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 7, 2011


M is for Museum, at Carnegie Museum of Natural History is an exciting journey into the behind-the-scenes world of natural history museums
October 15, 2011–August 30, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… At Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s new exhibition M is for Museum, discover how museums help explore and explain nature in all its wonder and the cultures of the world. Organized around the ABCs, the exhibition is an interactive journey into the world of amazing natural history collections and the scientists who collect, care for, and study them. The experience is a hands-on, multi-sensory learning adventure encouraging curious children, especially 5- to 13-year-olds, to explore what happens behind-the-scenes at one of America’s best natural history museums. M is for Museum opens October 15, 2011—Members only 10 a.m.–noon; public opening at noon—in the R.P. Simmons Family Gallery at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

M is for Museum is a project of the Center for Lifelong Science Learning. M is for Museum is sponsored in part by, online education powered by K12, and Supercuts.

Exhibition ABCs 

In M is for Museum, discover what it’s like to work inside a world-class natural history museum. Role play in various museum settings. Discover, closely investigate, and handle specimens like those collected, studied, and cared for by Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Through interactive audio and video, meet the staff members and scientists who preserve and conduct research in the collections, and learn how and why these people do these important jobs. Make your way through the exhibition and discover how the skills people use every day—looking, drawing, sorting, questioning, considering evidence, and problem solving—are fundamental to scientific research. 

There is a station in the exhibition for every letter of the alphabet. Highlights include:

  • C is for Collect. Collections are the backbone of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Focus on specimens and what people learn from them. Meet the staff members who organize and care for the thousands of birds, millions of bugs, and storerooms full of other specimens. Gather specimens and create a collection of your own for display in M is for Museum.  
  • F is for Fossil. The museum houses many fossils of plants and animals from millions of years ago. Examine fossils from the museum’s invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology collections. Learn what a fossil is, where they come from, and how they differ from one another. 
  • L is for Look. Scientists use special tools to get an up-close look at the specimens they are studying. Conduct your own examinations using hand lenses and special microscopes. Look at specimens from the museum's collections including snail shells, bird wings, bones, insects, plants, and fossils. 
  • P is for Powdermill Nature Reserve. At Powdermill Nature Reserve, the environmental research station of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, migratory birds are weighed, measured, and banded, where a small ring-like band with identification numbers is placed on the ankle of each bird. Here you can band a replica bird and collect data by weighing, measuring, and examining your bird. 
  • Z is for the Zone. The Zone is a kids’ play area. Put on a puppet show, read a book, or take a close look at some of your favorite animals in the Zone!  

M is Museum and Carnegie Museum of Natural History 

M is for Museum is a project of the Center for Lifelong Science Learning of Carnegie Museum of Natural History to share with visitors what happens behind-the-scenes at a museum and to underscore the important role that collections and research at natural history museums play in understanding our world. The collections held by Carnegie Museum of Natural History make the museum one of the world’s most important libraries of nature and human cultures. Containing more than 22 million specimens collected and acquired through more than a century of museum work, the collection is an irreplaceable record of a changing planet and its species. Likewise, the research accomplished by Carnegie scientists and researchers from around the world using these collections generates knowledge that helps us to better understand the world around us and how to manage its resources.

Special Events 

Bugs and Butterflies Ball: a gala event for families!
Friday, October 14, 2011
6–9 p.m.
Adults: $125; Children (17 and under): $50
Call 412.578.2479 or purchase tickets online at Tickets will not be mailed.

Mark your calendars for the ultimate play date for kids and grown-ups alike! Celebrate the opening of our newest exhibition, M is for Museum, with exclusive tours, delicious food, themed cocktails and "mocktails," and a chance to explore the museum in a party atmosphere. Guided by the ABCs, discover the wonders of one of America's best natural history museums.  

Family-friendly and children's activities will abound! Costumes welcome, but wear whatever expresses your mood—butterfly, bee, or basically beautiful!  

M is for Museum Member Opening
October 15, 2011
10 a.m.–noon
Members have the first opportunity to experience M is for Museum with exclusive hours. Members, watch your email for details about this event.

T is for Taxidermy
Saturday, November 5
10:30–3 p.m.
Free with museum admission.

Join us for our first special event focused on the new exhibition M is for Museum! Stephen Rogers, manager of the museum’s bird, reptile, and amphibian collections, presents a demonstration of specimen preparation techniques using models, glue, and animal skins. Rogers has practiced taxidermy for over 30 years and is an expert on preparing specimens for our collections and displays. Explore behind-the-scenes in our ornithology collection, which numbers at 195,000 specimens and includes study skins, birds in alcohol, skeletons, and “stuffed birds.” Family activities include matching animals to their skins and drawing mounted animal specimens of all shapes and sizes.

Center for Lifelong Science Learning 

The Center for Lifelong Science Learning brings together museum staff and partners from area universities, community organizations, and national experts devoted to science education to conduct and explore research into informal science learning—the many ways people learn about science in settings outside school classrooms, such as museums and community organizations. The Center links these theories and practice so that the research findings are applied in the development of new educational programs and exhibitions for all ages. This research is catalyzing changes in our museum, including more immersive experiences, exciting hands-on interactions, and expanded access to collections for museum visitors. The Center for Lifelong Science Learning was launched in November 2010 and is under the direction of Mary Ann Steiner.


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,