Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh





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The Changing Carnegie Science Center 1991 -2001            

Celebrating a Tenth Anniversary: October 5, 2001


Ten years, 6,384,889 visitors, and another two million people touched through outreach programs. Pretty impressive. But as Carnegie Science Center pauses on October 5 to take a celebratory glance back at its first decade, there are plans already underway for a 160,000-square-foot expansion, and the addition of Discovery Park, an outdoor recreation area.


"We would like to continue to grow our programs and audiences, and become a truly dramatic riverfront landmark for the region," says Seddon Bennington, Carnegie Science Center Director. He adds, "It's wonderful to be part of an organization that plays such an important part in this community, and in the region's development."


The Science Center has created a solid foundation to accomplish its goals. Ron Baillie, Director of Education, beginning at Buhl Science Center in 1983, says he's seen the new Science Center blossom into an "integral part of the community" and a place people return to time and again.


Baillie says that's due to the variety of changing programs and formats offered, and the staff's ability to create exhibits that appeal to a wide-range of interests. The new UPMC SportsWorks is a perfect example.  "There was a survey done in Toronto that showed sports fans were the largest group of people unlikely to visit a science center," Baillie says. But UPMC SportsWorks, with its interactive approach, will certainly draw that crowd. And the new Friday and Saturday night program is aimed at 18 to 24-year olds--a group as unlikely as sports fans to hang out at a Science Center.


Dennis Bateman, assistant director for exhibits and facilities, who also started at Buhl Science Center, feels the new Science Center's interactive displays are a large part of its success. "When we opened, we were the only one with interactives," Bateman says. "Now the Pittsburgh Zoo and the Heinz History Museum has them--so we helped raise bar on that."


Of course that means the Science Center now has competition. "It keeps

us on our toes," Bateman says...and creates a need to keep improving internally. "Now people want to know what the next thing will be--which means competition with ourselves," Bateman adds.


Looking ahead, Baillie says,  "The track we are on is not finished. I've met many people who still haven't come to visit." But that will change as the Science Center builds upon its rich past, and word continues to spread of what it has to offer.


"We're so proud of the good feelings people have about the Science Center," says Bennington. "Whether it's children, teens, parents, adults, teachers, politicians, tourists--it's wonderful to be part of a place that continually receives such positive feedback."


This past spring, as Baillie watched a busload of 10-year-olds prepare to enter the center, he overheard one little boy, obviously a repeat customer, turn to a buddy and exclaim, "This place is SO cool!" That type of energy and enthusiasm will keep the Science Center alive and thriving for decades to come.


Special events are planned to celebrate the anniversary on October 4, 5, 6.


A Timeline of Change


Buhl Science Center and Planetarium opened in 1939, and in 1987 merged with Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. The 1991 Carnegie Science Center that grew from Buhl in 1991 is in some ways a 62-year old institution, with deep and well-remembered roots in Pittsburgh. 


Space does not permit the full details of change in the past decade, which includes such accomplishments as the Teacher Resource Center, Discovery Island, Science Carnival, SciTech Festival, Laser Shows, and world-wide domination of sales of Planetarium shows. Every floor of the building has completely changed in the past decade.



Highlights of 1991 - 2001              

  1990 - USS Requin submarine opens. Attracts one million visitors in next decade.

  1991 - Carnegie Science Center (CSC) opens.

  1993- YouthALIVE  program for inner city high school students.

  1994 - Seddon Bennington becomes second director

  1995 - Miniature Railroad & Village becomes a year-round attraction.

  1996 - Robotics --first traveling exhibition,  tours 11 cities in next four years.  SciQuest, first major staff-produced exhibit.  International Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) meets at CSC.  Journey into the Living Cell--first non-astronomy based science program produced for a planetarium.

  1998 - Eccostation - improved WPXI Weather Center opens.

Creative Technology Center opens.

  2000 - ZAP! Surgery Beyond the Cutting Edge --traveling exhibit on surgical technology has world debut at the ASTC conference in Cleveland. Exploration Station, Exploration Station Jr. l and The Sky Above Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood open.  Kitchen Theater and SeaScape expand. E-motion light sculpture highlights building at night.  Science in Your Neighborhood educational program.

 2001 -  UPMC SportsWorks opens- largest exhibition yet produced.  Launch of educational satellite on campus of Edinboro University .


Changing Seasons and the Harvest Moon     


Many cultures have associated special names with the Full Moon of certain months or seasons. Perhaps the most famous of all these special Moon names is that of the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, or the official start of fall. That event takes place on the morning of September 22nd this year. That means that the Full Moon that occurs ten days later, on Tuesday, October 2nd is this year’s Harvest Moon.

Now it’s fairly obvious that the Harvest Moon gets its name from the fact that it marks the climax of the harvest season. This is true for farmers in the United States as well as for European farmers, who first used the term “Harvest Moon”. What’s truly interesting however is that the Harvest Moon is much more than just a name. There is something very special about the autumnal equinox and the Moon’s motion that made the Harvest Moon a valuable tool.

Most of the year, the Moon rises about 50 minutes later each night. At the time of the start of autumn however, the Moon’s path in the sky makes a very shallow angle with the horizon. Because of this, the Full Moon of autumn creeps along the horizon for several nights and rises only about 25 minutes later each day. In much of Europe, the autumn Full Moon rises only 15 minutes later each night.


Because the Full Moon always rises at sunset, farmers found that the autumn Moon, rising at almost the same time every night, provided them with the ability to work late in the fields after daylight had faded. It’s hard to underestimate just how important this was in the days before electric lights. For centuries the Harvest Moon was more than just a name, it was a useful natural phenomenon.


-- John G. Radzilowicz, Director

Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium & Observatory



The 1939 Buhl Science Center planetarium was replaced in 1991

by state-of-the-art technology in the new Henry Buhl, Jr. planetarium





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