Carnegie Museums Battle It Out

Oct 19, 2015

What's your favorite exhibit at the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh?
Credit Ctj71081 / Flickr

A Vincent van Gogh painting vs. a T-rex vs. the USS Requin submarine vs. Andy Warhol’s “Flowers.”

After 120 years, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh are finally going to duel it out… in the form of an online survey.

“We thought as a celebration we’d do a kind of fun, bracket-style competition in which we put the collection objects from each of the museums against one another in a kind of vote-off over the course of the next three weeks,” said Jonathan Gaugler , media relations manager at Carnegie Museum  of Art.

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh created “Clash of the Carnegies” in order to determine which museum claims reign over the city.

“We really wanted to focus this on the collection. Over the last 120 years, the four museums have assembled just amazing collections of objects.”

Gaugler says the competition has three rounds. During the first part, voters will select up to three out of six objects from each museum. In the second round, participants can only select one object. In the third and final round, voters will have to pick just one object out of all four museums. It’s here where the winning museum is chosen, according to Gaugler.

The objects to be voted on were the museums’ staff favorites, but also the ones most commonly posted on social media or have been around for 100 years, where a voter’s parents may have taken him or her as a child.

“Really it’s to show that across these four museums the diversity of the collections that we hold and it’s pretty outstanding,” said Gaugler. “There’s a fun element to competition, so over the next few weeks we’ll see what the public responds to, maybe do a little trash talk in between the museums.”

Gaugler says he hopes the Museum of Art wins since he has a “special affinity” for the art there.  And besides, “how can you come up against the cast of the façade of the church of Saint-Gilles and not come away amazed?” he asks.

But for those with an interest in science, he won’t judge their decisions.

“We’re sister institutions, so think about how ugly it can get between brothers and sisters. You kind of squabble and you have your sibling rivalries, that’s the best way to express it I’d say, so at the end of the day we all love each other but that will be as ugly as it will get,” said Gaugler.

The winner will be announced on November 14 at the Museum of Natural History at a “birthday party” for all four museums, according to Gaugler.

Gaugler also mentioned that the museums now have a subscription-type mobile membership where an individual pays $6.25 a month and gets access to all four museums. He said it was perfect if you want to pop in to see your favorite exhibit whenever you want and don’t want a “marathon where you have to see everything in the museum.”

Anyone who votes in the contest is automatically entered to win a premium membership with behind the scenes museum experiences.

A video was compiled honoring the museums' 120th birthday as well as bringing attention to the competition featuring  Mayor Bill Peduto, local reporters including WESA's own Josh Raulerson and other Pittsburghers.