Alcoa exhibit extended to the end of July

July 16, 2009

Due to strong interest, the exhibit of Alcoa artifacts from the collections of the Northern Westmoreland Foundation, Alle-Kiski Valley Heritage Museum, and Alcoa Technical Center at Penn State New Kensington has been extended until July 31.

The aluminum items on loan from the Senator John Heinz History Center -- a violin, a dress, playing cards, combs, jewelry, and sculptures -- will be returned to Pittsburgh on July 20, as was originally planned.

The artifacts that remain on display are a part of the 3,000-piece Bonatti Collection. For nearly 40 years, Marilyn Sullivan Bonatti collected an assortment of Alcoa product lines, including Kensington Ware and WearEver. Manufactured in the city of New Kensington, the birthplace of the aluminum industry, the items have been displayed nationwide, most recently in 2001 at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Bonatti currently resides in Florida with her husband, William.

A 15 foot by 25 foot mosaic is the highlight of the pieces from the Alcoa Technical Center. Artist Iris Tiberio created Mosal, a repositionable aluminum mosaic that makes it possible to compose any type of texture and image. An expert engineer in aluminum, Tiberio worked at Alcoa's operations in Fusina, Italy, where she searched for artistic ways to highlight the beauty of the material. The mosaic uses the pointillism style to show a variety of ways in which Alcoa touches the lives of all people.

The Heritage Museum, located in Tarentum, is operated under the auspices of the Alle-Kiski Valley Historical Society, The society’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the history of the region that shaped the worldwide growth of light-metal technology.

The Northern Westmoreland Foundation was founded by Elizabeth Blissell, who was one of the community leaders who petitioned Penn State to establish a campus in New Kensington. The campus library is named in her honor. Headquartered in New Kensington, the Foundation focuses on education and economic development of the region.

The full Heinz History Center collection traces some of the different uses for aluminum. Alcoa promoted sales by experimenting with various aluminum products, including an original dress designed by Oscar de la Renta.

The exhibit is free to the public. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.

For photos of the exhibit, visit online.


  • IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 18, 2010