Friends of the Zeiss

P.O. Box 1041

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: <  >


2008 April 10


Dr. David M. Hillenbrand, President

The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

4400 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-4080


Dear Dr. Hillenbrand:


On April 8, I attended the Pre-Bid Conference for Contract NSC-007, the contract that includes erection of aerial structure for expansion of the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s Light Rail Transit system on the North Side and the demolition of the Miller Printing Warehouse Building of The Carnegie Science Center. Under the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, this Pre-Bid Conference is open to the general public.


The Pre-Bid Conference included two site visits: on April 8, a walk along the proposed transit alignment; and early morning (7:30 a.m., before Carnegie Science Center public operations would begin) on April 9, a tour of the Miller Printing Building. I attended the April 8 site visit.


However, when I attempted to attend the April 9 site visit, Carnegie Science Center Director of Exhibits, Facilities & Operations Tom Flaherty refused me admission to the building; this occurred in the “SportsWorks” parking lot. In fact, he said that if I did not leave voluntarily he would have security physically remove me from the property.


Despite my disagreement with some policies of The Carnegie Science Center, it has never been my intention to cause any trouble. Although I did indicate my displeasure with Mr. Flaherty’s decision, I left the property voluntarily.


For nearly thirty years, I have been attending Board of Directors and other public meetings of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. I am an avid supporter of public transportation and of the “North Shore Connector” project. Hence, it was not unusual for me to attend this Pre-Bid Conference, including the site visits.


I continue to be quite concerned with the storage, current status, and future storage arrangements for the historic artifacts currently being stored in the Miller Warehouse, from Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. Yes, I saw this tour as an opportunity to possibly see how some of the artifacts were being stored. However, I certainly would have always stayed with the Port Authority tour group and abided by Science Center regulations.


I want to thank you for your letter of October 8, in response to my letter of September 24. In the letter you state, “Before the Miller Building is razed, we will move these items, along with many other assets residing in the Miller Building, to another facility where they will be stored until such time as we determine their ultimate disposition.”


I am quite concerned with the terminology, ultimate disposition. The three Memoranda of Understanding between The Carnegie Science Center and the City of Pittsburgh spells-out the ultimate disposition: they

are to be displayed/used in The Carnegie Science Center. If they are not to be displayed/used in The Carnegie Science Center, then Friends of the Zeiss strongly believes that they should be returned to the

Dr. David M. Hillenbrand                   2008 April 10                      Page 2 of 2



original Buhl Planetarium building. Due to custom design of the building, the original Buhl Planetarium is the only place where the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and the 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope could be fully utilized to teach science to children; and, it is advantageous that the building is currently being used as a Children’s Museum.


Although your October 8 response talked about the three historic artifacts, covered by the Memoranda of Understanding, you did not specifically mention the status and future storage arrangements of smaller Buhl Planetarium artifacts specified on my September 24 attachment (copy attached). These smaller artifacts, moved to either the Miller Building or The Carnegie Science Center between 1991 and 1994, are also City property, due to the fact that they were in the Buhl Planetarium building on the day of dedication, 1939 October 24, when the Buhl Foundation gifted everything to the City of Pittsburgh. I continue to seek information regarding these artifacts, as well.


I would like to see all of these artifacts as they are currently stored in the Miller Printing Warehouse Building. I, respectfully, ask your permission for access to the Miller Warehouse to see these artifacts.


Sincerely yours,




Glenn A. Walsh

Project Director






Copy:   Jim Ferlo, Senator, Pennsylvania General Assembly

                Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh

                Council of the City of Pittsburgh

                Katherine Molnar, Preservation Planner, City of Pittsburgh

                Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh

                Dan Onorato, Chief Executive, County of Allegheny

                Council of the County of Allegheny

                David Donahoe, Executive Director, Allegheny Regional Asset District

                Board of Directors, Allegheny Regional Asset District

                Stephen G. Bland, Chief Executive Officer, Port Authority of Allegheny County

                Board of Directors, Port Authority of Allegheny County

                Barbara Simpson, President. Allegheny County Transit Council

                Arthur P. Ziegler, Jr., President, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

                Louise Sturgess, Executive Director, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation

                Steven Paul, Executive Director, Preservation Pittsburgh

                Dan Holland, Young Preservationists’ Association of Pittsburgh

                Joanna Haas, Director, The Carnegie Science Center

                Ron Baillie, Director of Education, The Carnegie Science Center

                Tom Flaherty, Director, Exhibits, Facilities & Operations, The Carnegie Science Center

                Friends of the Zeiss