Tag: Museums

  • Carnegie Institute

    Music Hall entrance

    The titanic Carnegie Institute building was designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects. Above: the Music Hall entrance. Below: the main building seen from the west, across Forbes Avenue.

    Carnegie Institute
  • Carnegie Science Center

    The Carnegie Science Center was designed by Tasso Katselas, and in Father Pitt’s opinion the design worked very well for its intended purposes. It had to be flexible enough to house many different kinds of exhibitions. It had to look sciencey. Most important, it had to enthrall children. It does all those things. Old Pa Pitt would never pick this as the most beautiful building on the North Side, but it has been a favorite destination for a generation of Pittsburgh children, many of whom have actually walked out better educated than they were when they walked in.

  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Oakland

    Soldiers and Sailors Memorial

    In 2000, a planting of deep burgundy celosia gave old Pa Pitt the opportunity to take this picture with his beloved Kodak Retinette.

  • Stephen Foster Memorial

    Stephen Foster Memorial

    One of the cluster of Gothic buildings by Charles Z. Klauder at the heart of the University of Pittsburgh, this looks like the baptistery for the Cathedral of Learning. It houses a museum of Stephen Foster, two theaters, and the Ethelbert Nevin Collection. There was a time when Ethelbert Nevin might have got a museum of his own, but he missed his chance, and now he is an appendix to Stephen Foster.

  • Elevator in the Grand Staircase, Carnegie Institute

    Elevator doors

    One of the exceptionally elegant elevators in the Grand Staircase of the Carnegie Museums in Oakland.

    Elevator interior
  • The Noble Quartet Turns 125



    In honor of the 125th anniversary of the Carnegie Institute, the Noble Quartet—science, art, music, and literature, as represented by four of their most famous exponents—were gaily bedecked with floral wreaths. It’s a good look for them. The statues are by J. Massey Rhind, one of Andrew Carnegie’s favorite artists.







  • Carnegie International Medal of Honor

    The first Carnegie International was held in 1896, and it immediately became one of the most important exhibitions of modern art in the world. Andrew Carnegie believed in encouraging artists by collecting the old masters of tomorrow, and many priceless works have been acquired for the Carnegie’s collection from International exhibitions.

    This Medal of Honor was designed for the Carnegie by Tiffany & Co. It was reproduced in the catalogue of the 1899 International, which is a beautiful publication from the golden age of American printing.

  • Butterflies in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

    Thousands of drawers like these are in the Carnegie, one of the world’s top natural-history museums. Every once in a while the curators take out a few drawers from the bug collection and display them on the wall near the Grand Staircase.

  • Grand Staircase in the Carnegie

    The Grand Staircase is the heart of the old Carnegie Institute building, and no expense was spared in making it lavishly artistic. The murals are by John White Alexander, a Pittsburgh native who was in his day almost as well regarded as John Singer Sargent.

  • The Andy Warhol Museum

    Pittsburghers who remember the days before we had the largest museum in the world dedicated to a single artist will remember this as the Volkwein’s building, which housed one of the largest music stores in North America. (Volkwein’s moved to the western suburbs, where the tradition of carrying more music than anyone else continues.) But it was built as a warehouse for the Frick & Lindsay Company, a purveyor of “industrial supplies.” If warehouses were commonly as splendid as this, there would be regularly scheduled tours of the warehouse district.

    No one knows who designed the original building, but in a Post-Gazette article from 1993 (when the building was under restoration), Walter Kidney suggests the William G. Wilkins Co. (Update: We have confirmed that the William G. Wilkins company were the architects.1 Specifically, the building seems to have been designed by Joseph F. Kuntz, who worked for Wilkins.) The details were originally in terra cotta, but the cornice had been entirely removed and other details were damaged. During the restoration, the cornice and some of the other decorations were reconstructed in glass-reinforced concrete from photographs, records, and imagination.

    The Frick of Frick & Lindsay was William Frick, a distant relative of the famous robber baron Henry Clay Frick.

    Camera: Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z3. The picture of the whole building below is a composite from six photographs.
    1. Source: The Construction Record, January 13, 1912: “Architect William G. Wilkins Co., 200 Ninth street, have plans nearly completed for a six-story brick, terra cotta, steel and concrete warehouse to be constructed on Reliance street and Rose alley, Northside, for the Frick & Lindsay Company. Cost $90,000.” January 27, 1912: “Architects William G. Wilkins Company, 200 Ninth street, are taking bids on the foundations for a warehouse building, 103×110 feet, six stories and basement, to be built on Reliance and Sandusky streets, Northside, for the Frick & Lindsay Company, 109 Wood street. The building will be of brick and probably terra cotta, steel and reinforced concrete. Plans for the superstructure will be ready about February 1.” Rose Alley is now Silver Street; General Robinson Street was formerly Robinson Street; it must have been called “Reliance” very briefly when duplicate street names were eliminated in Pittsburgh and the new North Side, but the name does not show up in 1910 or 1923. ↩︎