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Museum of Art goes cyber

Now anyone, anywhere, anytime—as long as they have a computer and an Internet hookup—can wander through the Carnegie Museum of Art’s collection. As of early November, 31,652 works of art can be searched by the general public, including teachers and scholars, using an easy-to-navigate search engine found at And more are to come, keeping with the museum’s goal to make the entire collection available online.

About one-third of the searchable records are from the museum’s general collection, representing more than one-third of the museum’s paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, decorative arts objects, furniture, textiles, and architectural collections. Visitors to the site can search by what’s currently on view in the galleries, highlights of the collection, and new acquisitions. Or searches can be more defined by inputting the title of the work, creator name, medium, or date created. Records on works currently in storage or rarely exhibited are among the 11,000 records from the general collection. Most records include an image and about 2,000 also include descriptive narratives.

Also available are 20,000 black-and-white photographic images, the majority of them from the museum’s Teenie Harris Archive. Each image is accompanied by a response form, encouraging viewers to help identify the people, places, and events in the photographs. The number of Teenie Harris images will grow weekly to about 60,000 over the next several years, pending funding.

Building the Tree of Life

Even though we humans are far from finished counting the total number of species on Earth, biologists are eagerly assembling and reassembling the “Tree of Life.” To help harness the flood of new information transforming 21st century biology—and also provide an organized framework accessible not only to scientists but the public and educators as well—Carnegie Museum of Natural History has become part of a multi-institutional team building a comprehensive evolutionary tree of all mammals.

Museum of Natural History Curators Zhe-Xi Luo and John Wible recently received a grant of $349,000 over five years from the Assembling Tree of Life Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to aid in the NSF’s efforts and those of four other institutions in achieving this goal. Luo and Wible are partnering with the University of California at Riverside and Texas A&M University, whose scientists are examining the molecular data of mammals, and colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Stony Brook University, who like the Carnegie Museum scientists, are concentrating on the anatomy of mammals.

The Tree of Life Program wants researchers with complementary expertise to work together as a team. Besides supporting the research, the grant funding allows yearly meetings of the scientists from the collaborating institutions, and provides for educational outreach to make the team’s findings accessible, through the Web and spin-off educational programming.

Something’s happening down by the river…

A $250,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments will help Carnegie Science Center realize a dream to use its prime location along the Ohio River to build a major new attraction that engages the public in water-based experiences and gives visitors a chance to explore life in and along the three rivers of Pittsburgh. The Science Center is using the grant to create a detailed master plan for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

Eco-Experience is the working title of the new attraction, which could include both indoor and outdoor activities and pool resources from sister museum Carnegie Museum of Natural History and its living research and educational facility, Powdermill Nature Reserve. And it’s just one of many initiatives in the pipeline at the Science Center, which has begun a unique period of growth and the biggest transformation of its visitor experiences since it arrived on the North Shore 15 years ago—starting with the creation of Buhl Digital Dome. The long-range plan calls for the Science Center to continue to create unique new visitor experiences that focus on its own unique strengths as well as those of the Pittsburgh technology community: astronomy, the environment, robotics, health and the body, and sparking scientific curiosity in young children.


Carnegie Museums ONLINE

Carnegie Museums is never the same place twice. So how could you visit just once? That’s the theme of Carnegie Museums’ exciting new website, which launched in November. Everything collectively great about the four Carnegie Museums—great exhibitions, fun classes, interesting lectures, cool special events—can now be viewed through this one-of-a-kind central repository of useful information and links to the four museum sites. The website now gives visitors a look at all that makes the four museums permanently interesting, such as their permanent exhibits, as well as what’s always new, such as special member events and new exhibition openings. Really cool stuff includes an interactive timeline of Carnegie Museums’ storied past; a calendar that visitors can search by day or time period, audience, museum, or type of activity; and audience perspective links (accessed through a “Visitor’s Badge” on every page) that let’s visitors search the site from their own unique audience perspective—Member, Adult, Families with Kids, Teenagers, and Educators. Check it out at!


Team International

(left to right) Richard Armstrong, Charlotte Birnbaum, Richard Flood, Chus Martinez, Douglas Fogle, Daniel Birnbaum, and Eungie Joo in Baden Baden, Germany.

Carnegie Museum of Art Curator of Contemporary Art Douglas Fogle, curator of the 2008 Carnegie International, has chosen four writers and curators with a wealth of experience in the global contemporary art world to advise and assist him. Members of the advisory committee are Daniel Birnbaum, Richard Flood, Eungie Joo, and Chus Martinez. Fogle calls the group “an intergenerational dream team” made up of individuals with four very different backgrounds. “They complement rather that replicate my own experiences and bring new things to the table,” he says.

Daniel Birnbaum is director of the International Stadelschule Art Academy and its exhibition space, Portikus, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. “Birnbaum’s critical view of the philosophical issues of contemporary art is an important contribution to the discussion," Fogle says.

Richard Flood is chief curator of The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. “Flood sees things in a way that makes you think about things from a fresh perspective,” says Fogle.

Eungie Joo is director and curator at the CalArts Gallery at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Los Angeles. Of Joo’s experience, Fogle says: "Joo’s view of the contemporary art world is very different from mine. In addition to her high level of critical social engagement, she has a great command of the contemporary scene in Asia."

Chus Martinez is director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, a contemporary art center in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. “Martinez is a dynamic curator with a great knowledge of the international art scene,” says Fogle. He also notes her familiarity with Latin America—another plus in a long list of diverse experiences and attributes that this team will bring to the task of creating the next Carnegie International.

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