Attraction of the Week: The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh
Although the “City of Bridges” is more well known for its’ beautiful architecture and famous Duquesne incline, Pittsburgh also is home to a number of world-class museums. Just 10 minutes from downtown lies the bustling Carnegie neighborhood, one of the more beautiful sections of the city. This area is named after Andrew Carnegie, an industrialist who made a fortune in the steel industry. In Carnegie, you can explore a number of attractions including the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music hall. Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner are amongst the notable celebrities born in this area.
There are 4 Carnegie museums to add to your Pittsburgh bucket list. Two of these are located in the lively Oakmont area, home to 3 prestigious universities and various medical renowned facilities, as well as many local restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses. The Museum of Natural History is one of the largest in the US and is home to an incredible dinosaur exhibit, a dazzling hall of minerals, and dozens of lifelike dioramas. The Carnegie Science Center is a huge 5 floor space featuring a world-class planetarium, aquarium, and Omnimax theater. The Andy Warhol Museum features 7 floors dedicated to the Pittsburgh born pioneer of the pop art movement. And finally, The Carnegie Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of classical and contemporary art.
The Carnegie Museum of Art
Art lovers will want to add a visit to the small, yet impressive Carnegie Museum of Art to their Pittsburgh bucket list. Andrew Carnegie envisioned a space dedicated to the “Old Masters of tomorrow” instead of focusing solely on classic art. Even though it was established in 1895, much of the museum is dedicated to modern art. The permanent collection includes over 34,000 interesting works in a variety of mediums. Also, over 70,000 negatives by photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris are located in the archives.
Conveniently, this museum is located in the same space as the Museum of Natural History so your admission enables you to explore both in a single visit. Most notably, this museum is (arguably) the first modern art museum in the country. The Carnegie International is the longest-running North American exhibition of international art, and second in the world only to the Venice Biennale. This special exhibition takes place every 3-4 years. 2022 marked the 58th anniversary.
The Grand Staircase – This 3 story architectural masterpiece was added to the museum in 1907. Here you will find a 4000 square foot mural, The Crowning of Labor by John White Alexander.
Decorative Arts and Design – Features American and European objects from 1700 to today including ceramics, metalwork, and furniture by artists such as Tiffany and Marcel Breuer.
Impressionism & Post Impressionism – Beautiful works by Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.
Hall of Sculpture – Beautiful marble hall designed after the Parthenon in Greece. The balcony features glass and ceramic objects from the 18th-20th century.
Hall of Architecture – The most impressive section of the museum houses over 140 architectural plastic casts. This is the largest collection in the US, and second only to the renowned Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Musée National des Monuments Français in Paris.
Modern art – Modern and contemporary art pieces encompass a large portion of the museum. Many of these pieces are large, colorful, quirky, and quite frankly weird. You either get it or you don’t. If you prefer classic art, you will probably not enjoy this section of the museum. Abstract, minimalist, and pop art are highlighted here including colorful pieces by iconic Pittsburgh native Warhol.
Below is a brief photo tour through some of the museum’s more interesting pieces.
Location & Pricing
The Carnegie Museum of Art & Natural History is located at: 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Hours: 10am-5pm (closed on Tuesdays).
Pricing: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and kids ages 3-18.
Metered parking is available (free on Sunday).
Discounts: Half price after 3 on weekdays. Also Bank of America cardholders get in for free on the 1st full weekend of each month. Additional offers and discounts available.
Dining & things to do nearby:
The Cafe Carnegie is located on-site and includes a coffee/wine bar and cafe serving sandwiches, soups, and salads. Also there are a number of local restaurants in close proximity. Pamela’s Diner is known for their crepe style pancakes and has won numerous “best of” awards. Primanti’s is known for their Italian sandwiches and Pasha’s serves excellent Mediterranean fare and the best falafel in town.
Other top rated attractions in the vicinity include the Phipps Conservatory and Schenley Park.