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Over 45? The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has something in store for you

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
The recently restored 'Arab Courier Attacked by Lions' diorama is one of the oldest - and one of the most popular - exhibits at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
The recently restored 'Arab Courier Attacked by Lions' diorama is one of the oldest - and one of the most popular - exhibits at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is holding several special events this month for people 45 and up, including a Harvest Moon Event on Sept. 22.
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The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is holding several special events this month for people 45 and up, including a Harvest Moon Event on Sept. 22.
Alfred Hitchock's 1963 film 'The Birds' is one of three iconic movies that will be shown as part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's 'A Wonderful Wednesday' on Sept. 27.
Alfred Hitchock's 1963 film 'The Birds' is one of three iconic movies that will be shown as part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's 'A Wonderful Wednesday' on Sept. 27.

From encouraging grandchildren to take their grandparents out for the day, to swing dancing and classic cocktails, to up close and personal tours and film screenings, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Oakland is reaching out to visitors 45 and up this month.

“We want to make sure the museum is relevant to people at every stage of their lives,” says Eric Dorfman, the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin director of the museum.

Programming for children, school students and “After Dark” events, aimed at those 21 and up, have proven successful, he says.

“I just felt it was really important to reach people at later stages in life,” he says.

Focus group feedback is leading to some of the new programming, Dorfman says, which began earlier this month with a “Grandparents Day” celebration.

“These events are a great way for Pittsburghers to reflect on the museum of their childhood and experience it in a new way,” Chelsey Pucka, museum director of lifelong learning, says in a news release. “This month's adult programming takes a deeper dive into the science of our institution and indulges in the nostalgia of our deep and fascinating history.”

“To me, there are so many things in the museum that resonate over the years with Pittsburghers. Why not celebrate that?” Dorfman says.

September seems to be the right month to launch the new programming, he says.

On Sept. 22, the museum will host a night of nostalgia and dancing at its Harvest Moon Event. From 6 to 10 p.m., members and guests age 45 and above are invited to a combination of cocktails and culture.

Music lovers and dancers will enjoy the sounds of Boilermaker Jazz Band ; Swing City Pittsburgh will offer both a swing demonstration and short group dance lessons.

Dancing will be followed by a cash bar featuring cocktails inspired by the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Dorfman, 54, says he enjoys the “After Dark” events, and is looking forward to the Harvest Moon Event as well.

Some patrons, he says, may not want the most current music or big crowds, but may enjoy “something a bit more intimate.”

In addition to rug cutting and thirst quenching, guests can enjoy a mini car show by the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.

Slot car racing, photo ops and specialized museum history tours will be available, with specimens cataloged between 1940 and 1960 on display.

Admission is $10.

The events conclude on Sept. 27 with “A Wonderful Wednesday at Carnegie Museum of Natural History,” a full day of adult programming that focuses on the history of the museum and Pittsburgh.

“This gives people the opportunity to come in when it's quiet,” Dorfman says.

It also allows for more hands-on opportunities for smaller groups of visitors. He cites possibilities like heritage herb planting, touching more “robust” rocks and minerals and gems from the 1940s-'60s not always on display and getting up close views of certain specimens.

Visitors can learn about what was important to Pittsburgh and what was on display at the museum during those years, Dorfman says.

Many people may have seen the museum's famous diorama “Arab Courier Attacked by Lions” as children, decades before its recent restoration, Dorfman notes.

Along with specialized tours, guests will meet live animals from the museum's living collection and watch classic movies inspired by nature, like “African Queen,” “The Birds” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

The classic film screenings will take place in a site that was open to visitors at the time the movies were made, Dorfman says.

“I'm hoping it will grow into a bona fide film festival,” he says.

All activities are included with museum admission.

Details: 412-622-3131 or carnegiemnh.org.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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