Several Saturdays ago, I attended a brilliant concert by Pittsburgh-based percussionist Hugo Cruz and his Cuban-fusion band Caminos. Location: the Sculpture Court behind our Oakland museums. The concert was one in a series that Carnegie Museum of Art hosted to enhance visitors’ experience, create a sense of community after months of isolation, and support local performers. The title of that series matches the theme of this letter: Inside Out.The traditional roles of museums are to collect and preserve objects deemed significant, even precious, because of their aesthetic, historical, or scientific value, and to make those objects available to the public for purposes of education, inspiration, and, yes, entertainment. Those roles remain at the core of our mission at Carnegie Museums, but we are also taking a variety of new steps both to engage audiences we have not traditionally attracted and to expand the reach of our programs beyond the walls of the museums themselves. That’s the sense in which we are turning the museums “inside out.”
Last year, the pandemic prevented us from celebrating our 125th anniversary as we had hoped to do, but we are making up for the loss this fall. Among other events, this November we will join Carnegie Library in hosting Crash the Carnegies, a free, two-day open house at the Oakland campus we have shared since 1895. We are also launching a new Community Access Initiative that will give teens free memberships, increase access for low-income families by inviting them to become members at greatly reduced rates, and expand our offerings of lifelong learning experiences for seniors. In all these ways, we will celebrate the past while building a more inclusive future.
We are also taking a variety of new steps both to engage audiences we have not traditionally attracted and to expand the reach of our programs beyond the walls of the museums themselves … turning the museums ‘inside out.’
At the same time, all four museums are expanding their impact on their neighbors in exciting new ways. The Warhol and Carnegie Science Center are partnering with neighboring institutions to develop arts and science corridors that bring a new vitality to the economic and educational landscape of the North Side. The Museum of Natural History is showing people across our region how to observe, right here at home, the effects of human impact on the planet. And when the Museum of Art’s 58th Carnegie International opens next fall, it will embrace local artists and arts institutions more fully than ever before.
The four Carnegie Museums will always be stewards of precious, informative, and inspiring collections. These new initiatives will further demonstrate what an extraordinary asset to the community our museums truly are.
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
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