Corp. (Bedford, Pa.). 

How People Make Things will be the Museum’s featured attraction this summer along with rotating programs and workshops in the Art Studio and MAKESHOP®. Check out their website for more details and to buy your tickets today.

Since the exhibit’s opening in 2007, How People Make Things has traveled to 40 venues and has been seen by more than 2 million visitors.

How People Make Things was created by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Family Communications, Inc. (FCI), the producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE)The exhibit was made possible with support from the National Science Foundation and The Grable Foundation. 

For more information on the exhibit visit