The Pittsburgh Tattoo Art Museum is Shadyside’s hidden gem

Last updated on April 6, 2022 by Jeremy

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You know we’re fans of quirky museums in Pittsburgh, and when the Pittsburgh Museum of Tattoo Art in Shadyside opened in early 2022, we had to go there right away.

This little museum in a somewhat hidden tattoo parlor is everything we look for in offbeat exhibits, namely a wonderfully curated selection on a subject we don’t know much about and curated by extremely passionate Pittsburghers.

So, if you want to dive into the world of tattoos, this is the one for you.

What you can see at the Pittsburgh Tattoo Museum

The Pittsburgh Tattoo Museum includes about six exhibits on the public side of the tattoo parlor and features a rotating selection of items from the collection of artists Nick Ackman and Jill Krznaric (who you’ll likely find in the back working on tattoo designs ) .

Tattoo Artist Profile - William Moore

For the inaugural exhibits, we found profiles of tattoo artists from the early 1900s with biographies, historical tattoo designs (all revolving around traditional American style), early tattoo machines, and more. These have been well organized so that you can spend time reading about a specific tattoo artist, learning how they got into tattooing, taking a look at their work and seeing other themed memorabilia from the tattoo artist. era.

Many of these artists are also featured in books written by Nick Ackman through his independent publishing house, Blue Letter Books. These books are also on display for visitors to peruse or purchase a copy of and complement the exhibit well in providing a solid overview of a subset of tattoos.

Tattoo books written by Nick Ackman

If you’re lucky and the artists aren’t busy, you can probably talk to them a bit about the exhibit, the tattoo, etc. I was lucky enough to catch Nick with some down time and was able to learn more about his interests in tattooing, how his collection came to be, his many books and why to have exhibits like these- this is so important to preserve the history of art. Really, this conversation made the experience that much better as I just didn’t know much about tattooing to begin with and he was more than happy to fill in the gaps.

Display selection at the Pittsburgh Tattoo Art Museum

Perhaps the biggest reveal of the discussion was that the memorabilia on display is only a small fraction of what Nick has in his collection, which I now hope will be rotated in and out of exposure over time. Pittsburgh residents sharing their collections with the city always make for a wonderful exhibit, and this one is no exception.

Display selection at the Pittsburgh Tattoo Art Museum

So while you might not spend a lot of time visiting the Pittsburgh Museum of Tattoo Art, as the space isn’t the biggest, it’s worth a quick stop to find out. a little more about the unique art style and talk to the artists whose passion for craftsmanship shows up everywhere you look, not just on paper but also on skin!

The Pittsburgh Tattoo Art Museum is located at 5413 A Walnut Street in Shadyside. Look for the signs as this one is located in the tattoo parlor downstairs. When I visited, cash donations of $5 were requested for visitors.

Looking for other unique collections to discover in town? You might like Trundle Manor, Randyland or Bicycle Heaven!

Mildred D. Field