Updates: Buhl Planetarium and Carnegie Library – 2006 December
Update -- Buhl Planetarium: Historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and large Mercator’s Projection Map of the World, remain dismantled and in storage at the Miller Warehouse building, across the street from The Carnegie Science Center. Originally, The Carnegie Science Center told the City of Pittsburgh that the Zeiss II and Mercator’s Map would be reassembled by the end of 2005, while the Siderostat Telescope would be reassembled with the
of the planned $90 million expansion of the
the 2003 cancellation of The Carnegie Science Center’s proposed $90 million
expansion project, the
2006, considering that reassembly of the Zeiss II in that location would take
space away from the
attracting both new visitors and repeat business).
the early Autumn, The Carnegie Science Center completed a $1 million renovation
of their planetarium theater to include the use of “full-dome video” (“Buhl
Digital Dome”) the latest high-tech novelty being installed in planetaria
across the country. Not one penny was spent on restoration of the historic Buhl
Planetarium equipment; and the
holiday season, the
This year, the Children’s Museum asked the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) for $44,639 (half of the funding needed) to replace the roof of the historic Old Allegheny
Post Office. It turns out that a roofing contractor had told Children’s Museum management in 2002 that the roof needed replaced, at the same time the Children’s Museum was
raising $29 million for their expansion into Buhl Planetarium. However, instead of using a small amount of money from this capital campaign to complete the $90,000 roof
replacement, they ignored the roof problem while using the money to gut Buhl Planetarium’s Theater of the Stars, Observatory, and Little Science Theater, and remove
an astronomical inscription (from the 19th Psalm of the Bible) on the east exterior wall!
In August, I told the RAD Board that “This clearly demonstrates the extremely misguided priorities of Children’s Museum management…It is the position of Friends of the Zeiss
that no public funds should be used for this roof replacement project, or for general subsidy of the Children’s Museum, until the Children’s Museum presents a plan to truly restore important Pittsburgh history with the return of the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts, particularly the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope,
to be used to teach Science to children visiting the Children’s Museum.” Although the Children’s Museum received a slight increase in their RAD operating subsidy for 2007,
the RAD Board denied funding for the roof replacement project.
Regarding the astronomical inscription (The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night
sheweth knowledge) removed by the Children’s Museum, this year the Museum scattered the unorganized fragments of the inscription on Buhl’s east lawn, with some of these
fragments outlining flower beds! I complained about this obvious insult to Buhl history, and to the Bible, to several public bodies including Pittsburgh City Council and the
Regional Asset District. Only the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission expressed concern over this behavior of the Children’s Museum.
preparation for a rare spacecraft impact on the Moon in September,
prepared a detailed primer on how people could possibly view the crash of the European spacecraft SMART-1. This primer was posted on the Friends of the Zeiss web site
distributed to the media by e-mail. Regrettably, the Sept. 2 evening event was
clouded-out in the
History of Buhl Planetarium/Friends of the Zeiss web site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Space/Science News & Astronomical Sky Events, Monthly Astronomical Calendar, Precise Time, Weather
(Updated, at least, 3 times a week) : < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Quick-Reference Page – Science: < http://andrewcarnegie.tripod.com/quick-refer-science.htm >
( Update: Carnegie Library -- begins on page two. )
Updates: Buhl Planetarium & Carnegie Library – 2006 Dec. -- Page 2 of 2
Update – Carnegie Library: On April
7, lightning struck the clock tower of the historic Allegheny Regional Branch
of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, located next-door to
basement, were not impacted.
Originally called the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, this was the country’s first publicly-funded Carnegie Library, built in 1890 in the neighborhood where Andrew Carnegie
Constructed with the Library was the very first Carnegie Hall (opened one year
before Carnegie Hall in
Carnegie Library built with a clock tower. Andrew Carnegie engaged the architectural firm, Smithmeyer and Pelz (which had just completed designing Wsshington’s Library of
building) to design the
Library service in the building was immediately suspended, while Carnegie Library, the City, and the insurance company started planning for repairs. In the meantime, Carnegie Library considered moving the Library to a “temporary” site, but could find no nearby building suitable. Then, without any input from the general public, on Aug. 31 Carnegie Library
that they would abandon the historic building and build a new North Side
library building on
Several citizens, including former Allegheny Regional Branch Reference Librarian Steve Pietzak, argued against the Library’s abandonment of such a historic structure before
sold land, for the new library, to Carnegie Library for one dollar! Still, it is unclear as to whether Carnegie Library has the money to build a new library. So far, they have not
acquired the funds to match a $7.5 million grant from the Pennsylvania Governor earlier this year; they cannot obtain the State money without the needed matching funds.
month, the RAD Board rejected a new county-wide library funding formula,
proposed by the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA).
is not much better. It has caused
to ensure an equitable share of RAD funds for the Library. Due to a “Turnover Rate” criterion, which favors popular books with high circulation, maintaining older or less circulated
books results in less RAD funding for libraries!
The RAD Board, noticing considerable dissension among the 45 member libraries of ACLA, will also require that ACLA conduct a Performance Audit (first time required of any RAD-funded asset). Through such an audit, the RAD Board hopes that the consultant will be able to find a more equitable way to distribute County tax dollars to the 44 suburban libraries funded by ACLA (The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, although an ACLA member, receives their RAD funding through a separate RAD appropriation.).
National Trust for Historic Preservation held their annual National
Preservation Conference in
This was the third annual National Preservation Conference session on preserving historic Carnegie Libraries (the first official “educational” session), managed and moderated by
historic preservation consultant Joanne Weeter. Ms.
Weeter had initiated the first session (an “affinity” session) during the 2004
Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, built by Andrew Carnegie), prior to her retirement as Louisville Historic Preservation Officer.
educational session included three presentations: "The Architecture of
Literacy, Carnegie Libraries in the
gaw ( Update: Buhl Planetarium -- begins on page one. )
Glenn A. Walsh Internet Web Sites - History of Buhl Planetarium: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Telephone: 412-561-7876 Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >