Museum of Material Failures – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Museum of Material Failures

It may appear to be a fancy junk yard, but each item has a story to tell and a lesson to impart.  

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Several rooms of a Pittsburgh materials testing laboratory called Matergenics have been dedicated to an unusual collection: 30 years of failure, consisting of broken things and twisted metal. Although it may all look like junk, each item, and the materials failure it represents, has a story to tell and a surprising lesson to impart.

The hands-on museum contains pieces ranging from a corroded Olympic diving board to exploded gas lines. The museum’s curator, materials scientist and Matergenics owner Mehrooz Zamanzadeh (Dr. Zee), points out that all these failures have one thing in common: They all follow the laws of physics, chemistry, and nature perfectly. Thus, the main factor in these failures is not the materials themselves, but the people who made and used them. The goal of the museum is to point out these flaws to make sure that they don’t happen again. 

Know Before You Go

Matergenics is open Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Walk-ins are welcome, but calling ahead will allow an engineer or technician to guide you through the museum and the rest of the lab. 

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