10 September 2013
I grew up just outside of Washington, DC, within an easy metro ride of the Smithsonian museums, so I consider myself a bit spoiled. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate other museums when I see them, and this weekend when I was down in Pittsburgh, I got to see the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. In terms of collections and curation, it’s pretty darn impressive. It must be nice to have a rich patron!
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh were founded in 1895 by (you guessed it) Andrew Carnegie. The Museum of Natural History is a great resource for the local universities (the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon are right there), and the friend from Pitt’s geology department who gave me a tour has spent a lot of time working there. There are top-notch dinosaur and mineral collections, and I spent a good chunk of time being intensely jealous that Pitt geology students get to use them in classes! And there is a life-size Diplodocus named “Dippy” out front, which just catapulted me into geologist heaven.
Naturally, I spent a lot of time ogling the sparkly rocks.
Fluorescent minerals are always drool-worthy, too.
The dinosaur hall was just as impressive. (Sometimes it’s just fun to squeal like a little kid over dinosaurs – and I’m pretty sure we did more squealing than the little kids that were there!)
After the dinosaur-squealing, we had lunch and swung by the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. And when they say ‘cathedral’, they’re not kidding! It’s the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere and it’s covered in Indiana Limestone, which means in addition to looking awesome from a distance, it’s full of teeny little fossils, too.
Walking through the inside is, I kid you not, like being at Hogwarts.
And just to reinforce the Hogwarts reference, there was Quidditch practice outside.
Working on my thesis doesn’t leave me a lot of time for relaxing, but I had a great time visiting Pittsburgh (and it’s not all that far away from Buffalo, either!)