Fallingwater Exhibition on the Kaufmann Family and their Legendary Department Store Opens June 24

Thu, Jun 16th 2011, 08:56. Filed under News Releases.

Pittsburgh, Pa. – June 15, 2011 – Kaufmann’s department store was an illustrious Pittsburgh treasure. Fallingwater will celebrate the history of the Kaufmann family and their legendary enterprise in an exhibition titled, “Kaufmann's: Pittsburgh Purveyor of Culture” at Fallingwater’s Visitors Center, June 24 through August 28.

A cutaway drawing from a Fortune Magazine article published in 1941 showing the eleven floors of the Kaufmann’s Department Store in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. Photo courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

The exhibition includes rare merchandise purchased from Kaufmann’s flagship showroom and photos of the legendary department store known as “The Big Store.” Visitors can view the exhibition with an $8 grounds pass or house tour admission. The exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Wednesdays. The exhibition is presented by Macy’s and is supported by the Buncher Family Foundation.

“Kaufmann’s department store is an important part of the story of Pittsburgh. Its impact was huge,” said Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater’s director and vice president of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “There are many people from the Western Pennsylvania region who can remember visiting the department store. As remarkable as the department store was, the Kaufmann family story is just as extraordinary. The exhibition documents the life of the Kaufmann family as well as the merchandise sold in the store.”

At the center of Pittsburgh's consumer culture was the Kaufmann's store located at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street. The store's eleven floors of retail made it a hub of commercial activity. However, it also fostered public education, where people could attend free exhibitions and lectures on a myriad of contemporary topics. The store was a showcase of beautiful things and a treasure-house of goods and experiences that taught shoppers about the world.

In its heyday during the first half of the twentieth century, Kaufmann's served as a social and cultural center. With over a million square feet of space, Kaufmann’s offered “everything under the sun” and at one point housed a hospital, a Carnegie Library branch, eight restaurants including Tic Toc, a hardware store, an art gallery and an Elizabeth Arden salon.

Justin Gunther, curator, buildings and collections, said, “Edgar Kaufmann was devoted to using the store as a way of shaping the cultural fabric of Pittsburgh. With the 75th anniversary of Fallingwater, we thought an exhibition of the store and the Kaufmann family would be a great way to celebrate this important milestone.”

Fallingwater is located on PA Route 381 between the villages of Mill Run and Ohiopyle, approximately 1.5 hours from downtown Pittsburgh. For more information, visit www.fallingwater.org. Reservations to tour Fallingwater can be obtained online at https://tickets.fallingwater.org/ or by calling (724) 329-8501.
Photos with credits have been made available for media use at: http://goo.gl/khJ7i


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved over 230,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa. that symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:
Eric Sloss
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
(412) 586-2358