"Wrong message sent to our children"

In the editorial: "Planetary nostalgia / It shouldn't block the Children's Museum expansion" (September 16, 2001), the author's message is that "old" (used 8 times in the 14 line article) means obsolete.

Well then, let's scrap the old Smithfield Street Bridge, the old obsolete Fort Duquesne Incline, the old Gateway Clipper, the old Allegheny County Courthouse,…and Grandma?

The proponents of the Children's Museum expansion proposal want 4 million of our tax dollars to join two historic structures: the Historic Buhl Planetarium building, a Pittsburgh icon, and the landmark post office now Children's Museum. In addition to changing the historic architecture of these building, the proposers want to remove the precious contents of the Buhl including a Zeiss Model II star projector and the siderostat telescope worth in today's dollars $1,600,000 and $300,000, respectively. These are both working gems! This does not sound like a good proposal for our children. We should not teach our children to be so hasty to discard what is old yet good.

The editorial states that the Carnegie Science Center (CSC) officials find the telescope and star projector "obsolete". Could this be because the old Buhl might be viewed as competition for the CSC? Not that it should be, but they must realize that there is no experience more storybook than seeing the beautifully crafted six ton Zeiss Model II rising up from the depths to project its picture of the universe. By the way, the old obsolete Zeiss can do this far better than the CSC projector in resolution, brightness and overall grandeur. Future generations of children should experience the exquisite style in which this old world-class planetarium comes to life. Some science requires state-of-the-art instrumentation, but a kids Science Center does not.

One group of concerned citizens is proposing that the old GrandPa Buhl Planetarium be used as a futuristic Children's Space Camp. The building would serve as an outpost and the planetarium as a view of the outside world. Children control real robots remotely to explore a real crater. Let's be fair and consider this exciting non-destructive proposal too!

The Buhl and its contents are old, but they are good just like Grandma!

Mark Bier

Squirrel Hill