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Every day since Diane and I arrived in Pittsburgh on February 1 has increased my appreciation of four things about Carnegie Museums: the excellence of our four museums, the dedication of our staff, the commitment of our supporters, and the hospitality of the vibrant, world-class city we are proud to call home.
On the last of those, perhaps one anecdote will suffice. Several days after we drove up from our farm in Maryland, Diane was walking our dog and encountered a young woman, also with a dog, who was waving enthusiastically from a block away. In many cities, such a gesture would mean either a case of mistaken identity or that the woman was actually waving to someone else. But in this case, in Pittsburgh, it turned out to be a genuine expression of a desire to meet a new friend. We have had versions of this experience over and over—for instance, nearly every time I tell someone where I now have the privilege of working and he or she replies, “Oh, wonderful, I’m a member!”
Back to my other three discoveries: excellence, dedication, and commitment. During the process that led to my appointment, I had an opportunity to tour all four museums, and I now know what I hope all our visitors will learn, which is that every encounter with the four Carnegie Museums is a potentially life-changing experience that will only grow richer and more powerful with each new visit. That experience is shaped both by the excellence of our exhibitions and by the dedication of the staff who create, maintain, and help our visitors interpret them. And that experience is only possible thanks to the ongoing generosity of our friends and supporters within and beyond the Pittsburgh community.
I now know what I hope all our visitors will learn, which is that every encounter with the four Carnegie Museums is a potentially life-changing experience that will only grow richer and more powerful with each new visit.
Speaking of community: I had a remarkable experience one afternoon in my first week. I attended a seminar on museum-based education that was hosted by Carnegie Museum of Art but open to educators and others from institutions outside our museums. One of those guests was a high school student who spoke eloquently about what it would take to build a connection between the museums and her peers. The fact that our educators were so receptive to advice from the community spoke volumes to a former academic who had promoted community outreach but had never seen such an open and mutually supportive relationship between an institution and its neighbors.
All of what I have reported above convinces me that Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is poised to achieve and exceed what Andrew Carnegie envisioned when he founded this institution 125 years ago. This fall, we will celebrate that anniversary, and I am glad to have arrived in time to join the celebration. My focus is on what we can achieve together to ensure that our contribution to the advancement of art and science will be at least as evident 125 years from now as it is today.
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
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