Student Programs

Steel Worker Traveling Trunk

The Steel Worker Traveling Trunk helps deepen the understanding of the steel workers daily work experience and dangers they faced in the production of molten steel.  It is designed to expose children to a four-part, multi-faceted look at steel making.  Children are invited to explore this exciting subject matter through observation-based discussions, hands-on contact with the natural resources use in making steel, steel worker clothing and protective gear, and a creative personalized project.

Mobile Sculpture Workshop

The Mobile Sculpture Workshop, a community outreach program of The Industrial Arts Cooperative, is a summer workshop aimed at sharing the techniques of safe and proper welding and metal fabrication while producing a large-scale sculpture for public display. The Industrial Arts Co-op is looking for qualifed students with recommendations from local sponsors.  Click here to learn more. 

Folk Artists in the Classroom

Traditional artists bring more to the classroom than just art–they also share language, culture, and customs.  From Italian bobbin lace makers to Native American beadworkers and African American tap dancers, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area can provide you with a list of traditional artists who will enhance your curriculum and help you meet your educational standards.  Plus, it's fun!  Funding is available to bring artists into the schools.

Folklorist Residencies

Folklorist residencies focus on contemporary, living traditions, authentically transmitted within a cultural group. Regional cultural specialists collaborate with teachers in designing and implementing hands-on activities with teachers, students and the community.Residencies last 5 or more days and include teacher inservice workshops and hands-on activities with core groups. Folklorist residencies often also include visiting community folk artists and tradition bearers and students involved in fieldwork. Schools can coordinate folklorist residencies with other projects and artist residencies to provide the conceptual framework for multi-cultural understanding.

Folk and Traditional Artist Referrals

Looking for community folk artists and tradition bearers from the diverse cultural groups living in southwestern Pennsylvania? Rivers of Steel's Department of Cultural Conservation has conducted ethnographic surveys of many Southwestern Pennsylvania communities and identified some of the many folk artists and tradition bearers of the region. Community resource people can be involved in your school in interviews, visits, performances, demonstrations or multi-day artist residencies.

Folk Artist Training

Workshops to prepare regional folk artists to present and involve students in interactive traditional arts activities are conducted regularly.

Reference Library

Rivers of Steel is creating a reference collection of folklife education resources. The collection includes: classroom activities and curricular materials, profiles of model programs and publications of various groups' traditions.

To learn more about any of these programs, call 412-464-4020 or email



Our Rivers: Yesterday and Today

Our Rivers
The story of the Monongahela River is one of our nation’s history, our industrial revolutions and one of the men and women whose labors, previously and presently, earned the Monongahela River the title of “Ruhr” – The River of Sweat.

The Monogahela: River of Dreams, River of Sweat

The history of the hardest working river in America.