TCHS Students Take a Trip to the Burg’
MIDDLEBOURNE — Art and science can be enjoyed together as a group of students from Tyler Consolidated High School learned recently when they took part in a field trip to the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
Students in Joe Semple’s art classes, along with biology students in Joe Griffith’s College Biology and Biology II classes combined for the trip which visited Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Museum, the Nationality Rooms of the Cathedral of Learning, Heinz Chapel and the Frick Musuem.
“Mr. Semple and I have led this joint field trip for many years now because it gives students a look at another field of study that they might not get to experience without such a trip,” Griffith said.
A video of the trip is found at youtube.com/channel/UCIRAWTdSGOml-EyVSmt28wQ
The students started their day with a quick self-guided tour of Phipps Conservatory, which includes a large number of greenhouses and a multitude of plants and flowers. Phipps is in the midst of its Winter Show right now, so poinsettias were the main addition to the permanent plants that fill the glass houses.
Next, the group visited the Carnegie Museum, receiving a guided tour of both the art museum and the natural history museums.
Impressionism and architecture were among the topics included in the art tour, while dinosaurs, gemstones and fossils were the focus of the tour on the natural history side. “Many of the students commented that they would have loved to have had more time looking at the art and fossils,” noted Semple.
The group then walked across the block for a quick visit to the Nationality Rooms of The Cathedral of Learning on the campus of Pitt University. Built in the 1930s with 42 floors, The Cathedral was the first educational skyscraper, and it remains among educational buildings as the tallest in the United States and the fourth-tallest in the world.
On the main floor, various ethnic groups from the Pittsburgh area-Italian, Lithuanian, Chinese, English and Irish, to name a few-have decorated 30 classrooms to depict their homeland. Some of the rooms were being used by classes at Pitt, but the students were able to step into and see about a dozen of the rooms.
“The Cathedral of Learning provided the students with an opportunity to explore various rooms that were heavily influenced by immigrants who moved to Pittsburgh. Entering each room was like exploring a different country,” said Emma Olaru, another teacher who helped chaperone the trip.
It is a short walk from the Cathedral to the other end of the block and the Heinz Chapel, a Neo-Gothic edifice also built in the 1930s to honor family members of the H.J. Heinz Company. The tour guide described the architecture and the beautiful deep-blue stained glass windows, some of which are 73 feet high.
He then treated the group to a song played on the 4000 pipes of the chapel’s organ.
The final venue of the day was The Frick, which incorporates the mansion of the Henry Clay Frick family into an entire block of preservation. Frick gained his great wealth in the 19th Century turning coal into coke, which is necessary for the steel-making process. The students toured his mansion, known as Clayton, where they were able to see over 90% of the entire home kept just the way it was when the Fricks lived there until the early 1900s.
Another building held a collection of vintage cars and carriages, many of which belonged to the Fricks. Finally, a newer building holds much of the vast art collection that Mr. Frick and his wife acquired in his lifetime, including works by Monet and other famous artists.
Both the students and teachers gained valuable insights into art, architecture, cultural history, music, gemstones, fossils, classic automobiles and the development of technologies used today. Griffith, Semple and Olaru were very pleased with the conduct of the students and are eager to lead a similar trip next school year to a different part of Pittsburgh.
To see a short video of the field trip, compiled by one of the students, readers can go online to the following YouTube URL: