Friends of the Zeiss                                                    Statement of

P.O. Box 1041                                                                                 Glenn A. Walsh

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

Telephone: 412-561-7876                                               Allegheny Regional

Electronic Mail: < >                  Asset District: 

Internet Web Site: < >               2004 August 30


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


Last week, I visited the Center of Science and Industry, known as “COSI,” the large Science museum in Columbus, Ohio. Opened In 1964, COSI decided to expand and opened a new building, twice the size of their original building, on the Columbus riverfront, in 1999. Sound familiar? COSI includes a new Digistar II planetarium projector—the same model as in The Carnegie Science Center.


Due to a drop in contributions from major donors, COSI sponsored a referendum last March, which asked Franklin County, Ohio voters to increase property taxes by one-half mill, to subsidize the museum. This subsidy would allow Franklin County residents free admission to COSI. I think it would surprise no one in this room that this levy failed.


Consequently, after Labor Day, most of the south wing of their new building will close to the public. And, their new planetarium will be mothballed indefinitely. Columbus will no longer have a major planetarium!


This is the type of thing you may see happen to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in the next year or two. After four straight years of operating deficits*—including half-million dollar deficits in 2002 and 2003—their 2005 RAD grant application reports that the Children’s Museum had a near-million dollar ($934,869) operating deficit for Fiscal Year 2004, in a $2.5 million annual budget. Yet, they project no operating deficit in 2005, as they projected no deficit for 2004 in last year’s grant application!


Certainly, the Children’s Museum’s revenues will increase with the opening of the expanded museum in November. However, will revenues increase enough to cover the additional costs of operating a facility four times the size of the current museum? I do not think so, do you? To cover the costs of a much larger building, the Children’s Museum needs to appeal to a much wider customer base than their current niche audience.


The return of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts, to the Buhl Planetarium building, would be one way to expand the appeal of the Children’s Museum to adults. Yes, tourists would come to see the oldest operating major planetarium projector in the world!


To avoid the fate of COSI, or the fate of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, I urge this Board to insist that the Children’s Museum expand their mission statement to appeal to adults with the return of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts to the Buhl Planetarium building.


Thank you.




* Children’s Museum annual operating deficits, according to the 2005 grant application of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to the Allegheny Regional Asset District:


FY 2000: $77,407 ** FY 2001: $206,149 ** FY 2002: $555,559 ** FY 2003: $595,789


                                    FY 2004: $934,869