Friends of the Zeiss                                     Statement Before

P.O. Box 1041                                                            Pittsburgh City Council:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.                       2003 June 3

Telephone: 412-561-7876

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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.


On Friday evening, I attended the Pittsburgh Children's Museum's 20th anniversary "Block Party," at the Buhl Planetarium building. Although the public has been able to visit most of the building's first floor since February, this is the first time the public has had access to Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars--what the Children's Museum called the "Downtown Planetarium."


I was shocked at what I saw and learned Friday evening. The Children's Museum has yet to raise all the funding needed to complete their proposed expansion project. And, State funding of the project is in jeopardy.


Despite all of this, the Children's Museum has ALREADY GUTTED the interiors of both the Planetarium Theater and the Astronomical Observatory!!! The only history remaining is the interior dome and the projector’s Westinghouse "Worm-Gear" Elevator.


These actions of the Children's Museum are arrogant and completely irresponsible. If the Children's Museum cannot complete their proposed expansion project, they will return the building to the City with a GUTTED Planetarium Theater and Observatory!!!


Prior to this demolition, Buhl's Planetarium Theater included the world's first permanent theatrical stage in a planetarium! This historic piece of City property was taken out of the building and disposed of, simply because the current Children's Museum administration had no use for it. Did the City of Pittsburgh authorize this removal and disposal? There should be a public investigation of this action.


This stage was on the north side of the theater; the retention of this stage would not have interfered, in any way, with the programming of the Children's Museum--in fact, it could have been a good supplement. More importantly, even if the current Children's Museum administration had no interest in this stage, its retention could have provided a future Children's Museum administration with additional programming options.


It seems likely that these irresponsible actions were taken, by the Children's Museum, in an attempt to ensure that the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope could never be returned to the building. Yet, there is still no assurance that the Children's Museum project will be completed!


It is now clear that The Carnegie Science Center will not reassemble the Zeiss II Projector, Siderostat Telescope, or Mercator's Projection World Map anytime in the foreseeable future--if ever! Considering the huge cost of constructing new facilities to house these historic instruments, it is quite unlikely that anyone else will be interested in their reassembly.


The only viable option, now, is to return the Zeiss II Projector, Siderostat Telescope, and Mercator's Projection World Map to the Buhl Planetarium building. The cost to restore the infrastructure DESTROYED BY THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM is extremely modest compared to the cost of building new facilities for these historic instruments.


The only other alternative is to allow these historic artifacts to rot in the Science Center's warehouse, until there is a flood and they are totally destroyed.


Thank you.