Brief History, Chronology, and Accomplishments
of Friends of the Zeiss

Friends of the Zeiss is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote Astronomy, Space Sciences, and related sciences to the general public through Internet web sites and the SpaceWatchtower Blog, as well as public observing sessions of special astronomical events. This organization also promotes the history and preservation of the historic equipment, artifacts, and building of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector (prior to 2002 dismantling, oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world !) and the fairly unique 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope.

"Friends of the Zeiss" was formed on 2002 April 4 to provide a vehicle to raise funds to preserve several pieces of historic equipment and artifacts of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in Pittsburgh. In particular, Friends of the Zeiss is interested in preserving the functionality of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, now the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world, and the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, the second largest of its unique type.

Friends of the Zeiss (sometimes referred to as "FriendsoftheZeiss.org") is the successor to a very informal organization formed in 2001 November called "The People's Planetarium and Observatory." This grew out of a grass-roots effort, begun by Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh in December of 1993, to prevent the sale of the historic Zeiss projector and Siderostat telescope to out-of-state concerns.

When this organization was first contemplated, we had decided to form a not-for-profit corporation. We obtained legal advice on this matter from an attorney who specializes in non-profit law. We were told that it does not take much time to incorporate the organization with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, obtaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, from the Federal Internal Revenue Service(IRS), often takes much longer--perhaps a year or more. So, at that time we chose to go another route, to expedite our ability to raise funds for preservation of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts.

We submitted an application to become a "project" of the Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania. The Tides Center is a San Francisco-based charitable foundation, which specializes in helping small start-up non-profit organizations. Had Friends of the Zeiss been accepted as a project of the Tides Center, we could have used the Tides Center's 501(c)(3) status to raise funds. After the City of Pittsburgh went through a Request-For-Proposal process (in which Friend of the Zeiss submitted a response, regarding the four major Buhl Planetarium artifacts, the City chose to lend three of the artifacts (Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and large Mercator's Projection Map of the World) to The Carnegie Science Center, while the fourth artifact, "The Rise of Steel Technology" mural, later was loaned to the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in Homestead.

As Friends of the Zeiss was not granted possession of the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts, we could not legally raise funds for their preservation. At that time, Friends of the Zeiss suspended efforts to gain legal non-profit status; the application process with the Tides Center of Pittsburgh was never completed.

In April of 2008, The Carnegie Science Center announced that a major robotics exhibit, touted to be the largest such exhibit in the nation (including Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame), would be installed on the second floor of the Science Center building in 2009. Part of this space had previously been reserved for reassembly of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and the large Mercator's Projection Map of the World, as part of a "Final Frontier" exhibit, to be near the entrance of the current Science Center planetarium. The Carnegie Science Center had missed two deadlines (2005 and 2006) for reassembling the Zeiss II Projector. It was now quite clear, with the announcement of the new robotics exhibit, that the Science Center did not intend to reassemble the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts.

Friends of the Zeiss decided, in May of 2008, to resume efforts to establish a legal non-profit corporation capable of raising funds for preservation of the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts. Application for corporation and IRS 501(c)(3) status is now in process.

Please note that "Save the Buhl" is a separate organization that also works for the preservation of Buhl Planetarium and its historic equipment and artifacts. We have good relations with, and often collaborate with, Save the Buhl.

Chronology and Accomplishments
of Friends of the Zeiss

* Rawson, Christopher. “Change waits in the wings on the North Side.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1993 Dec. 22: D-4.
The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh decides to completely abandon the original Buhl Planetarium building.

* 1994 January 3: Letter from Glenn A. Walsh* to Carnegie Institute President Ellsworth Brown asking that The Carnegie reconsider closing the original Buhl Planetarium building [then called The Carnegie Science Center, Allegheny Square Annex] and returning the building to the City of Pittsburgh. Special Note: When the 1994 letters were issued, Friends of the Zeiss had not yet been formed. The views in those two letters were those of the author.

* 1994 February 18: Letter from Glenn A. Walsh* to Buhl Foundation President Dr. Doreen E. Boyce asking that the Buhl Foundation use their influence for the preservation of the original Buhl Planetarium and Observatory, in usable form in The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building. Special Note: When the 1994 letters were issued, Friends of the Zeiss had not yet been formed. The views in those two letters were those of the author.

* 1995 May 18 - Grass-roots group of citizens, which later became Friends of the Zeiss, petitions for public hearing before Pittsburgh City Council to stop sale of Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, by The Carnegie Science Center, to Navarro College, a community college located south of Dallas. At the public hearing, the group of citizens convinces City Council to not allow the sale to proceed.

* 1995 May - Indiana University (Bloomington IN) Ph.D. candidate Jordan D. Marche II interviewed Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh regarding the history of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science including the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, for his thesis on the history of American planetaria. After receiving his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science, he also used these research materials to publish a book, Theaters of Time and Space, American Planetaria, 1930-1970 in 2005.

* 1995 to 1999 - Glenn A. Walsh, who later became Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss, works with groups such as the National Aviary (regarding establishment of an educational annex at Buhl Planetarium), Pittsburgh Board of Public Education (regarding establishment of a school for gifted children at Buhl Planetarium), and the Consortium of Italian-American Organizations - CIAO - (regarding establishment of an Italian-American Cultural Center at Buhl Planetarium). Each of these organizations expressed a commitment to maintain the historical building, equipment, and artifacts of the original Buhl Planetarium, as part of the building's new use. Regrettably, each of these proposals fell-through for both financial and political reasons.

* 1999 October 24 - For the 60th anniversary of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, an Internet web site on the History of Buhl Planetarium was launched, as part of the educational web site of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. The web site became independent of the Library web site in June of 2000, at this Internet address:

< http://www.planetarium.cc >

* 2000 January - Upon learning of the interest of the Children's Museum to expand into the Buhl Planetarium building (and lack of Children's Museum interest to retain historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts), fight begins to prevent removal of historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts from building.

* 2001 November - "The People's Planetarium and Observatory" name used for group of citizens interested in the preservation of the historic Buhl Planetarium building, equipment, and artifacts. The name was derived from the original name of Buhl Planetarium's astronomical observatory, "The People's Observatory."

* 2002 April 4 - "The People's Planetarium and Observatory" name was no longer used with the formation of Friends of the Zeiss.

* 2002 May 22 - Friends of the Zeiss response to City of Pittsburgh's Request-for-Proposals (RFP), regarding the future of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, large Mercator's Projection Map of the World, and "The Rise of Steel Technology" mural.

* 2002 October - Following the execution of Memoranda of Understanding (rather than legal leases, as called-for in the City RFP) with the City of Pittsburgh, The Carnegie Science Center dismantles and removes the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, and large Mercator's Projection Map of the World from the Buhl Planetarium building. They are moved into The Carnegie Science Center's Miller Printing Warehouse Building, across North Shore Drive from the Science Center. The Science Center tells the City that the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and the large Mercator's Projection Map of the World will be reassembled as part of a new "Final Frontier" exhibit, to be built near the second floor entrance to the Science Center's planetarium, by 2005. Science Center officials also state the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope will be reassembled on the roof of an expanded Science Center building, following completion of the proposed $90 million expansion project.

* 2003 May - The proposed $90 million expansion of The Carnegie Science Center is cancelled. The Science Center announces that reassembly of the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector would be delayed an additional year (until 2006); no mention of reassembly of 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope and large Mercator's Projection Map of the World.

* 2004 June 8 - Friends of the Zeiss and The Duquesne Incline co-sponsor the City of Pittsburgh's only public observing session of the historic Transit of the Planet Venus Across the Image of the Sun. The public observing session took place on the Observation Deck of The Duquesne Incline.

* 2005 August 1 - Status of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building as a City-Designated Historic Structure legally takes effect, following nomination at the beginning of the year by Friends of the Zeiss. Due to the City of Pittsburgh's "Act 47" financial distress condition, this historic nomination was the last application accepted by the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission, without being accompanied by an application fee.

* 2005 - Indiana University (Bloomington IN) Ph.D. candidate Jordan D. Marche II interviewed Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh, in May of 1995, regarding the history of The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science including the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, for his thesis on the history of American planetaria. After receiving his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science, he also used these research materials to publish a book, Theaters of Time and Space, American Planetaria, 1930-1970 in 2005.

* 2008 May - Upon learning that The Carnegie Science Center will build a new robotics exhibit in second floor space that had been reserved for reassembly of the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and large Mercator's Projection Map of the World, Friends of the Zeiss decides to seek non-profit corporation status, to begin raising funds for the preservation of historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts.

* 2010 July 1 - After years of political pressure by Friends of the Zeiss, The Carnegie Science Center finally placed the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector on permanent display at the western end of the Science Center's Atrium Gallery. The Zeiss II Projector is in a static display (except for once an hour, when the Projector spins 180 degrees) and does not display planets or stars. The 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, as well as most other original Buhl Planetarium artifacts, remain in storage. The Carnegie Science Center management has stated that the Siderostat Telescope will be reassembled, for use as a telescope, if and when The Carnegie Science Center building is expanded (a proposed $90 million expansion in 2002 was not successful).

Walsh, Glenn A. "Zeiss Projector Exhibit Opens at CSC." Electronic Mail-Group Message.
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Mail-Group 2010 July 1.

* 2011 October - New book on the history of Carnegie Museums (including the original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science) and Carnegie Libraries in Pittsburgh goes on sale. Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh provided a great deal of Buhl Planetarium history to the book author Robert J. Gangewere, for his research for the book, Palace of Culture, Andrew Carnegie’s Museums and Library in Pittsburgh.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Buhl Planetarium History in New Book." Electronic Mail Group Message.
South Hills Backyard Astronomers Mail Group 2011 Oct. 16.

* 2012 June 5, 6:04 to 8:30 p.m. EDT - Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library co-sponsor the century's second and last public observing session of the historic Transit of the Planet Venus Across the Image of the Sun, in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The public observing session took place in the Library's large upper parking lot. Unfortunately, this event was clouded-out. However, Eric G. Canali did display his 8-inch Meade reflector telescope, as well as his 20 x 80 (20 power with 80 mm objective lenses) Celestron binoculars. The public (attendance: 110) was able to view the Transit of Venus via a large-screen web-cast, from NASA, in a lower level Library meeting room.

* 2012 July 11, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. EDT - Friends of the Zeiss Project Director Glenn A. Walsh participated in the annual "Planet Party," a science educational program for children, sponsored by Assemble Pittsburgh at 5125 Penn Avenue in the Garfield section of the city. Although Mr. Walsh brought a 4-inch Astroscan reflector telescope, to show sunspots on the Sun to the children, this event was clouded-out; Mr. Walsh displayed the telescope at the event. Bill Moutz and Fred Klein, of the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh, also participated in this event, as they did the previous year. Nina Marie Barbuto of the Girls' Math and Science Partnership at The Carnegie Science Center coordinated this event.

* Friends of the Zeiss-related News Articles Regarding the 75th Anniversary of Buhl Planetarium: 2014 October 24.

* 2014 October 23, 3:37 to 7:52 p.m. EDT - On the eve of the 75th anniversary of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, a partial eclipse of the Sun was viewed, via Internet web-cast from Griffith Observatory, in Meeting Room A on the Lower Level of the Mount Lebanon Public Library in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, co-sponsored by Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library. Due to the late time of day of this eclipse, viewing the eclipse with a telescope was not practical.

"OCT. 23 –
SAFE PUBLIC VIEWING OF SOLAR ECLIPSE
AT MT. LEBANON PUBLIC LIBRARY,
ON EVE OF 75TH ANNIV. OF BUHL PLANETARIUM."

News Release.
Friends of the Zeiss 2014 Sept. 15.

Walsh, Glenn A. "Solar Eclipse on Eve of Buhl Planetarium's 75th Anniversary." Blog Post.
SpaceWatchtower 2014 Oct. 21.

Radio Interviews (2) of Glenn A. Walsh Regarding the 75th Anniversary of Buhl Planetarium -
* "Preview: Buhl Planetarium 75th Anniversary." The Saturday Light Brigade / Neighborhood Voices.
WRCT-FM 88.3 Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (and network of 5 Western Pennsylvania and
Eastern Ohio college radio stations) 2014 Oct. 25.
Radio interview occurred in the studios of The Saturday Light Brigade, located in Bowdish Gallery of
Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science building.
* "Wednesday Rundown: Celebrating the Birthday of the Original Buhl Projector." Essential Pittsburgh.
WESA-FM 90.5 Pittsburgh 2014 Oct. 22.

* 2014 Dec. 5 - Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library co-sponsored public viewing, via an Internet web-cast from NASA, of NASA's first test launch of the new Orion Deep-Space Vehicle, which will some day transport astronauts to the Moon, an asteroid, and perhaps eventually Mars.

"DEC. 4 –
PUBLIC VIEWING, VIA WEB-CAST, OF 1st NASA TEST LAUNCH
OF NEW ORION DEEP-SPACE VEHICLE
AT MT. LEBANON PUBLIC LIBRARY."

News Release.
Friends of the Zeiss 2014 Nov. 24.

SpaceWatchtower Blog Posts:
"Orion Test Capsule Readies for 2014 Launch." (2012 May 18)
"Thur. 7:05 a.m.: 1st NASA Test Launch of Orion Deep-Space Vehicle." (2014 Dec. 3)
"Thur. NASA Orion Launch Scrubbed; Next Try Fri. 7:05 a.m." (2014 Dec. 4)
"NASA Orion Spacecraft: Near-Perfect Test Mission After Day-Delay." (2014 Dec. 5)

* Walsh, Glenn A. "WHEN PITTSBURGH GOT ITS PLANETARIUM
"The 75th anniversary of America's 5th major planetarium."
Planetarian 2014 December: 50.
Click here for a history of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science starting on page 50 of the .pdf file
of this article in the Quarterly Journal of the International Planetarium Society.

* Friends of the Zeiss-related News Articles Regarding the 75th Anniversary of Buhl Planetarium: 2014 October 24.

* 2016 May 9, 9:00 a.m. to 2:42:26 p.m. EDT - Friends of the Zeiss and the Mount Lebanon Public Library co-spnsored safe public viewing of the fairly rare Transit of the Planet Mercury across the front of the Sun. Due to cloud cover, telescopic observations (projected on a portable movie screen) of the event were not possible. The general public was able to view the event via a large-screen, Internet web-cast of the event, in Conference Room A on the Lower Level of the Mount Lebanon Public Library. This event was hosted by Friends of the Zeiss member David Tessitor.
Publicity Poster / Flyer *** News Release *** SpaceWatchtower Blog Post

Professional Conferences
Attended by Friends of the Zeiss

Major Astronomical Events Observed by --
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science
or Friends of the Zeiss