Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh





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Looking outward, looking forward

Carnegie Museums plans to expand to better serve audiences

For the past decade, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh has been very conscientiously redefining itself.  We began by looking outward, to our many and diverse audiences, to see what they expected from us.  Then we worked to meet their expectations.  We tailored the missions of our museums to reflect what we had learned about our audiences and ourselves, and we developed programs and services to fulfill those missions.


Here are just a few examples of our new, more “audience-centric” approach.  Carnegie Museum of Art now regularly mounts major exhibitions of international importance, such as Aluminum by Design and Light!.  The Museum of Art stayed open late on Thursdays to accommodate visitors during Light!’s popular run.  Carnegie Museum of Natural History opened the doors to its Africa! exhibition to every seventh-grader in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system.  The Andy Warhol Museum is now open six days a week and also has later evening hours.  On Friday nights, The Warhol welcomes visitors for free to its galleries.  Carnegie Science Center recently began staying open later on weekends to give teens a fun and safe place to congregate.


By embracing the needs and wants of our diverse audiences, we have increased attendance every year for the past five years.  We now reach 1.6 people annually—more people than ever before in Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s history.  Now it is time for our buildings and facilities to catch up with our efforts.  We want them to be as approachable as our employees, exhibitions, and programs have become.  We want our buildings to reach out and welcome people.  Once inside, we want people to move with ease through our galleries as well as through our cafes, gift shops, classrooms, and restrooms.  We want enough space to show the types of special exhibitions that our audiences have told us they want to see.  In short, we want all of our visitors to enjoy their experiences at our museums to the fullest. 


We already have made progress.  Most of our cafes have been refurbished and have added more variety to their menus.  One of our stores—at Carnegie Science Center—has been remodeled, and we plan to remodel the others.  We have been updating signs and other “way-finding” devices to help visitors navigate more easily through the museums.


Many more exciting changes are in the works for our facilities in Oakland and the North Shore.  Here is just a preview of our plans.


First, we plan to build a joint visitor service center for Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  We intend for the center to be a landmark that does its part to reestablish Oakland as the cultural and educational heart of the city.  The center will include a distinctive main entrance on Forbes Avenue and a foyer that passersby can see into and that provides quick access to either museum.  The center also will include new amenities for individuals and groups.


At Carnegie Museum of Natural History, we are planning to renovate our venerable Dinosaur Hall.  The hall is already ranked among the best dinosaur halls in the world by the Discovery Channel and is home to many original finds, including an actual T. rex skeleton.  The renovated hall will reflect the latest findings of our renowned scientists and include even more of our vast collection, supporting the museum’s mission to use its knowledge and collections to engage people in an integrative understanding of the Earth.


At Carnegie Museum of Art, some of the galleries will receive necessary repairs.  Otherwise, we will focus on increasing support for the Museum of Art so that it can continue to host major exhibitions such as Aluminum by Design and Light! that fulfill its mission of presenting and collecting exceptional works of art.


And, of course, you already know of our plans to redesign Carnegie Science Center. The Science Center will soon make its final selection of the architect who will design its new building.  The building will not only be an icon of the revitalized North Shore, but will also help the Science Center fulfill its mission to promote science and technology literacy among the region’s youth by offering approximately 80 percent more space for exhibits.  Plans for the additional space include an exhibit called CyberCity that celebrates Pittsburgh’s international stature in the high technology community.


The Andy Warhol Museum may seem a little new for major renovations.  However, in its seven years of existence The Warhol has evolved from a single-artist museum into a diverse forum for the arts, politics, and community-based activities.  To suit its expanded identity, we are exploring options for a possible expansion of The Warhol’s facilities so that audiences can enjoy even more performance art and community activities at the place whose mission is to be “more than a museum.”


All of these plans demonstrate our ongoing commitment to our vision at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh: to set national standards for engaging our audiences, integrate into our community, and promote our region.  CARNEGIE magazine will keep readers informed of our progress over the coming years.


Ellsworth H. Brown

President, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh




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