Millvale resident launches regional museum directory, membership program -

Millvale resident launches regional museum directory, membership program

Monday, November 18, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Holiday staycation planners may want to check out a new source for information regarding more than 400 regional museums, galleries and historic sites.

The newly launched PGH Museums contains a free directory of museums spanning northwest to Mercer, east to Clearfield, south to Somerset and back west to Greene counties. When visitors search for sites by name, county and museum type, they will find news releases, and original blog and video content highlighting the locations.

“We hope to go behind the scenes in the museum world, to places that the regular person isn’t able to see. I have some really great ideas with that,” said Executive Director Brian Crawford, of Millvale.

PGH Museums also features an event calendar and interactive map, which works with Google Maps phone apps.

For a $20 annual fee, people may enroll in the PGH Museums membership program, entitling them to discounts, typically of 10% to 20%, at 14 participating museums and studios. Millvale members include Ton Pottery offering 10% off classes and open studio sessions; Panza Gallery, 15% discount; and the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, 2-for-1 admission.

“Knowing that the Vanka Murals have a timeless and universal appeal but are still a ‘hidden treasure,’ we are always trying to raise public awareness. We think PGH Museums will help us do that. Diverse audiences connect to the murals in many different ways. Individual passions and interests bring visitors to the murals as well as other local museums, galleries, and historic sites. We’re excited for the possibility to proactively identify those linkages and collaborate with other affiliated organizations to build audience and opportunity for everyone,” Anna Doering, managing director, Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, said.

The Jimmy Stewart Museum, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation and Bushy Run Battlefield also have joined the program.

Crawford and the other volunteers heading the project aim to continue adding member organizations and directory listings.

“We wanted this project to be available to all of the great museums, whether they had a lot of great resources or whether they’re run by volunteers. So, to be an affiliate of PGH Museums, all a museum has to do is offer a discount to our members; they don’t have to pay anything to us,” Crawford said.

PGH Museums will more prominently place its affiliates’ content on the website and will run ads for membership locations during blogs.

Members gain access to additional online content, such as documentaries with artists and historians, Crawford said.

Furthermore, members receive discounts at quarterly members-only events.

“A Millvale tour would be cool where you could partner up with the breweries and you could go between the two breweries and Panza (Gallery), Ton Pottery and Vanka Murals,” Crawford said. “So, kind of things like that where we get people together because part of our goal is to create a community of museum-goers as well where they feel like they are part of this program.”

Crawford said that the inspiration for PGH Museums originated from the Culture Cruise podcast that he co-hosted with Randy Hyland, which entailed recording he duo’s discussions during their drives to and from local museums. The podcast aired on The River’s Edge online radio station, which Crawford founded, but has since left. He said people frequently asked them where to find listings of the area’s museums, but no such list existed.

PGH Museums “will basically be a one-stop place for museums and art and culture in the region. And it’s something that really doesn’t exist anywhere else,” he said.