Pasto Agricultural Museum to feature gardening tools exhibit

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will present a special exhibit of old, manual gardening tools, to debut in conjunction with the Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 19.

On that Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., museum staff will offer guided tours of the facility, which features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines.

According to museum curator Rita Graef, the new exhibit will fascinate folks with an interest in gardening. "We will feature tools used by large home or market gardeners," she said. "These implements work the soil manually -- the power is provided by the operator, not an animal pulling it through the field. Even in loose soil, this would have been hard work!"

Graef added that many of these items have been in storage since they were donated and have never before been exhibited. "We are dusting them off and sharing this part of our agricultural past with visitors to the museum."

Some of the items prepared for this special exhibit include an Iron Age garden planter and corn seeder, Acme powder gun, "New Model" A5 vegetable seed drill and a Planet Jr. Jiffy hoe, seeder, cultivator and plow.

Also this spring, the Pasto Museum will hold its annual volunteer meeting. On May 22, the museum will open at 11 a.m., with a luncheon at noon, followed by the volunteer meeting.

Previously open only by appointment and during the three days of Ag Progress Days in August, the Pasto Museum -- which recently was enlarged and renovated -- is now open much more often. The facility welcomed visitors last fall every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends.

"We plan a similar schedule for this fall," Graef said. "As we move through the season, we want to provide reasons for visitors to return. New exhibits and displays will be added throughout the year, special programs and activities will highlight the collection, and we'll offer presentations that connect our agricultural past to the present."

Operated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the Pasto Agricultural Museum is located on the Ag Progress Days site at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45.
 

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Last Updated May 14, 2012