Friends of the Zeiss                                    

P.O. Box 1041                                                                   

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >


                       NEWS RELEASE


For immediate release: 2003 October 20

For more information -- Glenn A. Walsh:

Daytime: E-Mail < >

Evening: Telephone 412-561-7876




Pittsburgh, Oct. 20 –   The business plan being used, by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for their proposed expansion project, states that attendance to the expanded museum “will leap from 95,000 to 150,000.” in the first year after expansion, and “The following year, attendance is expected to jump, again, to 170,000!”, according to Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss. Mr. Walsh, who obtained a copy of the June 2001 document from the office of the Allegheny Regional Asset District (ARAD), told the ARAD Board on Monday evening that “The Children’s Museum business plan is faulty,” due to the very optimistic attendance and revenue projections in this business plan.


Mr. Walsh said, “Let’s look at the record. In Fiscal Year 2001, the Children’s Museum claimed an attendance of 110,000. The following year, attendance dropped to 92,488. Last year, attendance bounced-back somewhat to 104,672.” Although the business plan states that attendance will level-off  to 160,000 by 2007, Mr. Walsh noted, “To put this in perspective, in the 1980s, the Buhl Planetarium building had an annual attendance of about 250,000, in a building half the size of the proposed Children’s Museum after expansion!”


Mr. Walsh went on to say, “The problem is that this plan assumes the old adage, “build it and they will come.” Just because the Children’s Museum increases capacity by four times, the plan assumes that there will, automatically, be a huge increase in attendance. This did not happen with the 1991 opening of The Carnegie Science Center or the 1996 opening of the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center. In the case of the Science Center, their faulty revenue projections resulted in reduced public visiting hours, increased admission fees, and the lay-off about 30 employees, all within the first year of operation!


“The Science Center and the History Center had an advantage that the Children’s Museum does not have; both attract visitors of all ages, while the Children’s Museum is very age-specific. No matter what the Children’s Museum builds, there is a large segment of the community who would never even consider visiting the Children’s Museum.”


Mr. Walsh concluded by saying, “If the Children’s Museum expansion project must go forward, then additional revenue sources must be found for operating the expanded building. To maximize the revenue potential of the Buhl Planetarium building, and attendance to the expanded Children’s Museum, we ask that this Board insist that the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope be returned to the Buhl Planetarium building for historical presentations in the expanded Museum.”

Friends of the Zeiss was formally organized in April of 2002, with the mission "To preserve, maintain and operate, and to raise funds for these purposes, two historic scientific instruments and associated apparatus and artifacts originated at The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."
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Addendum – Annual deficits of Children’s Museum, according to their FY 2004 grant application to ARAD -

FY 2000: $77,407;      FY 2001: $206,149;      FY 2002: 555,559;      FY 2003: $649,421


Attachment (on reverse side): Text of Statement of Glenn A. Walsh Before ARAD Board, 2003 October 20.