Carnegie magazine - Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Photo: Joshua Franzos

Big Picture

SPRINGTIME AT POWDERMILL will no doubt attract nature lovers eager far and wide. The bucolic Nature Center welcomes visitors year-round who come to the Laurel Highlands nature reserve to learn more about the natural world and enjoy Powdermill’s scenic trails. Summer campers will be returning this June.

Face Time

Hope Gillespie

Hope Gillespie

There’s a movie poster of Harrison Ford’s iconic character Indiana Jones fixed to Hope Gillespie’s office wall at Carnegie Science Center. It is there for professional inspiration as much as workplace decor. “I cannot overstate the influence Indiana Jones has had on my life,” says Gillespie, who is the museum experiences officer at the Science Center. The film franchise piqued her interest in archaeology—she holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from The George Washington University and a master’s degree in the discipline from University College London. But she also just loves the character’s catchphrase about artifacts—“It belongs in a museum”—that informs her work to this day. Since joining the Science Center in 2021, Gillespie has put her archaeology background to use by spending months researching upcoming exhibitions. Her work ranges from studying delicate waterlogged objects in TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition, the blockbuster exhibition that closed in April, to researching the process of animation for The Science Behind Pixar, which opened May 25. Gillespie trains staff and produces supplementary materials to enhance exhibitions. She also spends a lot of time answering visitors’ questions, which is the part of her job she loves most. “I love teaching,” Gillespie says. “I didn’t think that informal education was my superpower until I started to do it.”

Trương Công Tùng, installation view of the state of absence—voices from outside, 2020, in the 58th Carnegie International, Courtesy of the artist and Carnegie Museum of Art.

Photo: Sean Eaton

Inside the Museums

Conservators play a critical role in not only the preservation of art but also its creation. They are partners with artists to realize their vision, even as they are stewards of it and the museum where it will be exhibited.