chairman's noteSummer 2013
“That we have four distinct museums supporting shared goals in their unique ways is a rare thing indeed.”
- Lee B. Foster

Photo: Tom Altany
Today, the vast majority of our visitors are well-connected to the world via computers at work, school, and home, and they often come to the museums with a favorite companion—a smartphone or tablet—that gives them seemingly unlimited access to images and information, right at their fingertips. How does a museum not just compete and stay relevant, but leverage its strengths and meaningfully add to the conversation?

Last year, Carnegie Museums embarked on a strategic planning process that posed this question to each of our four museums, and then challenged all of us—including our Carnegie Museums trustees—to come up with shared goals for the future.

What we came up with is a fundamental need to invest in the visitor experience—specifically, technology solutions that will better connect us with our audiences, on- and off-site, and better connect our audiences with Carnegie Museums’ irreplaceable collections and intellectual resources. Wi-Fi access, mobile apps, interactive exhibits, collection databases, on-site mobile tours, social media and social networking communities—these all play a role in the quality of the visitor experience and our connection with audiences throughout the world, without changing who we are as an institution and why we exist. What’s more, the nature of this investment in technology also affects how we think about our programming in general: Can it be more inclusive, can it be more fun, can it be more engaging to people who otherwise might not visit a museum? The answer: Yes! Some recent examples include the Oh Snap! Your Take on Our Photographs project at Carnegie Museum of Art, 21+ Nights at the Science Center, The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP mobile app, and the Museum of Natural History’s new Discovery Basecamp.

Just as important as investing in the visitor experience, we also have collectively committed ourselves to playing even greater leadership roles in the exploration and discussion of issues that are important to the region, and the world—everything from sus- tainable design in architecture, to STEM education and career development, to a fuller understanding of energy, biodiversity, and evolution, to the creative use of art in therapy and healing.

As chair of the Carnegie Museums Board of Trustees, it is my honor to be not only a witness to but a partner in Carnegie Museums’ important work. Our region is so fortunate to call this wonderful institution its own, and to be able to share the amazing work of our museums with the world. That we have four distinct museums supporting shared goals in their own unique ways is a rare thing indeed. That is the beauty of Carnegie Museums, and the strength.

Lee B. Foster
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees




Also in this issue:

Lost Kingdoms Found  ·  Past Meets Present  ·  Family Matters  ·  Celebrating a Great Ride  ·  Special Section: A Tribute to Our Donors  ·  NewsWorthy  ·  Face Time: Nick Bubash  ·  Artistic License: Pop Cabaret  ·  Field Trip: “Shocking Success” in Libya  ·  Science & Nature: Building for Bees  ·  The Big Picture