On this site, I've seen several mentions of the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh as a good attraction in Pittsburgh, but never much of a description. So, I though I'd give my review of my recent visit to the Nationality Rooms so that future researchers on "what to do in Pittsburgh" might get some more info on these fascinating rooms.
The Nationality Rooms are located in the gothic tower of the Cathedral of Learning on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is made up of people of lots of nationalities and these people were invited to create a classroom representative of their culture in the Cathedral of Learning. The first rooms were opened in 1938 and there are now 26 rooms with a few more in the planning stages.
Self-guided audio tours are available daily until 2:30 pm from the visitor's center and gift shop. (There may also be guided tours, but I don't know about these.) The cost is $3 per adult and $1 for ages 8 - 18. You are given a cassette player which describes each room in some detail and a key which you use to unlock and re-lock the room. You are free to spend as much time in the room as you like, looking closely at the artistic and architectural details. (My particular favorite was the stained glass windows of Grimm's fairy tales in the German classroom.) You can sit in the chairs the students sit in and soak up the atmosphere of a Greek temple, a Norwegian home, an Irish oratory or the British House of Commons. I thought these rooms were simply spectacular!
While tours are available daily (except for some holiday closings), it would probably be best to tour, if possible, during the weekend or when school is out because the rooms are actually used as classrooms and you can't tour a room if it's being occupied by a class. Also, my daughter, a student at Pitt, tells me the rooms (and the Cathedral of Learning) are decorated for the holidays during the Christmas season and are even better then. I certainly hope I can make it up there to see them this winter.