Statement Before the

Statement Before the Glenn A. Walsh

Council of the City of Pittsburgh P.O. Box 1041

Regarding Recent City Inventory Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041

Of Buhl Planetarium Assets Telephone: 412-561-7876

2002 February 20 E-Mail: < >

Web Site: < >

Good morning. My name is Glenn A. Walsh. I reside at 633 Royce Avenue in Mount Lebanon.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are a few other items that need to be added to the inventory of "Buhl Planetarium Assets," compiled on January 23.

On the first floor is the beautiful brass and marble Foucault Pendulum Pit, which includes the true cardinal points of the compass. The Foucault Pendulum, which continues to be City property, is currently displayed at The Carnegie Science Center. I assume that, since the Pendulum Pit was built into the building, it was not considered an "artifact" for the City inventory. However, a major rehabilitation project could remove the Pendulum Pit, so it should be included in the inventory. To their credit, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum has publicly announced that the Pendulum Pit will not be removed as part of their proposed project.

The photograph of the Lab Table(Asset #20, Photo #18), in the Little Science Theater, also shows a portion of this lecture hall's original 1939 projection screen; this projection screen should also be included in the inventory. I am not sure if the Department of General Services is aware that there is a sort-of-hidden closet, behind the projection screen. This hidden closet should also be checked for artifacts.

Several lighted picture display boxes, some which still have the original 1939 glass transparency photographs of Astronomical subjects, are recessed into the wall of the Planetarium hallway. A wooden lighted display box also exists in the third floor Observatory. These display boxes, and the remaining original glass transparency photographs, should be included in the inventory.

Other assets that should be in the inventory include a mini-planetarium dome in the Discovery Lab classroom, chair-lift for the disabled to access the Octagon Gallery, original outdoor flagpole, and outdoor television antenna on the roof above the East Gallery. The large fans and other physical plant equipment should also be included in the inventory.

Regarding items in the City inventory, it should be noted that the Rise of Steel Technology mural, painted by local artist Nat Youngblood, includes its own sophisticated lighting system. This allows portions of the long mural to be lighted independently, by way of a hand-held control unit.

The 250 seats in the Little Science Theater are original 1939 seats.

The late Willard F. Rockwell, Jr., who was originally Chairman of Rockwell International and later Astrotech International, donated the painting of Halley's Comet to Buhl Planetarium in 1986, the Comet's most recent visit to the inner Solar System. Purchased in England, this painting was transported to Buhl Planetarium in Mr. Rockwell's limousine!

The World Map was considered the largest Mercator's Projection map of the world, when first displayed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City.

The City inventory of Buhl Planetarium Assets is a good introduction to the historic artifacts of Buhl Planetarium. This will help you prepare for the tour of the building, which I understand Councilwoman Barbara Burns is arranging for City Council members. I have asked permission to attend this tour, as I know the building inside-out. I will look forward to personally showing you these historic artifacts, during this tour, in the near future. Thank you.


History of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, Pittsburgh

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