Friends of the Zeiss                                     Statement Before

P.O. Box 1041                                                            Pittsburgh City Council:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.                2003 February 4

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >


Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. I am Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss.


Some years from now, the Children's Museum or another tenant may wish to reinstall the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and "The Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by local artist Nat Youngblood, in the Buhl Planetarium building. This could be in response to a space mission to the Planet Mars, or discovery of a new comet, or, even the advance of business and commerce in Outer Space.


As the Buhl Planetarium is today, they could do so for very little cost. This would be a great benefit to the City, as it would reuse major City-owned artifacts for public education. And, Pittsburgh would, once again, have the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world!


However, proposed alterations to this City-owned building could make such reinstallation cost-prohibitive. This would preclude reinstallation and close an option for future City Councils. Whether the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment is restored by The Carnegie Science Center, or by active volunteers as has been done with other historic telescopes and planetarium projectors here and elsewhere in the world, the utilization of this equipment is only possible if they can be installed in a proper facility; if not, this City equipment would remain as dismantled artifacts in storage forever!


No private or State funds have been secured for the proposed $62-90 million expansion of the Science Center. It is unlikely funds will be raised for this expansion, so long as the Science Center continues its recent reduced service to the public, due to budget cuts.


The Siderostat Telescope cannot be installed in the Science Center without this expansion. Further, it is unlikely that the proposed $3 million “Final Frontier” exhibit, where the Zeiss Projector would be displayed, will be completed before such an expansion, even if they can eventually raise the $3 million.


To build this exhibit next to the current Science Center planetarium would reduce space in the second floor traveling exhibits gallery. Traveling exhibits are crucial to the Science Center's revenue stream, as they assure both new and repeat business. The Science Center will not risk a reduction in the size of their traveling exhibit space to display the Zeiss Projector.


Again, we ask that the four conditions we proposed last week be added to Bill 1337, prior to the bill's passage, to ensure that the historic City-owned artifacts will some day be reassembled and reused:


1) Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars and Zeiss Pit cannot be altered in any which would prevent the return and use, at some future date, of the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector. This would include the retention of the historic Westinghouse "Worm-Gear" Elevator and the Zeiss Control Console.


2) The People's Observatory, on Buhl Planetarium's third floor, cannot be altered in any way which would prevent the return and use, at some future date, of the historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.


3) A dedicated lighting system, on the ceiling of Buhl Planetarium's Great Hall, should be retained for return and display of "The Rise of Steel Technology" Mural by local artist Nat Youngblood.


4) A comprehensive inventory of all other City-owned artifacts, from Buhl Planetarium, should be compiled at the direction of City Council, so that these other artifacts are not lost forever. The inventory previously compiled and included in the Children’s Museum Lease is not complete.


None of these conditions would seriously hinder the programming of the Children's Museum in the Buhl Planetarium.

Thank you.