Frequently Asked Questions

If there is a question that this FAQ cannot answer, please contact us at or call at 412.408.3180 for answers.

General FAQs

When can the Murals be viewed by the public?

Docent-led public tours take place on Saturdays at 11:00am and 12:30pm, and Monday evenings at 6:30pm. Public tour reservations may be made in advance online or in-person on the day of, subject to availability. Admission is $15 per person. Senior discount available. Children under 5 are free.

Private tours are available at other times by advance request only. Inquiries may be made online or by calling Mary Beth Fazio, Coordinator of Tourism and Visitor Services at 412.408.3180 x103.  A minimum admission fee of $120 is required for a private tour of eight visitors or less. Each additional guest is $15. Due to the church schedule, private tours are not available after 3:00pm on Saturdays or before 10:00am on Wednesdays.

What about Mural viewing during church services?

St. Nicholas is an active Catholic church. Mural viewing is not allowed during regularly scheduled Mass, 5:00pm Saturday and 8:30am Wednesday, or during other church-related activities.

Are advance reservations required for tours of the Vanka Murals?

Advance reservations are encouraged for Saturday (11:00am and 12:30pm) public tours, but walk-ins are welcome. Advance reservations are required for Monday public tours (6:30pm). If there are no bookings by 3:00pm on Monday, that evening’s tour will be cancelled.

If you are unable to use our online registration system, please email or call 412-408-3180 x103 to reach Coordinator of Tourism and Visitor Services, Mary Beth Fazio to inquire about making your reservations.

Please note: If there are no reservations made for scheduled public tours, we may cancel those tours for drop-in visits.

What does a tour cost?

Public tours (Saturdays at 11:00am and 12:30pm, and Mondays at 6:30pm) are $15 per person, $13.50 for seniors, and free for children under 5.

Private tours may be scheduled at a more convenient time for a minimum of $120 or 8 guests, and $15 for each additional guest.

If you’re interested in booking a private group tour, contact Mary Beth (Coordinator of Tourism and Visitor Services) at to discuss the options.

If you’re interested in a school or youth field trip, contact Becky (Director of Education and Interpretation) at to learn more.

Admission fees and merchandise sales make it possible for SPMMMV to save and share the Vanka Murals. They are essential to our mission to provide access to the Murals for the general public. Donations over and above admission are fully tax deductible. If a donation receipt for any amount above $75 (not including admission) is desired, we recommend making an online donation or by check payable to: SPMMMV.

What types of payment do you accept?

Online payment for admission at time of registration is preferred.

Checks payable to SPMMMV may be mailed in advance to the address below, but must be received before the date of the tour. All forms of payment, including credit cards, checks, and cash are accepted onsite.

By mail: SPMMMV, 24 Maryland Ave, Millvale, PA 15209.

How long is a tour?

Public and private tours are approximately 60 minutes. Docents and greeters are happy to stay briefly after tours to answer questions.

If your group is interested in a longer experience, costs will increase accordingly. Email to inquire about options.

School and youth field trips have their own structure, starting with a recommended 90 minutes.

When should we arrive?

Please plan to arrive 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled tour to check-in. Tours will start promptly. If you arrive late, you may join the tour in progress, but admission fees will still be required.

What is the cancellation policy?

Visitors that cancel at least 24 before the tour start time will receive a full refund or credit for a future tour. Visitors will also receive a full refund in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. There are no full or partial refunds or credits for late arrivals or no-shows.

Does St. Nicholas still have Mass?

Yes, St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic is an active church and one of the Shrines of Pittsburgh. On rare occasions, Vanka Mural programs may be delayed or canceled due to church activities. We will contact you as soon as possible should this occur.

We also ask that visitors respect the sacred spaces of the church by leaving all food and drink outside the sanctuary, and by refraining from entering the main altar area (including standing on the steps).

If you are interested in attending Mass at St. Nicholas, visit the Pittsburgh Shrines page to learn more.

Who leads the tours?

Trained volunteers serve as Docents and Greeters for public and private tours. We recruit volunteers with diverse experiences, expertise, and interests. A passion for the Vanka Murals and desire to tell their story is the primary qualification.

School and youth field trips are led by Vanka Educators, teaching artists with a range of backgrounds and skills.

Is a tour suitable for children?

Public tours are recommended for young people who can pay quiet attention to a Docent-led tour and appreciate the solemnity of their setting. If a parent or caregiver needs to step outside or sit in the basement with a child, they can keep listening to the tour using an assistive listening device.

We also have resources especially for children. Ask your Docent or Greeter for children’s activities to use during the tour, including coloring pages, scavenger hunts, and other educational resources.

Visit our Educational Programs page to learn more about booking a field trip for a class, youth group, homeschool group, or teacher workshop.

Is Photography/Video of the Murals allowed?

Photography and video for personal use are allowed and encouraged.

Flash photography is not permitted. All other types of photography or videography must be requested and approved in advance. For inquiries, please contact Anna Doering (Executive Director) at or 412-408-3180 x 101.

We request that any posts to publicly accessible websites or blogs include a link to our website to assist in our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and support for the Murals. If you share on social media, please tag us @savemaxovanka and include #SaveMaxoVanka in your posts.

Are masks required?

Masks are not required at this time, but the Vanka Murals strongly encourages visitors to join its staff and volunteers in being fully vaccinated prior to visiting.

Do you have gift cards?

Yes! Give the gift of a tour of the incredible Vanka Murals!

Electronic gift cards may be purchased and shared instantly towards any future public or private tour. The gift certificates do not expire. If you have a dollar-value gift card, you can continue to use the code until the full value has been spent. Gift cards and certificates cannot be used for merchandise.

Directions for redeeming a gift certificate may be found when you make your purchase. A gift certificate is not a ticket, as our bookings on tours are subject to availability.

What lunch accommodations are available?

You can request use of the St. Nicholas Church Hall (the church basement) to have your own food and drinks. There is a $50 cleaning fee for use of this space.

In addition, there are a variety of food and drink options down the hill in Millvale.

Directions and Parking

How do I find the Vanka Murals?

The Maxo Vanka Murals are located inside St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale, located at 24 Maryland Ave, Millvale, PA 15209.

If you are driving, follow the directions via Google Maps.

Is there on-site parking available?

Yes. Follow directional signage upon arrival. Tour participants are welcome to park in the St. Nicholas Convent parking lot (15 Maryland Ave) across from the church.

Accessible parking spaces are clearly marked and available in the church-side parking area with direct access to the accessibility ramp entrance on the east side of St. Nicholas between the Church and the Rectory.

Street parking (metered and unmetered) may also be found in Millvale if church lots are full.

Getting here by public transit?

Note that there have been some road closures and rerouted bus lines in Millvale. Two bus lines run right off Maryland Ave. The 2 Bus Line runs along Grant Ave between Downtown and the North Hills, and the 1 Bus Line runs along East Ohio St between Downtown and Tarentum. You can plan your trip at the Pittsburgh Regional Transit website.

Getting here by walking?

A sidewalk with curb cuts runs up Maryland Ave to the church. The accessible building entrance is located on the Rectory (south) side of the church.

If walking from Lawrenceville, the church can be reached via a short, picturesque walk across the 40th Street Bridge. Or Millvale may be reached by the Millvale Riverfront Trail.

Getting here by bicycle?

Millvale is served by a bike trail along the Millvale Riverfront Trail from Downtown. In addition, there are bike lanes connecting the 40th Street Bridge to Maryland Avenue.

The nearest POGOH bikeshare station is located across the 40th Street Bridge at Butler Street and 42nd Street in Lawrenceville. Find stations and information at the POGOH website.

Are the Murals accessible?

SPMMMV welcomes all visitors and strives to provide the best possible experience for everyone.

Mural viewing: Maxo Vanka’s murals are all located in the sanctuary of St. Nicholas church, which is accessible by a ramp on the south side of the church. All murals are visible from the ground floor of the sanctuary.

Accessible parking: Accessible parking spaces are clearly marked and available in the church-side parking area with direct access to the accessibility ramp entrance on the east side of St. Nicholas between the church and the Rectory. The ramp location is indicated on the church building.

Restrooms: Please note that the restrooms are in the basement and only accessible via stairs. Unfortunately, there is no accessible restroom currently at the church.

Assistive listening devices are available upon request, with a choice of using an earpiece or a neck loop that transmits sound to t-coil enabled hearing aids and cochlear implants.

For more information, contact us at 412-408-3180 or by email at so we can help to meet your needs.

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