The Year in Review: 1996 at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

In 1996, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh concluded centennial celebrations and embarked on its second century with a fresh approach to serving the people of the region. Any museum that lives must constantly reevaluate how it fulfills its mission and even what that mission might be. Our audience surveys tell us that visitors and members are changing, and changing what they expect from us. The region's shifting economy and industrial structure influence how much time and money people have for leisure pursuits. New technologies require a new approach to education while making a whole array of options possible. Lives seem busier, maybe because the possibilities of what to do with them are increasing.

At the Carnegie museums, two new directors and a new vice president of marketing will insure that we keep up with these rapid changes in our constituents' lives. The museums enrich the community by providing varied educational experiences, places and events for family outings, and resources for academic endeavors. Certain markers tell us we are effective - since 1986, there has been a 180 percent growth in our service to the community, including the opening of Carnegie Science Center and The Andy Warhol Museum in 1991 and 1994, respectively. Membership is up 154 percent despite a 10 percent decline in the population of the region, with members and donors together totaling 27,400.

A study of our operating expenditures shows that we have increased spending allocations to museum programs, from 33 percent of the budget in 1986 to 40 percent now. With increases in membership and endowment income, this means that in 1996 we spent $9,906,000 on museum programs, on the actual products for which people come to us. The rest of our operating expenditures included the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and development, marketing, human resources and general services that keep museums running.

These museums are accountable to their supporters, the largest of which is the Allegheny Regional Asset District, which underscores our responsibility to the people of this area. And with 62.3 percent of our annual operating support coming from individual gifts of under $1000, we make every effort to be audience driven, to communicate with visitors and members about what they want and then to provide it.

For example, throughout the Oakland complex containing the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art, there is evidence of a new, welcoming atmosphere. Visitors can have a cup of coffee and relax at the new coffee bar. Signs are being installed to direct people unfamiliar with the building, and staff members will be readily available to help plan a visit.

In this report, you can learn about some of the other initiatives we have developed to make visitors feel more comfortable, and have a sense of ownership for what was, after all, given to every one of us.

This annual report was prepared for the office of the president by Ellen S. Wilson.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Carnegie Museum of Art

Andy Warhol Museum

Carnegie Science Center

List of Contributors