Statement Before the

Statement Before the Glenn A. Walsh

Council of the City of Pittsburgh P.O. Box 1041

Regarding Historic City Artifacts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041

The Buhl Planetarium Telephone: 412-561-7876

2001 November 19 E-Mail: < >

Web Site: < >

Good morning. My name is Glenn A. Walsh; I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon.

Last week, during the Post-Agenda meeting on the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center, two other Buhl Planetarium artifacts, owned by the City of Pittsburgh, were discussed, in addition to the Zeiss projector and Siderostat telescope.

Commissioned by the U.S. Steel Corporation in the 1960s, Nat Youngblood painted a large mural that is now displayed on the southern wall of Buhl's Great Hall. The theme of this mural is the history of the rise of technology. This mural has a special lighting system, which allows a tour guide to light a certain portion of the mural, at one time, while speaking to a group about the mural.

Along the western wall of Buhl's Great Hall is a large Map of the World. Commissioned by the U.S. Maritime Commission for the 1939 World's Fair in New York City, at the time of creation it was considered the largest Mercator's Projection Map in the world! I do not know if this claim is still valid today, but it certainly is one of the largest such maps in the world. On the map are lights designating all of the major seaports of the world.

Like the Zeiss and the Siderostat, the Children's Museum claimed that these murals are too old, and it would be too expensive to rehabilitate them. They did not mention that these murals were quite presentable to the public up until the Buhl Planetarium closed, and that all of the lights were operable--except, perhaps, for a few burned-out bulbs on the World Map.

This is the Children's Museum's continual refrain that all of the Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts are old, unusable, or unpresentable. It just is not true that this equipment and artifacts are unusable or unpresentable for the benefit of the public. As with the Zeiss and the Siderostat, with routine maintenance the two murals can continue to educate and inspire Pittsburgh's youth.

The Children's Museum wishes to place both murals in storage by dismantling the World Map and either dismantling the Nat Youngblood mural or covering it up. If one or both murals are dismantled, you can be sure that they will never, again, see the light of day.

Both murals are educational and do not prevent the Children's Museum from using the Buhl Planetarium's Great Hall for their proposed cafe. Tomorrow, I will speak about other Buhl Planetarium artifacts not mentioned in the Post-Agenda meeting.

By the way, today is the 60th anniversary of the dedication of Buhl Planetarium's People's Observatory, with the rather unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. The keynote address at the dedication was given by Harlow Shapley, director of the Harvard College Observatory, who was one of the outstanding research Astronomers of the twentieth century!

Thank you.


History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

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