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Pittsburgh has no shortage of museums displaying well-preserved collections of artwork and scientific artifacts. The four Carnegie Museums, which cover science, natural history, art, and Andy Warhol, dominate the scene, but a few independent institutions like the Mattress Factory Museum offer original exhibitions worthy of a visit while in town. Children, too, will be interested in the excellent kid-oriented displays and activities at many of the museums.

Pittsburgh Museums

Andy Warhol Museum

The Andy Warhol Museum, one of four Carnegie Museums, opened in 1994 to showcase the work of the iconic artist, a native of Pittsburgh. Vintage advertisements, silkscreen prints, and edgy contemporary work, both permanent installations and temporary exhibits, share the sleek spaces of this landmark museum and provide a perennial draw for hipster travelers and art-minded locals alike. Open 10am-5pm everyday except Friday, when it’s open until 10pm, and Monday, when it is closed.

117 Sandusky St., PA, 412-237-8300, www.warhol.org
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Carnegie Museum of Art

This world-class art museum specializes in Impressionist works, but architecturally themed shows, contemporary landscape painting, and journalistic photography also draw visitors. Thanks to a range of hands-on art classes and activities where kids can paint or sculpt their own projects, Child magazine named the museum one of the nation's top five art museums for children in 2006. Opening hours vary; check website for exact hours.

4400 Forbes Ave., PA, 412-622-3131, www.cmoa.org
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Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Natural History museum is another of the excellent Carnegie series. Rotating and permanent exhibits highlight Native American issues, arctic expeditions, ancient fossils, dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies, and a wide range of scientific matters of interest to visitors of all ages. The museum is open until 8pm on Thursday evenings (it’s usually open until 5pm) Closed Mondays.

4400 Forbes Ave., PA, 412-622-3131, www.carnegiemnh.org
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Carnegie Science Center

Technically, the Science Center is one of the four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh – but this ultra-contemporary facility is worthy of its own listing. Complete with an Omnimax theatre, a five-tank, coral reef ecosystem, a miniature railroad, and a historic, WWII submarine – the USS Requin (available for touring in summer), the center offers countless hands-on educational activities for kids and adults alike. Look for RoboWorld in spring 2009 – the futuristic exhibit on all things robotic reportedly cost $3.4 million. Open 10am-5pm Sun-Fri; 10am-7pm Sat.

1 Allegheny Ave., PA, 412-237-3400, www.carnegiesciencecenter.org
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Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

On rainy days or wintry afternoons, there’s hardly a more engaging destination for kids than the wonderful Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Interactive science activities and games, an educational treasure hunt, and art-themed classes are just a few of the kid-friendly offerings at this large, well-funded museum, one of Pittsburgh’s family-oriented highlights for the past 25 years. Check the colorful website ahead of time for current activities. Open 10am-5pm Mon-Sat; 12-5pm Sun.

10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, PA, 412-322-5058, www.pittsburghkids.org
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Frick Art & Historical Center

Decorative art and antique carriages are part of the dignified collection at the Frick Art and Historical Center, a museum showcasing the possessions of Helen Clay Frick, the daughter of Henry Clay Frick, a famed Pittsburgh art collector. A vintage car exhibit interests automobile aficionados, while classical concerts and high tea service appeal to old-fashioned types. Open 10am-5pm Tues-Sun.

7227 Reynolds St., PA, 412-371-0600, www.frickart.org
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Mattress Factory Museum

Don’t let the name mislead you – though the building is a recycled factory, this original museum shows large-scale contemporary installations by international artists. A pair of galleries house both permanent collections by the likes of Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell, as well as temporary, hands-on workshops (bookbinding and batik were recent offerings) that encourage visitors to unleash their own creativity. This offbeat museum is a hit with art students young and young-at-heart.

500 Sampsonia Way, PA, 412-231-3169, www.mattress.org
Tags: trendy | art | culture | museum

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