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It's an Honor

When you are walking in Oakland, you will find yourself bumping into many tributes to people who have earned the admiration of others. Enough admiration that they commissioned statue, carved a stone, cast bronze plaques, built walls and whole buildings. Who have you seen honored in Oakland?

bullet Who deserves honor?

Look at the Oakland statues, monuments, and memorials below.

Who are each of these tributes dedicated to? Why? What did each person or people do to earn this honor?

Who do you think commissioned these tributes? Why might they have chosen the kind of memorial they did? Why do you think they located their monument in Oakland?

What should a memorial do? What should artists keep in mind when they design a monument or building honoring someone? What makes a good monument or memorial?

1934 postcard of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall on Fifth Avenue. What soldiers and sailors was this monument built to honor? (Collection of Susan Donley)

Famous Pittsburghers have been honored after their deaths: Stephen Foster (top, in front of the Carnegie Music Hall and the Cathedral of Learning) and George Westinghouse (bottom, in Schenley Park).

Non-Pittsburghers have also been honored in our parks: Robert Burns and Christopher Columbus have found their way to Phipps Conservatory. What might be the stories behind these unusal associations?

Galileo and Bach sit at the entrances of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Music Hall. How purposeful was the artists' and architects' choice of eye level?

Industrialists who made their fortunes in Pittsburgh gave back educational buildings so they would be remembered in the future: Mellon Institute and Pitt's Frick Fine Arts Building. How are these honors different than the honors to Pittsburghers above?

Not all tributese are to the rich or famous? Part of Forbes Field's right field wall, a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the U.S. flag, and a memorial plaque in honor of two "adopted" Pittsburghers can also be found in Schenley Park.

Photos: Tom Altany

bullet Who will you honor?

Find out what it takes to create a memorial in Schenley Park or some other public place in our area.

Who would you nominate to be memorialized there? How would you like to remember someone?

Design a memorial and write a proposal for why this person deserves this honor.

Assign a selection committee to judge memorials and present three to the class to vote on. If you feel strongly enough, you might take your honor further and try to actually nominate the memorial, raise funds, and build it!

1915 postcard of Colonel Hawkins' Memorial in Schenley Park (Collection of Susan Donley)

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