About the project

Born in Bradford, Marilyn Horne is universally recognized as one of the world’s greatest mezzo-soprano artists. SFD worked with Ms. Horne, University representatives and project architects to develop a museum dedicated to presenting Ms. Horne’s remarkable life and achievements, and to sharing the power and joys of opera to new audiences as well as aficionados. The museum was created as part of a plan for the adaptive reuse of the University’s 1932 Art Deco Seneca Building, now renamed Marilyn Horne Hall.

Visitor’s are presented with a wide variety of opportunities for listening to Ms. Horne perform, speak via original audio interviews about her career and challenges, and to watch and marvel at the grandeur and emotional power of opera performed on some of the world’s great stages. Engaging visitor activities teach vocal technique, allow visitors to stage their own operas and learn to distinguish between alto, soprano, tenor and bass. Objects from Ms. Horne’s personal collection are on display including annotated musical scores, a recital gown and some of her prestigious awards, along with performance costume replicas and family photos. Combined with Ms. Horne’s own voice, these objects leave visitors feeling an intimate connection with this world-renowned artist and an expanded interest in exploring the remarkable beauty of opera and song.

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University of Pittsburgh


Bradford, Pennsylvania


  • Planning

  • All phases of exhibition design

  • Production supervision


  • Architecture:
    MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects

  • Content Development:
    Van Buren & Associates

  • Lighting Design:
    Streamlight Design

  • Media Production:
    Hillman & Carr, Inc.

  • Fabrication: