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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Telephone: 412-561-7876

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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Internet Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2007 October 29

 

The Honorable Dan Onorato, Chief Executive

County of Allegheny

101 Allegheny County Courthouse

436 Grant Street

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-2403

 

Dear Chief Executive Onorato:

 

I am writing to ask that you reconsider complete transfer of ownership, of the historic artifacts related to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, from the County of Allegheny to the Senator John Heinz History Center.

 

At the present time, these artifacts are held in trust by the County of Allegheny, for the people of Allegheny County. I feel very strongly that it would be a violation of this trust for the legal title to these artifacts to be transferred to any private entity, which has no oversight by any public body. The Heinz History Center is a wonderful cultural asset in our community. However, no public body has legal oversight over the decisions of their Board of Directors.

 

As I am sure you recall, I, and many others, strongly opposed the proposed transfer of legal title, to The Carnegie Science Center, of the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts in 1995. Had the City agreed to the proposed title transfer, even with a sale prohibition clause, The Carnegie Science Center could today have free reign to do something or nothing with the artifacts. And, as a member of the general public, my complaints would have minimal impact on The Carnegie Board of Trustees, as there would be no public body overseeing the use or non-use of these artifacts.

 

Recently, I sent you a copy of a letter I sent to Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh President David Hillenbrand regarding the future status of these artifacts, which are currently in storage despite the Science Centerís promise to display them. It is quite clear to me that the only reason I received any reply at all from Mr. Hillenbrand is because the artifacts are City property. Had the artifacts been the property of The Carnegie, my letter would have been ignored.

 

I also strongly believe that the History Center will spend money to restore the Lincoln artifacts, even if the History Center receives these artifacts under a semi-permanent loan arrangement. The Carnegie Science Center agreed to spend money to restore the historic Buhl Planetarium artifacts, even though they remain City property.

 

I am confident that the History Center would maintain and restore the Lincoln artifacts, even if they remain County property. The County should continue to legally hold these artifacts in trust, for all of the people of Allegheny County.

 

I, respectfully, ask that you reconsider the decision to transfer legal title, of these artifacts, to the History Center.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

Glenn A. Walsh

 

gaw

 

Enclosure:†††††††††††† 2007 October23 Testimony Before Allegheny County Council