In Memoriam: Eleanor Maxine Moose Bruhns, 1924-2020

E. Maxine Bruhns, who served as the director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs at the University of Pittsburgh for more than half a century, died on July 17 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Shadyside. She was 96 years old.

The Nationality Rooms were established in 1938 to highlight immigrants’ contributions to America. Bruhns became director in 1965. At that time there were no plans to expand on the Nationality Rooms and they had been badly neglected. At the time, there were 19 Nationality Rooms; when Bruhns retired, there were 31.

During her tenure as director, Bruhns transformed the university’s Nationality Rooms into a collection of 31 mini-museums that represent the immigrant populations of Pittsburgh and their contributions to the city. The Nationality Rooms, which line the halls of the Cathedral of Learning’s first and third floors, are collectively designated a historical landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. All but two of the rooms also serve as classrooms.

A native of Grafton, West Virginia, Bruhns attended West Virginia Wesleyan College but left school to work in an aircraft factory during World War II. After the war, she earned a bachelor’s degree n philosophy and psychology at Ohio State University. She later earned a master’s degree in psychology at the American University of Beirut

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