This MLK Day, Learn About the Humanitarian Side of Roberto Clemente

A one-night-only virtual event from Doors Open Pittsburgh takes visitors inside the Clemente Museum.


Here’s a powerful quotation: “Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.”

If I told you it came from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., you wouldn’t have much trouble believing me. While it certainly aligns with aspects of Dr. King’s work, however, those words are not his; the speaker is Roberto Clemente.

This Monday, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Doors Open Pittsburgh will present a virtual tour of The Clemente Museum. “The Clemente Museum: The Story of the Great One,” hosted by Duane Reider, the museum’s executive director and curator, will examine Clemente’s humanitarian activism.

Clemente was so recognized for his work that Major League Baseball annually presents its Roberto Clemente Award to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team,” as former commissioner Bud Selig said in 2002.

Clemente was not just recognized posthumously as a crusader for social justice. In fact, Dr. King himself once visited Clemente’s farm in his native Puerto Rico.

The event is part of a storytelling series from Doors Open Pittsburgh, which was forced to cancel most of its traditional, in-person events in 2020. “We took the opportunity to re-route how we present our mission,” says Bonnie Baxter, the organization’s founder and executive director. “We believe that everyone should have access to our collective history, through the eyes of our buildings.”

The following week, Doors Open will present another storytelling session focusing on a trailblazing Pittsburgher: Nellie Bly.

“Our virtual stories are told by Pittsburghers, about Pittsburgh,” Baxter says.

The Clemente Museum, on Penn Avenue in the Strip District, hosts a massive collection of one-of-a-kind photographs and artifacts relating to Clemente’s life. In-person visits are currently suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, making Monday’s event an ideal way to get inside Pittsburgh’s shrine to Clemente.

Of course, if you want to see more — and you will — there’s also a 3D tour.

“The Story of the Great One” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, and can be viewed virtually. Tickets are available now.

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