Wednesday, 5 August 2015

PITTSBURGH: Dinosaurs Galore - Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Carnegie Museum

Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History is often ranked as one of the top five (or ten depending what survey you follow) Natural History Museums in the USA. With 20 galleries and over 22 million specimens, the museum is most well known for it's collection of dinosaurs. First making history in 1899 with the unearthing of Diplodcus Carnegli fossils, today the Carnegie includes the world's largest collection of Jurassic dinosaurs and the third largest collection of mounted and displayed dino's in the USA. So if you love dinosaurs like Joe does, this has to be one of the places on your bucket list.  

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The Dinosaurs in Their Time was the exhibit we spent the most time wandering around. Arranged chronologically you get a great glimpse of not only the scale but of the environments and life (take the two battling T-Rex's as an example - image 2) these creatures lived in. As someone that really struggles to comprehend the scale and life of such creatures it's really eye opening and informative. Plus it's accessible to someone like me who's not as knowledgeable about dino's and even if you do, there's plenty to keep you interested.

With nearly 75% of the exhibits featuring actual fossils it's a great immerse display. Additionally through viewing windows you can watch palaeontologists working on prehistoric fossils - cleaning them up for display. 

Plus it constantly amazes me how dinosaurs are closely related to birds ... head blown. 

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Entering into the Hall of Fossil Mammals you'll come across everything from the evolution of the horse (image above the fish), to mammoths, giant sloths, the Irish Elk and fishes. It certainly opens your eyes to evolutionary change and of all the creatures no longer around. 

I have to be honest, we mainly visited so Joe could see the dinosaurs and mammal fossils but there's lot of other things to spark your interest. There's actually lots of taxidermy displays in the halls of American & African Wildlife but that's really not my thing (freaks me out a lot) so we quickly bypassed those. 

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If anthropology is more your cup of tea up on the higher levels you'll find three great exhibits based around Polar Life, Ancient Egypt and Native Americans. The latter I found the most interesting as it focuses on native American relationships with the natural world alongside arts & crafts but often presented within a local context of Pittsburgh. 

Carnegie Museum

It's well worth spending some time just taking in your surroundings while at the museum. The grand staircases to gorgeous paneling on the lifts, fabulous artwork and tiling, it's a beautiful building and as you enter you're greeted with fabulous pieces of contemporary artwork and fountains. Plus they do this really great thing of rather than printing tickets, you get a little tag as in the first image which you can slip around your wrist or get inventive, of which alongside your museum map your encouraged to hand in to recycle after your visit. Impressive. 

The Carnegie Natural History Museum is well, well worth the $19.95 charge each for entry (ticket cost gets you into both the natural history & art museum) and you could spend hours there. We certainly would have spent a lot longer wandering around if we hadn't worn ourselves out with walking the two days previous and driving hundreds of miles in the morning before arriving. Hey we're getting old. Sadly we missed out on the gem display and all the art galleries, both of which are on my visit list for next time.

Fancy feeling dwarfed by some dinosaurs for yourself? 
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, 15213

Do you like your natural history?!

PS. You can also revisit my post about my visit to the Carnegie Science Museum and it's model railroad back in November 2014. 

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