for the delay in this Christmas greeting. I became ill about a week before traditional
Christmas. Hopefully, this greeting will reach you around the time of Christmas according to the Julian Calendar
(i.e. Orthodox Christmas: Jan. 7) and the Epiphany (Jan. 6) which is the subject
of Buhl Planetarium’s long-running Star
of Bethlehem planetarium sky show, pictured on the front of the Christmas
Planetarium and Carnegie Library – 2005 December
Update -- Buhl
Planetarium: On July 26, by a unanimous
vote, Pittsburgh City Council declared The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science to be a “City Designated
Historic Structure.” This was the culmination of a six-month process, for the
historic designation of this well-known Pittsburgh
landmark, begun by city resident Jon Wilson Smith on behalf of Friends of the Zeiss.
Buhl Planetarium and Institute
of Popular Science opened
in 1939 as the last major planetarium constructed before World War II, and the
fifth Zeiss planetarium installation in America. The original Buhl Planetarium had several historic
projector placed on an elevator, to increase the variety of performances in the
Theater of the Stars;
theater which included a permanent theatrical stage;
theater (and, perhaps, first theater)
to install a special sound system specifically for the hearing
impaired—remember, this was in 1939 !;
publicly-owned building in the City (and, possibly, the State) constructed with
Siderostat Telescope specifically designed for public use;
Science Fair for school students (from 23 counties in Pennsylvania
and 3 counties in West Virginia) in the country started at Buhl
Planetarium in the Spring of 1940. Only
two state-wide science fairs are older than the annual Pittsburgh Regional
School Science and Engineering Fair.
Additionally, for more than
53 years, Buhl Planetarium housed an exhibit that was considered the largest
Mercator’s Projection Map in the world! And, the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector,
which operated as the primary educational instrument of The Buhl Planetarium
and Institute of Popular Science for nearly 55 years, was
the oldest operable major planetarium
projector in the world before being dismantled in October of 2002.
historic designation vote came within an hour of the successful return to space
Space Shuttle; the launch of Discovery was the first Space Shuttle launch in
more than two years, since the tragic explosion of Columbia. The historic designation of Buhl
Planetarium officially took effect on August 1.
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 completion of the
planned $90 million expansion of the Science
the 2003 cancellation of The Carnegie Science Center’s proposed $90 million
expansion project, the Science
Center told the City that
reassembly of the Zeiss II Projector would be “delayed” until the end of 2006. They
propose to reassemble the Zeiss II, as a partially-working exhibit (it could
not present sky shows), just outside of the current Science Center
planetarium. They said nothing about reassembly of the Siderostat or Mercator’s
Map. Considering that reassembly of the Zeiss II in that location would take
space away from the Science Center’s traveling exhibits gallery (which is
considered important for attracting both new visitors and repeat business), I
do not expect the Zeiss II to actually be reassembled at the end of next year;
next year, at this time, I expect the Science Center will announce another
February, the Children’s Museum held an official celebration marking the return
of the Foucault Pendulum to the beautiful Pendulum Pit in the Buhl Planetarium
building, although the Pendulum had actually been on public display at Buhl
Planetarium two years earlier (but was not working properly until 2004
November). The Pendulum had been displayed at The Carnegie Science Center for
some years, previously. A written explanation of the Pendulum operation, posted
on an easel, was displayed during the February celebration; neither this, nor
any other written explanation, is now posted near the Pendulum Pit.
Children’s Museum continued making changes to the Buhl Planetarium building
this year, including conversion of the Observatory into a Board Room and even
painting several Mezzanine doors (to the Octagon Gallery and to the former
public rest rooms) a dark gray (after more than 65 years with the original wood
color of these doors!).
Friends of the Zeiss continues working toward the long-term goal of return
of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts, unused since 1994 and
dismantled in 2002, to the original Buhl Planetarium building, to be used in
the education of children visiting the
(More – Next Page)
Planetarium & Carnegie Library – 2005 Dec. -- Page 2 of 2
Museum. And, this month we were informed that there are now plans to reinstall
the historic Zeiss III (a renovated Zeiss II) Planetarium Projector in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
which was dismantled and stored in 1996.
May, International Space Station (Expedition 9) Astronaut Mike Fincke, who
original Buhl Planetarium for his interest in becoming an astronaut, had a
small acting role on the series finale of the UPN Television science-fiction
program, Star Trek: Enterprise. Mr.
Fincke played a Star Fleet engineer in one scene on the show. In February, Mr.
Fincke addressed hometown crowds at Sewickley
Academy and Avonworth High School,
regarding his space station mission.
year, a new book was published describing the beginning of planetarium theaters
Theaters of Time and Space, American Planetaria, 1930-1970 was written
by Jordan D. Marche II, who had interviewed Friends of the Zeiss Project
Director Glenn A. Walsh in May of 1995. The book shows the significance of Buhl
Planetarium, in the beginning of the planetarium profession in the United States.
One Reminder: The History of Buhl Planetarium/Friends of the Zeiss Internet web site, < http://www.planetarium.cc >, not only includes the history of Buhl Planetarium,
but also a lot of current information on Astronomy and other
sciences--including current astronomical/sky events, links to scientific news
stories, and a “Quick-Reference Page” which includes links to other Astronomy
and Science web sites. Also, there is a FAQ page which includes scientific
explanations for questions on Astronomy and other sciences (answered by former
Buhl Planetarium staff members including Eric G. Canali, Francis G. Graham, and
Glenn A. Walsh); you may send questions to the following electronic mail
< FAQ@planetarium.cc >.
Update – Carnegie Library: Herb Elish,
who had been the non-professional Library Director of The Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh since the untimely death of Library Director Robert B. Croneberger
in 1998, left the Library in late Winter. In April, it was announced that
Barbara K. Mistick would become the new Library Director in June. Although she
has a Ph.D, in Management from Case Western Reserve University,
she, also, does not have a Masters degree in Library Science, as required for
directors of State-funded public libraries in Pennsylvania (Title 22 of the Pennsylvania
Code). As happened with Mr. Elish, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is
expected to grant, yet, another waiver
of regulations, to allow Dr. Mistick to continue as Library Director.
the East Liberty Branch celebrated their centennial in October; however, the
original Carnegie Library branch building had been razed in 1960s, due to an
urban renewal project which did not succeed. And, in December it was announced
that the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading
Center in the Upper Hill District would close permanently on December 30, due
the Library’s financial problems. In the 1980s, this Reading Center, and the
small Hill District Branch Library about a mile away, replaced the original
1899, Andrew Carnegie-built Wylie Avenue Branch Library building which was sold
and is now used as a mosque.
this year, the second floor Lecture Hall of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library
and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania
(a suburb of Pittsburgh)
was renovated, including the restoration of original, decorative light fixtures
found in the basement. An elevator has been added for ADA accessibility. This is the first phase of
an $8.6 million project to completely restore the historic building—the fourth
Carnegie Library built and endowed by Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie Library in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
suburb) has been working on a $2 million expansion of their historic building.
The project is almost complete, and a dedication ceremony was expected this
year. However, lighting and electrical aspects of the project are still not
complete. Although the addition is finished and in public use, the original
section of the Library (which is scheduled to primarily house the children’s
area) is closed while renovations continue. Once the Pennsylvania Department of
Labor and Industry grants an occupancy permit for the original section of the
Library, the grand opening will be scheduled, probably in the Spring.
historic Carnegie Public Library in Poseyville,
Indiana was closed for about a
month, following the unexpected firing of their long-time library director.
Most town residents, particularly children, were quite upset with the firing,
which was not adequately explained by the Library Board. In fact, the only
other library employee quit in disgust, following the firing. Just before
Halloween, the library reopened with a new library director. However, the town
has still never received an adequate explanation for the firing.
gaw ( Update: Buhl Planetarium -- begins on
page one. )
Glenn A. Walsh
Internet Web Sites - History of Buhl Planetarium: < http://www.planetarium.cc
P.O. Box 1041 Friends of
the Zeiss: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org
Pittsburgh PA 15230-1041 U.S.A. Andrew
Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc
Carnegie Libraries: < http://www.carnegielibraries.info
< firstname.lastname@example.org >