Named One of the Top 10 Best Museums for Families in 2017 by USA Today, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has been committed to creating a place of “real stuff” experiences for play and learning ever since they opened their doors on June 12, 1983. This museum serves multiple locations, including the North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the City of Pittsburgh, and surrounding counties including Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland; individuals and families, however, come from all areas nationwide. While serving around 306,000 visitors annually, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh provides the following permanent exhibits: The Studio, MAKESHOP, Waterplay, the Nursery, and the Backyard. With their continued focus on imagination and inclusion, this award winning museum is creating a space for everyone to enjoy.
Through my research of The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s website, their financial statements, articles related to children’s museums, and other resourceful information, I found many strengths within the non profit organization. They have a large donation following, receiving in-kind donations anywhere from gifts of monetary value, to sums of money from $100 to over $200,000. Donations of any stature help tremendously within nonprofit organizations because they use these funds to keep the institution open and running. Having financial stability is every nonprofit’s goal, making grant allocation easier and long-term retention more common. Also, they have created partnerships with organizations such as Allies for Children, Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh, The Saturday Light Brigade, Head Start/Pre-K Classrooms for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments. These particular partnerships are more in-line with being promotional partners for each other because they are organizations that complement Children’s Museum and have similar missions. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is helping these organizations with resources and the creation of more opportunities. This museum also has a very diverse Board of Directors which follows in line with their mission of being Committed to Diversity through the inclusion of visitors, staff, and board members. In 2015-2016 they were creating revenue. Their wide range of studio classes, events, workshops, and thirteen exhibits to view and experience enables visitors to return with new things to do every time. This information can be found in their 2016 Annual Report.
With their ongoing list of strengths, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh has a few weaknesses. The first major weakness that I found was their social media platforms. They have a decent number of followers but not a lot of interaction with their posts as in likes, comments, or shares.
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the #GreatAmericanEclipse! We made pinhole projectors, listened to folktales about eclipses from around the world, and witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event together. . It made our hearts so happy to see everyone sharing their viewing glasses and homemade projectors with their neighbors so that everyone was able to experience the eclipse. 🌘❤️🕶 . [image 1: a woman telling a folktale about eclipses to a group of young children before the eclipse. Image 2: a young boy viewing the eclipse through glasses. Image 3: A mother and young boy viewing the eclipse. The boy is using a viewing device he created and his mother is wearing welding glasses. Image 4: A mom, dad, and daughter sitting in the grass, viewing the eclipse through safe viewing glasses. Image 5: a young girl viewing the eclipse through safe viewing glasses. She is with her mother and a few other women in the background. They are sitting on the steps of the Old Buhl Planetarium, now the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.] . #eclipse #eclipse2017 #solareclipse #solareclipse2017 #pghkids #kidsburgh #pgh #lovepgh #burgh #pittsburgh
Also, there is not a huge emphasis on the collection artwork in the museum. They are very focused on the hands-on exhibits, but there is permanent and rotating artwork within the museum that seems to be often overlooked and passed. The cost of admission, $16 for adults, is a higher price than most other children’s museums in the United States and they only have one food option for a very large facility.
Any company or organization has opportunities to grow and develop their institution. One opportunity that has been shown in “Museum Notes” (https://museumnotes.blogspot.com/2012/09/) is the increased parental interests in museums and for their children to gain the experience and knowledge museums withhold. With this interest, there is the opportunity to create classes or events for parents to learn things to take home to teach their children they can do on an everyday basis, not just at a museum. They could also take their weakness of not having a great deal of focus on the collection of artwork they have housed there and give it a greater emphasis. The collection could be utilized with education initiatives and events like artist talks surrounding specific artwork.
Being among the top 10 greatest family museums, there are not many threats to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. However, the Carnegie Museum of Art also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could be considered a threat because it also offers children’s studio classes and workshops. They are on the higher end of admission costs, and the location of the museum may be difficult for some because it is in the city and parking is not always an easy task.
Overall, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a well-established and well-known institution that does very well in the Pittsburgh community providing a quality learning experience for children of all ages, even adults! With things that could be improved, this museum sets high standards and continually meets those standards with new and improved exhibitions and visitor interest. I look forward to continuing researching this interesting non profit organization.