First, a personal note: My mother, Eleanor Walsh Perrine, passed-away on April 5 at age 78. She had suffered from
asthma and COPD for most of her life. In addition, she was legally blind. At her direction, her eyes were donated to the
Cleveland Clinic for medical research, through the Foundation Fighting Blindness. In all of my activism for several
different causes, over the years, I would have to say that my mother was my greatest supporter. She provided me with
the moral and other support I needed to keep going. I will miss her deeply.
-- Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science: October
24 marked the 70th anniversary of the dedication of The Buhl
In the 2009 May issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, columnist Sue French cited an asterism, in multiple star Struve 1659, named for long-time Buhl Planetarium Floor Manager Eric G. Canali: Canali or Canali’s Cluster. Eric calls it "that pretty little triangle-asterism-thingy."
This year, quilt enthusiasts finally
“found” the Great Pittsburgh Friendship
Quilt, after it had not been seen or exhibited for 20 years. This Quilt,
consisting of small fabric squares signed by thousands of Pittsburgh-area
residents, was created at Buhl Planetarium in 1988, in conjunction with a
traveling exhibit called “Millions.” The quilt had been sitting in the basement
of The Carnegie Science Center’s “SportsWorks” building for most of that time
and did encounter a small amount of damage from water and rodents. The Quilt is
now being displayed at special events, from time-to-time, such as a Quilters’
Weekend last January at the
Earlier this year, the
In August, The Carnegie Science
Center announced that they would reassemble Buhl Planetarium’s historic Zeiss
II Planetarium Projector, to be an exhibit (not used to present sky shows) in
Friends of the Zeiss welcomes restoration and public display of this important artifact. This is a very important first step, which could some day lead to our long-term goal of reuse of the projector, to present sky shows, in the original Buhl Planetarium Theater of the Stars. We continue to be disappointed that there are no announced plans for reuse of the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope, Mercator’s Projection Map of the World, and other artifacts still in storage.
Glenn A. Walsh Internet Web Sites - History of Buhl Planetarium: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
Telephone: 412-561-7876 Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
(More – Page 2 of 2)
Updates: Buhl Planetarium and Carnegie Library – 2009 December Page 2 of 2
Update – Carnegie Library: This year there is both good news and bad news regarding historic Carnegie Libraries.
First the good news: September 15 was a red-letter day in the history of Carnegie Libraries. That evening, the Carnegie Library
Carnegie Library building, and probably the first library building of any type, to be closed, be reused for another purpose (as a
courthouse annex), then be converted back to library service! As the guest speaker at the reopening ceremony, I donated an
autographed copy of the 1999 April issue of the national children’s history magazine, Cobblestone (of which I was the
Consulting Editor), which had the history theme of the life and philanthropies of Andrew Carnegie.
In last year’s “Update”
newsletter, I mentioned that four original Carnegie Libraries were at risk of
being closed in
along with seven other
these libraries—at least not yet.
The news is not as good across
the state in
of four neighborhood branches, the consolidation of two others, the move of yet another to a new site, and the closing of their
Allegheny Depository, which houses archives and older books. These changes would directly affect four of the earliest, original
The Allegheny Depository is located on the second floor of the city’s oldest library building, the historic Allegheny Regional
Branch (next-door to the original Buhl Planetarium), which Carnegie Library abandoned after lightning damaged the clock tower.
Although insurance paid for restoring this historic library, a replacement library building opened three blocks away in August.
The original West End Branch, where library story-times originated, would be closed in February, along with non-original
branches in Beechview and Hazelwood. As you may recall, the current Hazelwood Branch is located in a second-floor rental unit,
above a laundromat and deli. Despite neighborhood opposition, in March of 2004 Carnegie Library moved into this rental unit
after abandoning the original, Andrew Carnegie-built building constructed in 1900. The original building, which continues to sit
empty and unused, includes an ornamental skylight above the circulation desk and a 250-seat auditorium.
The Lawrenceville Branch, the very first neighborhood branch built by Andrew Carnegie and the prototype for all other community
libraries built by Andrew
Carnegie nationwide, was scheduled to close in the Summer, following the
reopening of the
Branch that is currently being renovated. The Lawrenceville Branch was the first library to allow patrons to directly access books
(previously, a librarian had to obtain books for patrons), and it includes the first room specifically designed and built to be a library
children’s room! Consequently, the interior of this library branch is more historic than the exterior! However, as a City-Designated
Historic Structure, only the exterior is protected from changes, should the library close and the building be used for another purpose.
After months of public outcry on the closing of the branch libraries, Pittsburgh City Council found some excess money in a fuel
account, which was transferred as a stop-gap measure to keep the library branches open. In addition to the city’s annual contribution
to the library system ($40,000 to comply with an agreement the City made with Andrew Carnegie on 1890 February 25), an additional $600,000 will be available each year for 2010 and 2011. On December 14, The Carnegie Library Board of Trustees voted to accept this additional City money. This will keep all library branches open in 2010, although there may still be reductions in staff and public hours. However, Carnegie Library has already said that the additional $600,000 will not be enough to prevent branch closings in 2011.
it was a 20 percent reduction in State funding to all libraries that contributed to Carnegie Libraries problems this year. One possibility
for Carnegie Library funding, that has been discussed, would be to earmark tax proceeds from the commencement of table games at
the city’s new Rivers Casino. Although the Pennsylvania General Assembly has not yet legally authorized table games at state
casinos, this is expected to occur within the next few months..
And, yet, there is another Carnegie Library-related problem. The historic Hazelwood Branch Library building could be put-up for
sale, to bring in additional
money for the City of
that the building cannot be demolished (as it is a City Designated Historic Structure), questions whether sale of the building is
feasible. However, if it would be sold, the beautiful interior wood-work, original book shelves and circulation desk, ornamental
skylight, and 250-seat auditorium would be at risk; historic designation only protects the exterior façade. Such a sale has been
proposed in the Mayor’s revised 2010 budget, to make-up budget shortfalls in other areas.