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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Janet Cercone Scullion, Director, at opening of BPHS with Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy
Janet Cercone Scullion, Director, celebrates with her family as Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy officially opens the Bloomfield Preservation and Heritage Society, September 8, 1999

Pittsburgh Pride: Keeping the Next Generation Here

Prompted by concerns over the city of Pittsburgh's loss of population, particularly its young people, the Bloomfield Preservation and Heritage Society decided to use the past of one of the city's oldest neighborhoods -Bloomfield- to help cement a stronger future. Since the 17th century, Bloomfield has been a melting pot of Italian and other ethnic groups, including the original Native Americans who sold their land to William Penn. Bloomfield has been home for four and five generations of families.

Founded in 1991, the Bloomfield reservation and Heritage Society represents the town's rich past and vibrant present by preserving information and artifacts, spreading news of Bloomfield through publications, helping to preserve the community's architectural treasures, and bridging generations by working as an educator of Pittsburgh students. The society believed that by infusing local school children with a sense of community by understanding their roots, the children would better appreciate their neighborhood. From March through June 1999, the society designed and implemented a creative, hands-on education program for 900 students at two local schools, Woolslair Elementary and Immaculate Conception.

The program, Pittsburgh Pride: Keeping the Next Generation Here, introduced students to facets of their hometown with which they were unfamiliar. By focusing on the neighborhood's history, architecture, design and city planning, which involved field trips and special guests, the program provided students with a view of their neighborhood through their predecessors' eyes. Students made illustrated historic maps, some more than 10 feet long, of the neighborhood to show what they were learning. Following the program's successful completion, Phase II of Pittsburgh Pride will involve an inter-generational oral history project conducted by students.

Project documentation comprises a 100-page report, including a guide for building grassroots organizations; photographs; and a video.

Originally submitted by: William J. Coyne, Representative (14th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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