Cultural conservation is a coordinated approach to protecting the living traditions of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Cultural conservation seeks to promote intercultural awareness and respect, and encourage the appreciation of southwestern Pennsylvania's cultural legacy.
Through living traditions, skills such as metalworking and needlework, and art forms such as instrumental music, song, dance, crafts, and storytelling, are helping to preserve the places and values that have played vital roles in their development. These traditions serve as symbols of identity in many communities and are important sources of local pride.
Rivers of Steel has carried out a documentary study of cultural traditions in Pittsburgh and in many of the surrounding industrial communities which comprise the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
Fieldworkers observed and recorded cultural activities and asked residents for suggestions about conserving the region's heritage. These efforts produced 29 field reports, more than 6,000 slides, 3,500 black-and-white photos and 750 hours of audiotaped interviews. These materials are on file in the Steel Industry Heritage Corporation's archives.