Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Brings New Life to the Former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny in Its Award-Winning Renovation
Congratulations to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for expanding its campus to include the former Carnegie Free Library on Pittsburgh’s North Side. PHLF saved that building when the City of Pittsburgh wanted to demolish it during the era of urban renewal. Working with grassroots North Side groups, PHLF collected 7,000 signatures on a petition and presented it to City Council to save the building.
PHLF President Arthur Ziegler and Executive Director Louise Sturgess were among the hundreds of people who attended the grand opening of the Children’s Museum “Museum Lab” on April 25. See the gallery below of photos of the architectural details that have been revealed in the brilliant restoration/reuse of the 1890 landmark that now provides maker-space for children ages 10 to 14, and educational space for several partner organizations.
One of the partner organizations is the Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS). Beginning in late August 2019, the middle school will occupy the second floor of the former library. In anticipation of this move, PHLF has involved MACS students in field trips, radio interviews, and art activities over the past few years, thanks to funding support from the McSwigan Family Foundation. The goal is to help students become more knowledgeable about their North Side home and more aware of the value that comes from recycling historic landmarks.
In April and May, MACS art teachers Emily Newman and Hassan Sharif are involving their fifth- through eighth-grade students in creating original art based on architectural details of North Side landmarks. Beginning in May, Greg Pytlik, PHLF’s free-lance designer, will incorporate the student artwork, photographs, and other materials to create a permanent art installation for the new middle school. The artwork will be unveiled in late August, at the opening of the 2019-20 school year. It will show the beauty and unique character of the North Side and will help students feel more connected to their new home. In addition, SLB Radio will install a Story-Box featuring audio recordings of famous North Siders who shared their stories with MACS students and comments by MACS students, recorded by teaching artist Randall Coleman.
“We are grateful to The Fine Foundation for funding this collaborative project,” said Louise Sturgess. “We are impressed with the artwork that the students have created so far and are inspired by the raw beauty of the original building that the Children’s Museum has revealed in its award-winning renovation. It is most appropriate to feature student artwork in a building that has been renewed for the benefit of children.”