ASTC 2022: What's Next

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and Museum Lab

ASTC 2022 Annual Conference
September 12–15, 2022
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

logos of Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Museum Lab
Photograph by Ed Massery, Massery Photography Inc. 412-654-8464; digital – Tom Underiner~Pixel River 412-427-9550; Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (412) 322-5058.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP) is an anchor on Pittsburgh’s North Side as a trusted leader in creative learning for children, youth and families. Our mission is to provide innovative and inclusive museum experiences that inspire kindness, joy, creativity and curiosity for all learners. We forge connections with artists, community partners, and neighbors to work on behalf of children, youth, and families. Our vision is to transform education.

Museum Lab in in the former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny. Photo by Joshua Franzos, courtesy Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

CMP opened in 1983 with significant mentorship from Fred Rogers, whose teachings and philosophy we continue to build on today. Since then we have grown into the largest cultural campus for children in the United States by expanding into the former Buhl Planetarium Building in 2004; creating MuseumLab for youth and teens in 2019 in the former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny (the first library ever commissioned by Andrew Carnegie); renovating the nearby Buhl Community Park; and welcoming many on-site partners who work with or on behalf of children and families.

Photo of former Buhl Planetarium
The former Buhl Planetarium, now part of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

CMP sees more than 307,000 people annually, including visiting families, school groups, afterschool youth, and attendees of community-based events. It was voted one of the nation’s Best Museums for Families in USA TODAY’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Contest in 2022. Permanent interactive exhibits in CMP include The Art Studio, Waterplay, Garage, MAKESHOP® and Kindness Gallery. MuseumLab offers a makerspace with new metals studio and exhibit spaces that focus on a layered slate of activities and themes in science, tech, art and making. In a setting of “beautiful ruin”, MuseumLab’s spaces marry its historic 1890s architecture with modern amenities, accessible features and a slew of installation art.

We are known as an expert in the museum field for interactive design, including creating branded blockbusters exhibits through collaborations with Pixar, the Rube Goldberg family, Fred Rogers Productions, and authors/illustrators Eric Carle and Mo Willems. These exhibits have toured to museums, libraries, and art centers across the United States, reaching nearly 500,000 people. CMP also creates and consults on exhibit components, fixtures and furnishings, and provides a wide variety of research services and maker education for peer institutions and other organizations that serve family audiences. We are proud to have contributed to the creation of groundbreaking venues such as the first sensory friendly room at an airport, Pressley’s Place at Pittsburgh International Airport, and the Center for Aviation Technology and Training at Hosannah House.

children doing hands-on activities at Make Lab at Museum Lab
Make Lab at Museum Lab. Photo courtesy Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Through a commitment to sustainable and accessible practices, the expanded CMP was certified as one of the first green museums, achieving Silver LEED certification from the US Green Building Council in 2006. MuseumLab is a high-performance, sustainable building, reaching Gold LEED certification and being awarded the first Universal Design Certification from the IDEA Center at SUNY Buffalo’s School of Architecture in 2019.

Learn more about sustainability at MuseumLab during a Preconference ASTC Intensive on Sunday, September 11, 2022 – sign up now!

On any given day, our exhibits and programs feature social and emotional learning, the intersection of old and new technologies, artist residencies, creative climbing structures, and an overall commitment to experiment, play, and learn with real stuff. Our on-site partners add to the activity and diversity of the campus, including two on-site Pittsburgh Public School PreK/Headstart classrooms, Manchester Academic Charter Middle School, Allies for Children, SLB Radio Productions, Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

As co-host of the ASTC Annual Conference with Carnegie Science Center, CMP is thrilled to welcome attendees back to the first in-person conference since 2019, and excited to make it a memorable one! 

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