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The Baums Capture the Essence of Unrestricted Annual Giving

Allen and Liz Baum have been members of Carnegie Patrons Circle for three years. Carnegie Patrons Circle members provide leadership gifts to support the annual unrestricted operations of the four museums. This year the Baums’ exemplary giving reached the President’s Society level. 

The Baums capture the essence of unrestricted annual giving.  They have involved with Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh for a long time.  They live in the East End and raised their two children, now ages 23 and 19, with frequent visits to the museums. Their daughter Mara, now an architect intern, went to art classes at the art museum all through school. Allen has relatives in France whose children frequently visited them in Pittsburgh. Trips to the Carnegie Museums were frequently a high point of the their visits. 

"We're museum people," says Liz.  Allen notes that they were in France recently for about two weeks and visited what seemed like 40 museums.  "Many other cities have more glamorous art collections, but Carnegie Museums in Oakland is just a fabulous building, a wonderful resource for the city.  We've seen many prestigious collections--but they are often housed in more plebian buildings." Liz says, "I always get a thrill when I come to Oakland and see the school buses lined up in front of the museum."

The Baums enjoy the exhibition openings, the museum lectures, and Carnegie Museum of Art film series on Fridays and Saturdays. They buy gifts at the museum stores.   Modern and contemporary art appeal to them.  "The International this year was great," says Liz.  “When our kids were growing up we spent a lot of time in the Natural History Museum, and we really like the changes that have been taking place there.  It's even more exciting now for young people."

"As you get older your discretionary income tends to increase, and it's time to give back," says Allen. "If all the art collections developed with money made in Pittsburgh had stayed here, this city would be the top art destination in the country.  We can't change the past, but by supporting Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh today we help assure good art for the next generation here.  We also want to help preserve this fabulous building as a Pittsburgh resource.   Personally, we just enjoy coming here."  Liz adds, "It is like a second home to us."

London at Two Millennia

Glimpses of London’s past and present, as well as a side-trip to signature sites in Spain, were part of the busy itinerary for members who traveled in June with Carnegie Museums’ Richard Armstrong and Tom Sokolowski.

“It was fun, and it was somewhat grueling,” says Richard Armstrong of a recent trip to London with Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh members. 

 “We chose to look at London at the end of two centuries in which it was a dominant world force, still full of the buildings, bridges, and railroad stations of the Victorian empire,” explains Tom Sokolowski.  “Post-colonial Britain is a diverse society today, with new museums, new apartment and office towers.”

 “There was a princely leitmotif to the trip,” Armstrong says, “Beginning with Prince Albert at his memorial and then, for the rest of the nine days, hearing about what Prince Charles doesn’t like. It all culminated in a visit to the trooping of the colors.  We had,” he adds wryly, “a royal good time.”

Armstrong, Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art, and Sokolowski, director of the Warhol Museum, escorted members to London June 8 through June 18.  The tour was epicurean as well as cultural, hitting as many of London’s top restaurants as time would permit.  “We went to two restaurants designed by Terence Conran, and one by artist Damien Hirst,” says Sokolowski. “Good design, whether it is a subway, an office building, or a restaurant, contributes to the experience.  It changes the topography of where you live.”  “And the psychology,” adds Armstrong.
After London, most of the group went on to Bilbao, Spain, “a steel city in the midst of a resurgence, just like Pittsburgh,” says Sokolowski, “And the center of the resurgence is the Guggenheim museum there.  The Carnegie Museums could play a similar role in Pittsburgh.” 

The group also took a look at Bilbao’s new pedestrian bridge and visited a “Fosterino,” the new subway system designed by architect Sir Norman Foster.  “It was 106 degrees,” says Armstrong.  “And we went all the way down into the system; it was a really good-hearted group.”

Both directors were pleased to see how many of the artists represented at the Tate Modern or at contemporary exhibitions have been shown in Pittsburgh, whether in the permanent collections or previous exhibitions.   After the trip, Armstrong continued on to Basel to its acclaimed contemporary art fair, and Sokolowski went to Budapest to discuss a Warhol exhibition.  In its consideration of Victorian and new London, and in its whirlwind tour of Bilbao, the group sought analogues to the changes and aspirations of Pittsburgh.

See New Zealand with Seddon Bennington

February 5-21, 2001

A person could drive from the smoking volcanoes in the north of New Zealand to the glaciers of the south in one day.  On this 15-day trip led by Seddon Bennington, director of Carnegie Science Center and a native New Zealander, you will stay in some of New Zealand's finest hotels and see the best and some of the less trodden paths of this compact, stunning country.  

Highlights in the Auckland area include the Bay of Islands, the stately Kauri forests, and the Auckland Museum, with its extensive collection of Maori artifacts.  To the south are the Waitomo caves.  “We’ll travel by boat through this limestone network lit by glowworms,” says Bennington,  “It’s quite magical. Then on to Rotorua, where Maoris still cook their food in the steam vents and boiling mud.”

A drive through rolling hills and sheep farms ends in Wellington, the political capital of the country.  “Wellington is built on a fault line so, like San Francisco, it developed a distinctive wooden colonial architecture,” says Bennington. “The museum there, Te Papa, houses the national art, natural history, and Maori collections that have been woven together to tell a coherent story of the country. The different cultures have a positive relationship, and the museum is the Maori urban meeting place.”

The group will cross Cook Strait to Picton and the winemaking region, then down to Christchurch, the garden city of New Zealand.  After crossing the Southern Alps, the tour will follow the west coast, where the people are few and the forest runs down to the sea.  After Queenstown, set against the dramatic backdrop of The Remarkables mountains, the tour ends in Dunedin with a visit to the Royal Albatross colony at Taiaroa Heads.

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