The Carnegie Institute
The Carnegie Museums and Library

The Carnegie Library and Museum in 1930.
The Andrew Carnegie Institute and the Carnegie Institute of Technology, in the background, in 1930.

The Carnegie Institute in Oakland is the home of the Main Branch of the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Music Hall, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Arts. It is located along Forbes Avenue, across from the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

In 1890, industrialist turned philanthopist Andrew Carnegie offered a million dollars for the erection of a free library. When completed in 1895, Carnegie had added a further $35 million for construction of a Museum and Art Gallery, a Technical School, and other attractions.

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh are operated by the Carnegie Institute. The original museum, music hall, and library were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

In addition to the campus in Oakland, the Carnegie Institute also operates two other Pittsburgh signature attractions, the Carnegie Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum, both located on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute
Exhibits arrive for the 1st Carnegie International, hosted in November 1896 and featuring 312 paintings.
The event is the oldest survey of contemporary art in North America.

The roots of the Carnegie Institute go back to real estate heiress Mary Schenley, who in 1889 donated nearly 300 acres of land to Pittsburgh for the creation of Schenley Park. A year later, steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie decided that this would be the location where he would erect a Palace of Culture that would be available to the public.

In 1891, Carnegie Library trustees were authorized to build the Oakland structure on part of the Schenley land. The original building was designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, and included a theater, a library, an art gallery and the museum.

The building’s Romanesque architecture was similar to a style named for Henry Hobson Richardson, designer of the Allegheny County Courthouse. On either side of the music hall entrance were Venetian towers. After seeing the completed building, Carnegie himself was displeased with the towers, refering to them as “donkey’s ears.”

The Carnegie Library and Museum in 1900.
The Andrew Carnegie Institute in 1900, showing the two Venetian Towers that were removed during a 1907 expansion.

The towers were removed in 1907, when the museum underwent a massive expansion. New additions included an elaborate marble foyer in the Music Hall, and the construction of the Hall of Architecture, Hall of Sculpture, Staircase Hall and Hall of Dinosaurs. This expansion was also designed by Longfellow, Alden & Harlow. The Beaux-Arts style was a popular architectural trend in the late-1890s.

The Carnegie Institute remained much the same for sixty-seven years, until in 1974 a third major expansion created the Sarah Scaife Galleries, which were designed by Edward Larabee Barnes. The new structure, built with an emerald pearl granite facade, contains 155,000 square feet of indoor space and a large, enclosed outdoor sculpture court.

The final addition to the Carnegie Institute was completed in 2008, when E. Verner Johnson and Associates transformed a former lightwell into an exhibition space for Dinosaurs in Their Time, which showcases the Natural History Museum’s renowned collection of skeletons and fossils.

The Carnegie Institute is one of the most fascinating places in the City of Pittsburgh, with something of interest for everyone to enjoy. Along with the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now part of Carnegie-Mellon University, it is a fitting tribute to Andrew Carnegie, the man who helped forge Pittsburgh's legendary steel-making heritage.

A view of Oakland in 1910.
A 1910 view of Oakland with the Carnegie Institute and Schenley Park in the distance. The Western University
of Pennsylvania relocated here in 1908 and changed the school's name to the University of Pittsburgh.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Carnegie Museum of Natural History opened in 1896 and is ranked among the top five museums of its type in the United States and has an international reputation for excellence. The 115,000 square foot museum consists of twenty galleries as well as research, library, and office space. It contains over 22 million specimens, of which nearly 10,000 are on view at any given time. Another one million are cataloged in online databases.

The Carnegie Institute
The entrance to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, located along Fifth Avenue.

The museum first made history in 1899 when its scientists unearthed the fossils of a new dinosaur species. The discovery was named Diplodocus carnegii after Andrew Carnegie. An almost complete skeleton is on exhibit at the Museum, and a scale replica stands outside the Carnegie Institute at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Schenley Drive.

The Carnegie Institute
a replica of a Diplodocus carnegii stands outside the Carnegie Institute.

The museum's dinosaur collection includes the world's largest collection of Jurassic specimens and the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibition offers the third largest collection of mounted, displayed dinosaurs in the United States. The collection includes the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton known to date.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute
An ancient mummy from Egypt and two of the many specimens in the dinosaur exhibit.

Other exhibits include the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians, Wyckoff Hall of Arctic Life, Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt, and Benedum Hall of Geology. The museum's Powdermill Nature Reserve was established in 1956 to engage in the long-term studies of natural populations. Teams including Carnegie Institute scientists are still actively engaged in Jurassic-era research.

The Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Institute
The entrance to the Carnegie Museum of Art, located along Fifth Avenue.

The Carnegie Museum of Art was dedicated on November 5, 1895 and was, arguably, the first museum of modern art in the United States. The museum holds a distinguished collection of contemporary art, including film and video works. It has been described in the New York Times as an "unflawed paradise."

The museum's origins can be traced to 1886 when Andrew Carnegie penned his initial concept:

"I am thinking of incorporating with the plan for a library that of an art-gallery in which shall be preserved a record of the progress and development of pictorial art in America".

The art gallery was originally housed in the Carnegie Library. During the Carnegie Institute expansion in 1907, the Hall of Architecture, Hall of Sculpture, and Bruce Galleries were added.

The Carnegie Institute

In 1974, the Sarah Mellon Scaife Gallery was built as an addition to the existing Carnegie Institute. Designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, the 125,000 square foot structure more than doubled the museum's exhibition space. Also added were a children's studio, theater, offices, cafe, and bookstore.

The museum's permanent collection comprises roughly 35,000 works and includes European and American decorative arts from the late seventeenth century to the present, works on paper, paintings, prints and sculptures. The museum also has a large collection of both aluminum artifacts and chairs. Approximately 1,800 works are on view at any given time.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Hall of Architecture has plaster casts of outstanding classical, ancient, and medieval works. The Carnegie Museum of Art went to extraordinary lengths to develop their own large, unique casts. The West Portal of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard is one of a kind, and arguably the largest architectural cast ever made. The Hall houses almost 140 full size plaster casts of elements of buildings found in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other ancient civilizations. It is the largest collection of plaster casts of architectural masterpieces in America and one of the three largest in the world.

The Ailsa Mellon Bruce Galleries contain reproduction bronze casts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Hall of Sculpture is modeled upon the Parthenon's inner sanctuary, and exhibits works from the permanent collections, with its balcony displaying decorative arts objects from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Heinz Architectural Center is dedicated to the collection, study, and exhibition of architectural drawings and models, and the Scaife Galleries focus primarily on European and American art since 1850, including collections of African art, classical and Egyptian art, and older European and American art.

Today, in keeping with the tradition begun in 1896 by Andrew Carnegie, the museum continues to host the Carnegie International every few years.

The Carnegie Music Hall

The Carnegie Institute
The entrance to the Carnegie Music Hall is located along Forbes Avenue, near Schenley Drive.

The Carnegie Music Hall stands adjacent to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Oakland. It is one of only a few accoustically perfect Music Halls constructed by Andrew Carnegie. It is patterned after the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The Music Hall opened to the public on May 10, 1901, just nine days after the opening of the Library. Andrew Carnegie was accompanied by noted educator, astronomer, and optician John A. Brashear at the official dedication of the Free Library and Music Hall on April 22, 1902.

The Carnegie Institute Music Hall    The Carnegie Institute Music Hall

The Music Hall, which includes a balcony level, has an 800 seat capacity. The hall still has the original Mahogany seats, which include a wire frame directly under the seat for a gentleman to store his top hat during a performance.

Still a vibrant location for stage shows, the Carnegie Music Hall continues to be one of Pittsburgh's premier settings for intimate musical and cultural performances.

The Carnegie Science Center and Andy Warhol Museum

The Carnegie Science Center opened in 1991, but has a history that dates back to October 24, 1939, when the Buhl Planetarium first opened on Pittsburgh's North Side. The Carnegie Science Center was formed in a merger between the Carnegie Institute and the Buhl Science Center.

Built at a cost of $40 million, the Carnegie Science Center, located along the North Shore next to Heinz Field, is the most visited museum in Pittsburgh.Among its many attractions, the Science Center contains the Buhl Digital Dome, the Rangos Omnimax Theater, SportsWorks, the Miniature Railroad and Village, and the USS Requin, a vintage World War II submarine.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Andy Warhol Museum opened on May 15, 1994. Located at Sandusky and General Robinson Streets, it is the largest museum in the world dedicated to one artist. The museum's collection includes over 4,000 Warhol art works in all media. There are paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures, including the entire Andy Warhol Video Collection, 228 four minute Screen Tests, and forty-five other films by Warhol.

The Carnegie Institute - 1907
The Carnegie Institute (right), the Schenley Hotel and the Oakland section of Pittsburgh in 1907.

The Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Institute Library    The Carnegie Institute Library
The ornate outer facade and the decorative interior of the Carnegie Library in Oakland.

The Carnegie Free Libraries in Pittsburgh were first established in 1889 with the opening of the Braddock and Allegheny City (North Side) Libraries. The original library in Oakland, soon to become part of the planned Carnegie Institute, opened in 1895. The libraries were all built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie.

The first free library built by Carnegie was in his home town of Dunfermline, Scotland. Between 1883 and 1929, a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries were built, including some belonging to public and university library systems. Of these, 1,689 were built in the United States, including several in the City of Pittsburgh. Today, there are nineteen branches in operation throughout Pittsburgh, many of which date back to the late-1800s and early-1900s.

Carnegie Library Logo

Branch offices are located in Allegheny (North Side), Beechview, Brookline, Carrick, Downtown and Business, East Liberty, Hazelwood, Hill District, Homewood, Knoxville, Lawrenceville, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Bloomfield), Oakland, Mount Washington, Sheraden, South Side, Squirrel Hill, West End and Woods Run

The Carnegie Libraries are one of the best and brightest educational and historical assets in the City of Pittsburgh. Together with the other departments of the Carnegie Institute, they are a lasting reminder of the generosity of Andrew Carnegie, a man who dedicated his later life to the preservation of history and culture throughout the world.

Vintage Pittsburgh Branches of the Carnegie Library

North Side - Allegheny City
The Allegheny City Library, the first free library commissioned in Pittsburgh.

Homewood    Mount Washington
The Carnegie Libraries in Homewood (left) and Mount Washington.

Lawrenceville    Lawrenceville
The Carnegie Libraries in Hazelwood (left) and Lawrenceville.

West End    South Side
The Carnegie Libraries on the West End (left) and on the South Side.

The first library completed in Pittsburgh was the Braddock branch, which was
available to the steel workers who worked for Andrew Carnegie.

Vintage Postcard Images Of The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute and Carnegie Technology School
 with Schenley Park in the background.

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute

The Carnegie Institute    The Carnegie Institute.

The Carnegie Institute.

Links To Carnegie Institute Attractions

The Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Museum Of Art

The Carnegie Museum Of Natural History

The Carnegie Music Hall

The Carnegie Science Center

The Andy Warhol Museum

Carnegie Museums Of Pittsburgh

Aerial Views Of Oakland Showing The Carnegie Institute
(1930 and 1995)

An aerial view of Oakland showing the University of Pittsburgh,
the Carnegie Institute and the city of Pittsburgh.

An aerial view of Oakland showing the University of Pittsburgh,
the Carnegie Institute and the city of Pittsburgh.

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