PITTSBURGH, Oct. 25, 2016 ― Today Carnegie Science Center put a new twist on the traditional groundbreaking by kicking off the construction of its new Science Pavilion with some explosive science. Who needs shovels when there’s liquid nitrogen on hand? 

The event began with students from Pittsburgh Schiller STEAM Academy leading a parade of members of the Perry High School Band Drumline to the expansion site.

Bill Hunt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, opened the ceremony. He noted that Carnegie Science Center is Pittsburgh’s most visited museum, welcoming more than half a million people a year, and added that it is an invaluable resource to students and educators throughout the region and beyond—reaching more than 170,000 students a year in five states through in-school programming, and partnering with teachers and school districts on STEM learning and career development programming.

Carnegie Science Center Board Chair Jerry Whitaker described the importance of the Science Center to the local corporate community, as well, as it advances education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and introduces students to the wide range of STEM career possibilities. He also acknowledged by name the 16 contributors of gifts of $1,000,000 or more, and thanked Suzy Broadhurst for her service as chair of SPARK! A Campaign for Carnegie Science Center. So far, 160 donors have contributed to The SPARK! Campaign.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and City of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also spoke at the event, citing the value of the Science Center to the community as a venue for family fun and its importance in educating and inspiring the next-generation workforce of the region.

Following the formal remarks, Science Center staff members ceremoniously broke ground with an explosion fueled by liquid nitrogen, accompanied by confetti cannons.

“Carnegie Science Center opened 25 years ago this month,” said Ron Baillie, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. “We are thrilled to be taking this momentous step in creating the next-generation Science Center. This expansion will greatly expand our resources and allow us to engage and inspire even more students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.”

Last year, the Science Center saw more than 500,000 visitors. More than 90,000 students participated in the Science Center’s STEM education and career exploration programs.                                             

“This expansion continues our mission of not only meeting the needs of students, but of the community as a whole,” said Ann Metzger, Henry Buhl, Jr., Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. “Having a scientifically literate citizenry is critical to our region’s future. With increased space, we’ll again be able to bring the sort of amazing traveling exhibits to Pittsburgh that inspire people of all ages and spark their interest in science.”

The Science Center’s new Science Pavilion, to be built eastward along the Ohio River facing Pittsburgh’s Point, will house 6,000 square feet of STEM Learning Labs. This space will offer enhanced STEM programming and will serve as a regional hub for teacher professional development activities. Above the STEM labs, a new 14,000 square-foot Special Exhibitions Gallery will allow the Science Center to bring world-class traveling exhibits to Pittsburgh. The top floor will be a conference and event space to host science programs, conferences, and receptions. The expansion is part of SPARK! A Campaign for Carnegie Science Center, which also will fund two new permanent exhibitions, a new giant-screen digital theater, and endowment. 

To date, 16 donors have made gifts of $1 million or more to The SPARK! Campaign

  • DSF Charitable Foundation and FedEx—each made lead gifts of $5 million.
  • Anonymous
  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Bob and Irene Bozzone
  • Suzy and Jim Broadhurst
  • The Buhl Foundation
  • The Burke Foundation
  • Covestro
  • Eaton
  • Eden Hall Foundation
  • The Grable Foundation
  • Bob and Joan Peirce
  • PNC Bank Foundation
  • The Rossin Foundatioan 
  • Thomas and Alba Tull

Construction for the new Science Pavilion is scheduled to be completed in 2018. For more information about Carnegie Science Center, visit

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About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs.

About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. In 2015, the museums reached more than 1.4 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.