Preserving Your History

This four-part online lecture series from Rivers of Steel provides skills and resources to help you become the at-home historian and genealogist you’ve always wanted to be!


Session 1: What Are Archives, and What Archival Resources Are in Pittsburgh?

Session 2: How Do Professionals Preserve Artifacts, and How Can I Preserve at Home?

Session 3: How do I Effectively Use Archives and How do I Conduct Research?

Session 4: How do I conduct and collect oral histories?

About Rivers of Steel

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of southwestern Pennsylvania’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions—offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more.

About the Presenters

Ron Baraff

Mr. Ron Baraff is a Pittsburgh native who has been in his current position as the Director of Historic Resources and Facilities for the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, in Homestead, PA, since 1998. He supervises the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area Archives and Museum, Interpretive and Tourism Programming, and Historic Sites – including the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark site in Rankin/Swissvale, the Battle of Homestead site/Pump House in Munhall, the National Historic Landmark Bost Building in Homestead, and the National Historic Landmark W.A. Young and Sons Machine Shop and Foundry in Rices Landing, PA. Mr. Baraff has worked on a variety of public history projects including many national and international documentaries.

Ryan Henderson

Growing up almost exactly on the border between Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Ryan has been a native of Southwestern PA his entire life, moving to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh and later earning a Masters in Public History at Duquesne University. While finishing school in 2015, Ryan began working for Rivers of Steel as a part-time site manager at the Carrie Furnaces, and has since become Historic Site Coordinator and Interpretive Specialist for the organization. In the course of his work, Ryan has overseen events and operations at Carrie, worked extensively in the Archives, designed exhibits in the Bost Building, prepared interpretive information for the public, and worked on numerous other projects at Rivers of Steel’s various sites.

Kirsten Paine

Dr. Kirsten Paine is Site Management Coordinator and Interpretive Specialist at Rivers of Steel. In addition to her Rivers of Steel public history work and research in 19th-century industrial labor, Dr. Paine specializes in 19th-century American women writers. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 where she wrote her dissertation, “Not According to the Regulation of War”: Intimate Civil War Writing by Female Nurses, Soldiers, and Spies. She is currently revising the manuscript into a book.