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Time for your 100-million-year overhaul.

The fancy word for it is “disarticulation.” And it’s a big part of Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Dinosaurs in Their World expansion and renovation project.

Over the next three years, a team of experts led by the very best in his field, Phil Fraley, will give the museum’s fossilized dinosaur skeletons a complete overhaul. The specimens are being disassembled, piece by piece, then trucked to a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey, for a meticulous makeover. They’ll return to an exhibit area nearly three times the size of the current Dinosaur Hall. There, they’ll be put back together again in more dramatic—and more scientifically accurate—poses. They’ll also be joined by a few new dinosaurs.

Earlier this year, the project got a big boost with a $3 million gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, which brings the total raised to date to $31 million. And on March 10, Museum Director Bill DeWalt was joined by Museum Board Chair Jack Barbour, Carnegie Museums Interim President Suzy Broadhurst, Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, and other local dignitaries at an official groundbreaking celebration.

Visitors are welcome to check out the disarticulation behind the safety of viewing walls now surrounding Dinosaur Hall, as well as through webcam shots on the museum’s web site at

Says Bill DeWalt: “We’re combining two things children of all ages enjoy—dinosaurs and construction.”

Not just another teen film festival.

Rory Kennedy (right), award-winning documentary producer and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, is a woman who lives life with great purpose. In April she challenged teenagers gathered at Carnegie Science Center to do the same, stressing the ability teens have to bring about change.

The opportunity she spoke about is a new film festival and competition called the CAUSE (Creating Awareness and Understanding of Our Surrounding Environment) Challenge. A joint effort of Carnegie Science Center’s SciTech Spectacular, Bayer Corporation, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the program challenges budding filmmakers of tomorrow to produce videos that promote environmentalism.

" I saw how much impact a film can really have," Kennedy said of one of her earliest films, Women of Substance, a look at mothers torn between their maternal instincts and their drug addictions. "It opened up people's minds."

The student films will be evaluated by a panel of judges, and the finalists will be screened at the Science Center’s SciTech Spectacular in September.

Won’t you be my (miniature) neighbor?

The village part of Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village® has gained its first celebrity resident. In honor of the late Fred Rogers, a scale model of the familiar brown-and-white house from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood officially became the newest addition to the exhibit on March 19, 2005, the day before what would have been the beloved local icon’s 77th birthday.

Carnegie Science Center’s Coordinator of Historic Exhibits Patty Rogers (no relation), with some part-time help from model-maker/Mayor-of-Pittsburgh Tom Murphy, completed the project in three months, carefully carving the house out of beeswax. As a scaled-down red trolley zips by, a miniature Mister Rogers, complete with red sweater and blue sneakers, sits with two children on the front porch, swinging—gently, of course—while inside, another Mister Rogers puts on his shoes.

“Mister Rogers is in our hearts forever,” Rogers says. “We added this model to commemorate his birthday and honor his connection to the city.”

Somewhere, even humble Fred Rogers has to be at least a tiny bit proud.


A big discovery of one hungry little landlubber.

About 150 million years ago, long before the earliest cartoons, a funny-looking character was known for his massive forearms and unusual way of eating.

Nicknamed “Popeye” by the team of Carnegie Museum of Natural History researchers that recently published its findings about him in the journal Science, the chipmunk-sized species of mammal developed special equipment for burrowing in the ground to feed on termites, pretty much like armadillos do today. Until this find, scientists assumed that early mammals all fed the same way: by gulping down insects or worms on the surface, one at a time.

Illustration: Mark Klingler

“ It's a most interesting way of life for such an ancient animal," says Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the lead author of the paper that introduced the world to Popeye.

The mammal’s disproportionately large forearms are what earned him his nickname, which is a lot easier to say than Fruitafossor windscheffeli (Fruita is the Colorado town near where it was found, Fossor is Latin for “digger,” and Wally Windscheffel is the Carnegie Museums volunteer who found the fossil in 1998). And it seems he remained a rare breed for many, many years. Says John Wible, curator of Mammals and co-author of the paper, “Nothing like this occurs in the fossil record until almost 100 million years later, when the earliest armadillos appeared in South America.”


What a party for The Warhol!

Photo: Lisa Kyle
You never know quite what you’re going to get when Teresa Heinz Kerry takes the podium. It could be eloquence, candor, controversy, or, if you’re The Andy Warhol Museum, several million dollars.

On Saturday evening, April 9, addressing several hundred guests gathered at the Spike-a-delic gala to celebrate the museum’s 10th anniversary year, Heinz Kerry made the surprise announcement that the Howard Heinz Endowments had approved a $4 million grant to the museum, the third-largest in The Warhol’s history. Teresa Heinz Kerry chairs the Howard Heinz Endowment and is a Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh trustee.

“ My late husband John and I supported bringing The Warhol here because Andy was a Pittsburgh native son,” she said in her speech. “His was a unique and special talent, and we in his hometown had an opportunity to embrace him as our own.”

Praising Museum Director Thomas Sokolowski, Heinz Kerry added, “The first 10 years of this museum have been years of playfulness and experimentation. I think Andy would have been proud.” The gala celebration just so happened to coincide with Sokolowski’s birthday.

The fundraising dinner and dance party, dubbed “Spike-a-delic” in honor of Andy Warhol’s passion for shoes (he once worked as a shoe illustrator for I Miller), was held at the SouthSide Works and featured, naturally, a footwear theme. Damian Soffer, a member of The Warhol's Board of Directors, and his wife Teri hosted the gala that turned an unfinished floor of the building into a Studio 54 look-alike.


What are 80,000 pictures worth?

In the 1930s and ‘40s, the Pittsburgh Courier was the country’s largest-circulation African-American newspaper. In words and pictures, it spoke for the city’s black population. And the person snapping most of the pictures was Charles “Teenie” Harris.

Peering without prying, examining without exploiting, Harris amassed the world’s most extensive portrait of African-American urban life. His 40-year career yielded around 80,000 photos, of which only a small fraction have ever been released. Carnegie Museum of Art purchased the negatives in 2001, three years after Harris’s death, as a way of preserving the collection, allowing public access to the work, and trying to identify the people, places, and events depicted in the photos.

That goal moved a lot closer to reality recently when the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded the museum $340,000 to preserve, catalogue, and archive over 26,000 of the negatives and scan nearly 34,000 more. “The NEH's support acknowledges the importance and value of this archive to scholars and the general public,” says Richard Armstrong, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Museum of Art, with the help of the public, has already identified the people and places in 1,000 Teenie Harris photographs. And starting August 6, another 3,500 photos will be on view at the museum or online at

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