president's noteWinter 2015
"The history of our city and the activities of Carnegie Museums are tied together in many ways, large and small."

Photo: Jim Judkis
Years ago, when I read Michael Chabon’s novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I never dreamed that I would someday live in Pittsburgh—or that I’d have a direct relationship to “the Cloud Factory!” In this issue, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes (or perhaps more accurately, below-the-scenes) glimpse into the workings of the Bellefield Boiler Plant, Chabon’s real-life cloud factory. The boiler plant offers a profound metaphor about the relationship between Carnegie Museums and the larger community. Of course it serves our Oakland Museums and the Library. But did you know it also serves Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Pittsburgh Public Schools’ administration building, and UPMC Presbyterian Hospital? I love the idea that warmth radiating from the Carnegie makes all of Oakland more comfortable in winter!

The history of our city and the activities of Carnegie Museums are tied together in many ways, large and small. The Bellefield Boiler Plant is certainly a large connector. Physically small in comparison is Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village®. This year, we proudly add a replica of the Hill District’s legendary jazz venue, the Crawford Grill, which joins many other beloved western Pennsylvania landmarks in this charming and popular display. The Science Center’s curator of historic exhibits was able to model the Crawford Grill by working from images by Charles “Teenie” Harris that reside in the archives of Carnegie Museum of Art; so this project reflects our museums’ connections not only to the city but also to each other.

You’ll also read about two major grantfunded “catalyst” positions at Carnegie Museums, which are further expressions of collaboration and connectivity. A joint appointment in curatorial studies links our three collecting museums with an academic program at Pitt, and our American Council of Learned Societies “Nexus” fellowship is dedicated to strengthening the relationships between the arts and the sciences on topics of public importance.

Meanwhile, an upcoming exhibition of the work of industrial designer Peter Muller-Munk brings to life connections between Pittsburgh industry, Carnegie Mellon, and the best in modern design. Do plan to put this exhibition on your calendar; I feel sure you’ll see some iconic and familiar objects in a whole new light. You’ll also be reminded of the role that Pittsburgh institutions, industries, and artists have played in creating modern American material culture.

In short, this issue makes me proud of Carnegie Museums in its vital relationship with Pittsburgh and its economic and cultural achievements. A great family of museums, in and for a great city.

Jo Ellen Parker, President & CEO
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh




Also in this issue:

The Elevation of Everyday Design  ·  Taking its Bow  ·  Art of the Now  ·  Inside the Cloud Factory  ·  NewsWorthy  ·  About Town: Changing the Conversation  ·  Artistic License: In Full Light  ·  Travel Log  ·  The Big Picture