Carnegie Museum of Natural History

For more information, contact: Leigh Kish
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
412.622.3361 (0), 412.526.8587 (C)

September 25, 2012


BugWorks explores the anatomy of insects and how these physical forms work
A collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Mellon University School of Design

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Observe insects up-close, and see the world through the eyes of insects to figure out how bugs work. Now open at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, BugWorks provides the rare opportunity to get up-close and personal with a few creepy crawlies and the Carnegie scientists who study them, through large-scale photographs, models, video, specimens, and illustrations, and terraria of live insects. BugWorks is a collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) School of Design, and features exhibition elements designed and developed by CMU students as part of their senior capstone course. This collaboration and BugWorks are funded by The Fine Foundation and the Henry Lea Hillman, Jr. Foundation.
BugWorksfocuses on the anatomy of various insects. For example, the lubber grasshopper has very long hind legs, which gives it the unimaginable ability to jump distances up to 20 times the length of its body. Examine the forms of different body parts to determine the functions or abilities of that particular bug, much like scientists do. Learn about the wide-ranging “jobs” a bug can do, from pollination to decomposition, and see how diverse, and sometimes downright bizarre, the insect world can be.
The stars of the exhibition are alive: a giant water bug, an Emperor scorpion, darkling beetles, Allegheny crayfish, a young tarantula, and some lubber grasshoppers. Other highlights include:

  • Large-scale Gigaprints of insects—incredibly detailed, high-resolution photographs
  • Six enclosures of live bugs going about their daily activities
  • Specimens from the museum’s own bug collections
  • Video vignettes of Carnegie scientists behind-the-scenes in the insect collection
  • An interactive photo booth to snap a picture with a favorite insect—Bring your camera! 
  • Bug blueprints that illustrate the forms of insect anatomy
  • Photographs from a bug’s-eye view, showing environments from the perspective of insects
  • Take-home collection cards of western Pennsylvania insects
  • Map of western Pennsylvania for visitors to show what bugs they’ve seen near their homes

BugWorks is on view through July 28, 2013, and is free with museum admission.

Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems engages scientists from collaborating institutions worldwide to understand, manage, and sustain the health of local and global ecosystems. It utilizes the museum’s vast collection and the environmental research center Powdermill Nature Reserve as a living laboratory for ecological research and as a site for visiting researchers and educators studying the mid-Appalachian ecosystem. The Center creates interdisciplinary research and educational projects that address some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time: questions regarding changes to the environment—past, present, and future—and how these changes affect nature and human cultures. The Center for Biodiversity and Ecosystems launched in January 2011 and is under the direction of John Rawlins.


Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website,