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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pitt Board of Trustees approves Marilyn Horne Museum

PITTSBURGH -- The Property and Facilities Committee of the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees today approved the creation of the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center at the Bradford campus’ Seneca Building.
Horne, one of the world’s most renowned opera singers, is a native of Bradford and is donating her archives to Pitt. A portion of that collection of musical compositions and recordings, photographs, costumes, and posters will be on display at the museum.
The $5.7 million project is made possible through a 2013 $3 million grant the McKean County Industrial Development Authority received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The completed project will include classroom space, a recital area, and a café, along with building-infrastructure upgrades to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
“The interactive and engaging museum-quality collection of Marilyn Horne history will significantly enhance the arts and cultural enrichment opportunities available in Pitt-Bradford’s service region,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president. “Visitors will be able to gain a greater appreciation for the incredible life of Marilyn Horne, the musical genre of opera and for Marilyn Horne’s prominence as one of the world’s greatest opera stars.”
MCF Architects of Pittsburgh is designing the project in conjunction with a museum consulting firm that will determine which of the items in the Horne collection are most suitable for display and how each display area in the museum will be organized.
The project involves the complete renovation of the 8,355-square foot first floor of the historic Seneca Building and conversion of the first floor into a museum with rotating exhibits from the Horne archives.
Construction is expected to begin this summer with an opening slated for 2017.
Horne was born in 1934 in Bradford. Her father, Bentz Horne, encouraged his daughter to pursue her musical dreams. She moved with her family to Long Beach, Calif., when she was 11, and made her debut when she was 20 at the Los Angeles Opera Guild. Following her father’s death in 1956, she traveled Europe, performing in many productions and receiving rave reviews.
She sang professionally for more than 40 years, becoming not only a star of the opera world, but also an ambassador to pop culture through appearances on “The Odd Couple,” “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” “Carol Burnett and Friends” and “Sesame Street.”