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A Jurassic Park of fossils

It’s been decades since Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologists dug for dinosaur bones in the dusty fossil fields of Wyoming. But it looks like they’ll be back at it again less than 30 miles from the site of the museum’s first and most famous dinosaur find, Diplodocus carnegii, discovered in 1899.

Earlier this year, Wyoming cattle rancher Allen Cook donated a 4,700-acre piece of his 120,000-acre Wyoming cattle ranch to the University of Pittsburgh—a “remarkable” gift, says Alec Stewart, dean of the Pitt honors program, given the fact that Cook had no previous connections to Pitt. A college friend of Stewart’s happened to be the land economist who appraised the land for Cook and made him aware of just how valuable its contents were to the scientific community. He and Stewart became instrumental in making the unusual land gift a reality.

Because of Pitt’s close ties with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the gift will benefit the museum as well. Pitt, the University of Wyoming, and the museum will all be partners in the exploration and study of the site, and fossils found on the land will eventually join Carnegie Museums’ world-renowned collection.

This field of dreams is practically “littered” with fossils, according to Curator Emeritus Mary Dawson, who visited the ranch several years ago. It’s also rich with American Indian artifacts and interesting geological features, and it intersects with parts of the famed Morrison Formations that produced Diplodocus carnegii more than 100 years ago.

Staff members from the museum and the University of Pittsburgh are visiting the site in June to begin planning its future. One possibility: They might one day open it to members of the general public who, under museum guidance, could sign up to be part
of supervised digs. Dig that!

In the name of science—and Bill and Ingrid Rea

On May 10, at a board meeting of the Heinz Endowments, board members surprised their colleague, Bill Rea, when they announced that they had made a special $2 million gift to Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Powdermill Nature Reserve in honor of Rea and his late wife, Ingrid. Also present was Bill DeWalt, director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, who announced that the gift would support the creation of two new positions: the Bill and Ingrid Rea Curator of Conservation Biology, which will be based at Powdermill, and the Bill and Ingrid Rea Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, which will be based at the museum. Sadly, less than a week after this touching event, Rea passed away at the age of 94.

Ingrid Rea was a Life Trustee of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and served on the board of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Bill was instrumental in the merger of the Buhl Science Center with Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and was a great supporter of Carnegie Science Center and served on its board. Together, they had a profound effect on conservation, education, and research through their stewardship of their beloved Stonylonesome Farm in the Laurel Highlands and the work of neighboring Powdermill Nature Reserve, Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s 2,200-acre biological field station in Rector, Pa. 

“ Gentility, grace, a genuine concern for making a difference, and enlightened civic leadership: These are all qualities that are all too rare in today’s world, but they were exemplified by Bill and Ingrid Rea’s contributions to Carnegie Museums,” said DeWalt. “This grant from the Howard Heinz and Vira Heinz Endowments will enable us to bring the quality of the research at Powdermill up to the same world-class standard of research that exists at the museum,” he added. “And naming these curatorial positions for Bill and Ingrid Rea will perpetuate their great legacy.”

“ We at the Heinz Endowments are grateful to have had a chance to recognize the extraordinary contributions that Bill Rea has made over three decades to the foundation, to Pittsburgh, and the region,” said Teresa Heinz, who chairs the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies. “He honored all of us with his thoughtful contributions. For me, personally, for the Heinz family, and for the Endowments, he leaves us with a warm memory in our hearts and a gutsy, joyful attitude in our work.”

You’ve got a (fierce) friend in Pennsylvania

As guests gathered on Friday, March 24, for a VIP reception in honor of the weekend opening of Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals, 1750-1900, official word arrived that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell had awarded $200,000 to Carnegie Museum of Art in support of the exhibition. The grant was made through the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). At the same time, the state awarded $100,000 to Pittsburgh Roars, the regional celebration of western Pennsylvania’s many attractions that was conceived when Fierce Friends was still in the planning stages.

“ Tonight, we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of those responsible for making Fierce Friends possible,” said Carnegie Museums President David Hillenbrand, as he addressed the gathering. “This includes you, the friends and supporters of our four wonderful museums here this evening. And it also includes the governor of this great state, who we thank for his strong and very generous endorsement.”


Sailors tell their tales on the USS Requin

“Sailors are great storytellers,” says Patty Rogers, Carnegie Science Center’s coordinator of historic exhibits, “and it’s so much more engaging to hear their stories than just read them.” And now, visitors to the Science Center’s World War II-era submarine, the USS Requin, will be able to do just that, thanks to a collaboration between the Science Center and Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC).

Dubbed “Living History,” the project brings to life the sights and sounds—and voices—of the 1960’s sub through a number of interactive displays created by ETC graduate students. “We’re so happy to share some of the great Requin stories in a way that makes submarine life real for our visitors,” says Rogers.

Some of those stories were recorded at a Requin crew reunion held at the Science Center in 2004. Others were retrieved by ETC students who interviewed former crewmates especially for this project. As visitors tour the submarine, they’ll see and hear actual Requin veterans recounting heartwarming, sometimes funny stories of life on the sub; they’ll actually hear the floor rumble at the launch of a torpedo, or ice scraping along the hull during an Arctic exploration; and they’ll hear the chatter of the crew and the commands of the ship’s officer.

The ETC grad students are a combination of technologists and fine artists who worked closely with Science Center staff to develop the touch-screen content, which provides information about the Requin and submarines in general, for six of Requin’s compartments: the forward torpedo room, control room, mess deck, berthing compartment, and two engine rooms. There’s even a special kid’s area accessible from the screens’ main menu.

The Requin is open everyday for self-guided tours throughout the summer.


Honoring Suzy Broadhurst

What do you give a person who has everything? If she’s someone who loves giving to others, you give her something that will help her do more of that.

On March 9, that’s what the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees did to honor its chair, Suzy Broadhurst, who also served as interim president for one year until David Hillenbrand became Carnegie Museums’ new president in July 2006. At the March quarterly Trustees Meeting, Lee Foster, vice chair of the board, announced to Broadhurst that the board had established a special fund in her honor to send deserving kids to summer camp at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History and Carnegie Science Center. Named the Suzanne W. Broadhurst Children’s Camp Fund, it will cover the cost of tuition at Carnegie Museums summer camps for a number of children each summer, beginning in 2007.

“ There’s no one more deserving of this kind of recognition than Suzy Broadhurst,” Lee Foster said, as he presented Broadhurst with a special framed photograph of children enjoying an activity at a summer camp. “Suzy has given so much of her time, energy, and boundless enthusiasm over the past two years, and through this special fund, we will be able to honor and thank her for years to come.”.


Shopping with Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and retail: What could be more perfect? When local developer Eastside Partners was putting the finishing touches on its new commercial building in East Liberty—the one that now houses Walgreen’s—its management thought about art, and then thought about Warhol.

Since the building’s storefront windows were on the ground floor facing Liberty Avenue, Eastside Partners thought the space would be a perfect place to display artwork And what else but the art of the retail-loving Warhol would make sense?

Knowing that The Andy Warhol Museum has loaned artwork to other community organizations for display, such as the Children’s Museum, Eastside Partners turned to Warhol Director Tom Sokolowski to see if the museum would be interested in bringing a little Andy Warhol over to the East End.

Sokolowski says The Warhol is always eager to “embrace the community” through such initiatives. “This collaborative art and education project is one way Andy Warhol's artistic genius can entertain, encourage, and inspire all passersby to follow their own American dreams,” he says.

The window displays mix seven Warhol images with Warhol quotes that suit the setting—such as, “I like boring things. I like things to be exactly the same over and over again.” The innovative program is being funded by Walgreen's and Eastside's developer, The Mosites Company.

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