Celebrate the holidays by visiting the museums and making our yearly traditions your own.

November 26, 2013-January 12, 2014 

hollyFrom the majestic trees and Neapolitan Presepio to spectacular exhibitions including the 2013 Carnegie International and Tlingit Totem Pole carving and installation by Tommy Joseph, there’s something for everyone. 

And, don’t forget your gift list – our shops have truly one-of-a-kind gifts that will make your holidays brighter!

Holidays at the museum is sponsored by:


New Artifact now on view: A Tlingit Totem Pole by Tommy Joseph


Third Floor, outside of Polar World: Wyckoff Hall of Arctic Life
Our totem pole is based on a true story shared by the Raven Clan.
In the tradition of Tlingit storytelling, stories belong to certain Clans, and only those Clans may tell them. We are grateful to Tommy Joseph of the Eagle Clan for sharing his story with us.

“An Elder once told me a story about two young men on a hunting trip:”
While out on the open ocean with a storm approaching, a young man spotted a large seal and fired at it. He was happy to see that his aim was true, and he piloted his boat over to haul in his catch. The young man grabbed the seal by its tail, but it began to thrash about. So as not to lose it to the ocean waves and the approaching storm, he bit down on the tail, gripping hard between his teeth while grabbing the seal’s flippers with his strong hands and arms. In a boat not far away, the young man’s hunting partner and Clan brother was watching this entire scene unfold. He fired a shot into the seal, saving the catch. The hunt was a big success, and both men were able to bring food home to their families, along with an adventure story that would live on for generations to come.

Neapolitan presepio

presepio_1November 29, 2013–January 12, 2014 (closed December 2-4) 

Hall of Architecture
Free with museum admission

A visit to Carnegie Museum of Art’s Neapolitan presepio, one of the finest Nativity scenes of its kind, has been a Pittsburgh holiday tradition since 1957. Handcrafted by artisans between 1700 and 1830, the presepio features lifelike figures and colorful details that re-create the Nativity within a vibrant panorama of 18th-century Italian village life. More than 100 superbly modeled human and angelic figures, along with animals, accessories, and architectural elements, cover a 250-square-foot area and create a memorable depiction of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of Neapolitan artisans and collectors.


 Coffee with the Curator: The presepio

Thursday, December 12, 2013
10:30–11 a.m.: Light breakfast fare in Carnegie Café 
11 a.m.–noon: Curator's talk in the CMA Theater 
$35 ($28 Members) 
Registration required. Call 412.622.3288 to register. 

Celebrate the season with your friends or meet new ones over a light breakfast in the Carnegie Café. Then learn about the museum's renowned Neapolitan presepio, a stunning display handcrafted by Italian artists between 1700 and 1830 that re-creates the Nativity within a vibrant panorama of 18th-century Italian village life. 

Rachel Delphia, the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, explores the history behind this beloved annual exhibition in an illustrated talk in the CMA Theater. Docents will be on hand in the Hall of Architecture following the program for further conversation.

Carnegie Trees Opening Celebration

Wednesday, December 4, 2013holidays_trees

5:30–8 p.m.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Hall of Architecture

Enjoy a first look at the six uniquely decorated Carnegie Trees for the 2013 Holiday season at this preview party, hosted by the Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art. This year’s theme is Embracing the Art of Play. For more information, please visit the event webpage or contact the Women’s Committee at 412.622.3325 or StanishL@carnegiemuseums.org 

Carnegie Trees 2013: Embracing the Art of Play

December 5, 2013–January 12, 2014
Hall of Architecture and Hall of Sculpture
Free with museum admission

Join us for this popular seasonal display to see the Hall of Architecture filled with several towering 20-foot Colorado spruce trees, each adorned with handcrafted ornaments that celebrate the art of play. This year's installation is inspired by the spirit of creative play running through the 2013 Carnegie International, the museum’s signature exhibition of contemporary art. The Hall of Architecture is also currently the site of an installation by International artist Gabriel Sierra, who has painted the walls of the space a rich purple and added subtle purple sculptural forms. Setting off the hall’s architectural casts in a new way, this choice of color will also add a royal hue to this season’s colorful decorations.

Holiday Shopping

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for a friend or loved one? The stores at Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Museum of Natural History offer unique, imaginative, and affordable gifts—many of them exclusive to the museums. 

The stores are open during museum hours.

FREE PARKING for vehicles parked for 30 minutes or less in Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History’s parking lot.

Winter Camps at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

winter_camps1December 30 & 31, 2013

Experience the fun and excitement of summer camp in December! Investigate science and culture over your winter break at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Each day of camp features new experiments, exhibition explorations, and creative activities for ages 6–13. Sign up for one or both days.

$45 per day (Members $40)
Post-camp child care is available from 3–6 p.m. for an additional $10 per child, per day.

Registration required by December 23
Contact Program Registration at 412.622.3288, email ProgramRegistration@carnegiemuseums.org, or register online

Winter at Natural History


During museum hours
Free with museum admission

Experience the wonder of winter throughout the museum. Pick up a self-guided tour of the top 10 winter-themed specimens and artifacts in our exhibitions, touch a caribou’s winter white fur in Discovery Basecamp, or get hands-on with more winter-themed activities available during the holiday season.

Children’s Book Reading: Awesome Animals Rock™ the Holidays! by Max and Su Tiber

Awesome Animals

Sunday, December 1
Noon–5 p.m.
Earth Theater, First Floor Rear
Free with museum admission 

Celebrate the winter holiday season with 11-year-old author Max Tiber and his mom as they read their children’s book, Awesome Animals Rock™ the Holidays!, to museum visitors. Blending whimsical illustrations with amazing animal facts, this unique holiday-themed alphabet book is sure to delight children and parents alike.

Can’t make it to the reading? Awesome Animals Rock™ the Holidays! will be on sale at the store at Carnegie Museum of Natural History throughout the holidays!

For guaranteed holiday delivery, adopt your birds by November 20 for Hanukah or December 16 for Christmas!

Adopt_a_BirdAdopt A Bird Band is a fundraising effort on behalf of the bird migration research program based at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the environmental research center of Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

The Adopt A Bird Band program invites nature lovers of all ages to become personally involved in supporting the vital biodiversity and conservation research at the core of Carnegie Museum of Natural History's mission.

Adoptions make great gifts for bird lovers, budding naturalists, conservation enthusiasts, or anyone who wants to celebrate the holidays in a unique and special way!

Explore this website to learn about available birds and program benefits. Adopters at all levels, from $25 to $100, receive certificates of adoption, replica bird bands, and alerts about bird migration research at Powdermill Nature Reserve. Adopters are also invited to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the banding facility.

Bird banding and the Adopt A Bird Band program are projects of Powdermill Nature Reserve.

Choose your species online!