Pittsburgh’s Northside has a new attraction: The Museum Lab, created by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and geared toward children, ages 10 and older, and families.
The Museum Lab opened in April, and is “the largest cultural campus for children and families in the country,” says Bill Schlageter, marketing director.
“We are offering the kind of authenticity that is necessary to spark the imaginations of kids who are ages 10 and older,” he says. “They’re at the point in their lives when they are beginning to make some decisions in what it is they are interested in and exploring those decisions.”
The Museum Lab is in the former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, next to the Children’s Museum on the Northside.
In addition to the Children’s Museum and Museum Lab, the Northside, one of the city’s most vibrant commercial and artistic areas, is also home to the National Aviary, Carnegie Science Center, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Andy Warhol Museum, New Hazlett Theater, City of Asylum and more. The historic Mexican War Streets boast Victorian-era houses, and the stately mansions that once lined Ridge Avenue in the 19th century prompted the street to be fondly known as “Millionaire’s Row.”
The Museum Lab also is one of the venues for this year’s Remake Learning Days. Therefore, in an effort to urge families with children 10 and older to see the new space, the Museum Lab will offer discounted admission of $8 from 1-7 p.m., May 13-17.
The lab features a Make Lab, Tech Lab and Studio Lab. The Make Lab, started in 2011, has been “scaled up” for the age group the Museum Lab caters to, Schlageter says. There is an entire section devoted to fabric — weaving, sewing, and creating. Also, children 10 and older now can use real tools, engage in soldering activities “and let their imaginations run wild creating their wiry creations,” Schlageter says.
“In this fast-paced world we live in, parents are often challenged — ‘What is it that is going to spark my 10-year-old’s imagination?’” Schlageter says. “At Museum Lab, they can dive a little deeper and have an experience, and learn, and maybe one thing sparks another that sparks another, that helps those connective parts of our brain land on things we want to explore more.”
Although this is the first year the Museum Lab will participate in Remake Learning Days, the Children’s Museum has been involved since the inception of Remake Learning Days.
“The spirit of Remake Learning Days is offering youth and families the opportunity to experience a wealth of activities by making those activities not only available at Children’s Museum, but all of our sister organizations within southwestern Pennsylvania,” Schlageter says.
Providence Family Support Center had “an absolutely amazing time” participating in last year’s Remake Learning Days, so they’re eagerly looking forward to this year, says Rebecca McDonough, assistant director of early childhood and youth programs.
This year, the nonprofit will host a variety of indoor and outdoor activities aimed at recycling and reducing waste. As part of this program, Providence Family Support Center’s Make Educator Kelly Hall will create sculpture projects made from recycled materials, McDonough says.
The mission of this organization, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is strengthening families and enriching lives within our community.
This is accomplished, she says, through early childhood programs, summer camp, family support and adult enrichment classes.
The family support program, for instance, has specialists who visit homes and set goals for strengthening families, McDonough says. Families may need finding employment or education subsidies, or help with applying for subsidies.
There also are family unity nights that allow parents and children to have fun together, she says.
As part of its community project last year, Providence Family Support Center’s families created memorial jars in response to the Oct. 27 Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.
“They painted them, attached ribbons, and created a video of the project,” McDonough says.
Remake Learning has been a boon for this nonprofit, she says. Providence Family Support Center received a grant through Remake Learning, allowing it to improve cooking classes it offered and its Maker space.
“Remake Learning gives us a lot of different professional help to better project-based learning at our site,” she says.
Gwen’s Girls, which aims to have empower African American girls and young women to have productive futures by providing holistic gender-specific programs, education and experiences, is one of four Northside organizations participating in Remake Learning Days this year.
The organization’s project this year is titled, “The Science of Beauty.”
“We are looking at scientific components of nature and beauty,” says Meredith Murray, educational consultant. “We will be putting together terrariums and studying properties of light. We’ll also be making natural, organic beauty products.”
The aim, she says, is “to expose the girls to hands-on science and learning, and be better informed in how science is all around them and how all that fits into nature.”
Self-empowerment is key to what Gwen’s Girls advocates. “Grooming is part of that,” Murray says. “Being comfortable in their skin, feeling beautiful, identifying products that help support them and are not damaging, that are ecofriendly.”
Remake Learning Days, Murray adds, gives groups like Gwen’s Girls a forum.
“A lot of the material we get through Remake Learning, we would not be able get to touch our audience,” she says. “It puts us in a collective and collaborative environment with similar minded groups. It gives us a stronger and louder voice to promote the same things.”
We would like to thank The Buhl Foundation for their generous support of Remake Learning Days in the Northside.
For a full schedule of Remake Learning Days events on the Northside, please visit here. Below are a few sample events.
4 – 5 p.m., Thursday, May 9 | Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Allegheny
Experiment, play and learn in an interactive technology featuring a variety of robots to explore. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) All Hands On Tech programs support learning and literacy by introducing children to technology.
4 – 6 p.m., Friday, May 10 | Providence Family Support Center
Reduce, Remake, Recycle is an all-ages community event in the Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood on the north side of Pittsburgh. Providence Family Support Center will host a variety of indoor and outdoor activities – including a special workshop in our Maker Space! Come find out what we’re all about and connect with some of our amazing partners around themes of reducing waste. Snacks and drinks will be provided.
5 – 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 14 | Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Educators from both formal and informal settings are invited to see and experience Museum Lab – a new museum for children, ages 10 and older, created by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. See the amazing transformation of the former Free Library of Pittsburgh and work with Museum artist and makers on exciting special projects and activities. Light refreshments will be provided. To Register: please email a note of interest to Carol Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, May 18 | Gwen’s Girls
Gwen’s Girls is committed to providing programming that empowers girls and enriches their lives through experiences and services. This event will be open to the community and provide an opportunity for girls and boys to engage in hands-on STEAM focused activities. The local community will have an opportunity learn more about Gwen’s Girls and services provide in Allegheny County.