Fans of Mister Rogers, the television host who invited viewers to be his neighbors for more than three decades, can visit the old home in a new ‘hood.
The Senator John Heinz History Center today unveiled a collection of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood original show items. The collection includes the entryway and living room set that Mister Rogers walked through as he greeted his television viewers and sang “Won’t you be my neighbor?” at the beginning of every episode.
The exhibit, which opens Friday, boasts the largest public collection of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood relics and a life-size figure of Fred Rogers, sitting on a bench in his home, untying his tennis shoes. Rogers, who died in 2003, was the host and creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001, on WQED in Pittsburgh.
“Though Mister Rogers is gone, he still lives on in our hearts,” said Andy Masich, President and CEO of the Heinz History Center.
The artifacts also include the royal puppet, King Friday XIII’s castle, the Great Oak Tree where Henrietta Pussycat and X The Owl lived, Picture Picture, the interactive display Mister Rogers used to teach his viewers and Mr. McFeely’s “Speedy Delivery” tricycle.
Anne Madarasz, museum division director at the Heinz History Center, is one of the staff members who helped put the collection together. She says she’s happy she played a part in keeping the memory of Mister Rogers, and his message to the world, alive.
“His message always stayed the same, even as the world changed,” Madarasz said. “There’s good in the world and we should be kind to each other.”