Friends of the Zeiss Public Statement For
Telephone: 412-561-7876 By Glenn A. Walsh:
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com > Children’s Museum Needs
Internet Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc > Additional Revenue
2007 August 27
Good evening, I am Glenn A. Walsh of
Friends of the Zeiss.
This year, the Children’s Museum has submitted two capital requests for consideration by the
Allegheny Regional Asset District Board of Directors. They are asking for $3,882 to repair steps
to the Old Post Office building—steps which are now only used for emergency exit. As with
last year’s capital request of money to repair the Post Office roof, the small amount needed to
repair the Post Office steps could have easily been programmed into the Children’s Museum’s
$29 million capital campaign. They have known of the problems with these steps for many years,
as they used special metal steps, placed over-top the original steps, when this was the main Museum
Again, they chose to use the capital campaign funds for gutting the Buhl Planetarium Theater,
Observatory, Lecture Hall, and astronomical inscription from the Bible while deferring the needs
of these steps. Now, they want the taxpayers to pay for repairs, to steps in a building they own, that
should have been paid for during their capital campaign. We applaud your refusal to fund last year’s
capital request and ask that you refuse to fund this request for the same reason.
Regarding the $23,500 capital request for new computer equipment, we believe that the systematic
replacement and upgrading of computer equipment should be a regular line-item in their operating
budget. If RAD provides more money for computers, there would be a greater pubic benefit by
giving this money to the library systems’ Electronic Information Network.
The Children’s Museum’s operating request asks that RAD help “offset the anticipated $200,000
reduction in state support this fiscal year.” We do not believe it is RAD’s role to offset losses in other
governmental funding. And, with the needs of many other assets in this region, we do not think that
RAD can afford to set such a precedent.
What the Children’s Museum needs is more revenue. And, to receive more revenue, the Children’s
Museum needs additional attractions to bring more people into their complex.
Return of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts would provide new attractions to
bring new people into the Children’s Museum. In particular, people will come, probably from all over
the country, to see shows performed using Buhl’s Zeiss II Projector, the oldest operable major
planetarium projector in the world ! With a good marketing campaign, this will bring more
people into the building. And, at the same time, it will help teach Science to children visiting
the Children’s Museum.
Before the Children’s Museum receives additional RAD funding, they should take steps to
increase their revenue by returning the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts as
additional Museum attractions. We, respectfully, ask that you direct the Children’s Museum to
take such steps, before increasing their annual allocation of RAD funds.