ARAD Testimony Regarding Buhl Planetarium: Emil M. Quatchak

Transcript of Written Testimony Before the
Board of Directors of the
Allegheny Regional Asset District
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Regular Meeting of the District Board of Directors
Monday, August 27, 2001, 5:30 p.m.
Lower Level Conference Room, United Way Building
One Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2221

Author: Emil M. Quatchak

From: Emil M. Quatchak

Subject : The Buhl Science Center

Date : Mon, 27 Aug 2001 14:26:18 -0400


To the Board of Directors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District:

Both the Pittsburgh Children's Museum and the former Buhl Science Center

are assets to this region. The unique nature of the old science center

building, including the Zeiss projector and the Siderostat telescope, is

worth preserving. They remind us of a time when a flight to the moon

was equated with a flight of fantasy, but the visions and ideas sparked

in the minds of visitors to the science center helped make this a

reality. There is something about these devices that cannot be entirely

duplicated by more modern projectors and telescopes, which use video

cameras and projectors.

Where else can one experience the awe and grandeur of the massive Zeiss

projector rising on its elevator to project the heavens on a huge dome?

Nothing else makes the solar system more real or us more insignificant

than looking at the stars firsthand through a real telescope and the

best viewing conditions are usually the coldest. Only the Siderostat

allows people to view celestial bodies in comfort. Both of these

instruments are still in working order.

A decade ago the success of the science center required it to move its

activities to a new location and unfortunately the building with the

Siderostat telescope and Zeiss planetarium projector now sits empty. I

am pleased and excited to see the success of the Children's Museum has

created a need for expansion and that they will be utilizing the old

science center building for this expansion. I am disappointed that

current plans do not include either the telescope or the planetarium


It would seem that the goals of expanding the Pittsburgh Children's

Museum and preserving the old science center building along with these

two instruments are not mutually exclusive and a middle ground can be

found. I encourage members of the Allegheny Regional Asset District to

help effect a reasonable compromise that preserves these historical

instruments to engender the awe and wonder of the universe in generations to come.


Emil M. Quatchak

Pittsburgh, PA 15202