When the Carnegie Institute opened in 1895, this hybrid institution—comprised of museums, a library, and a music hall—occupied the grand, historical spaces that would eventually become known as the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the storied Carnegie Music Hall. The architectural firm behind these historic structures was Longfellow, Alden & Harlow, who had close ties to the influential Henry Hobson Richardson, creator of the Allegheny County Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh.
A decade later, the Carnegie Institute underwent a massive expansion, adding galleries, social spaces, and works of art. This addition included the Grand Staircase, adorned with John White Alexander’s mural, The Crowning of Labor, the Hall of Sculpture, modeled after the Greek Parthenon, and the Hall of Architecture, which presents plaster casts of historic European masterpieces.
In 1974, renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes added to the grandeur of Carnegie Institute with the Sarah Mellon Scaife Galleries, which expanded the spaces dedicated to Carnegie Museum of Art. Barnes elevated the new galleries to an upper floor and clad them in Norwegian Larvikite stone, with ample natural light streaming in through roof lights. Working in collaboration with the legendary landscape architect Dan Kiley, the exterior spaces of the museum include the Sculpture Court and Fountain Plaza, complete with large-scale outdoor sculptures, such as Richard Serra’s Carnegie.
During your next visit to the museum, we encourage you to take in the architectural wonders of our building and its surrounding works of art.