UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will hold its first open house of 2012 during Blue-White Game Weekend on Sunday, April 22.
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, also will be open for the Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 19.
According to curator Rita Graef, the museum will offer a fresh appearance this spring, with new displays, more photos and special exhibits.
"On April 22, the Sunday of Blue-White Game Weekend, we'll be open from 1 to 4 p.m.," she said. "We will show a working model of the museum and share what's behind our efforts to clean, conserve and display the artifacts."
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, museum staff will offer guided tours for the public during the Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale.
"We will present a special exhibit that features manual gardening tools such as Planet Jr. tillers and cultivators that were used by small-operation market gardeners and larger home gardeners," Graef said. "We think those machines will fascinate people with an interest in gardening."
Also this spring, the Pasto Museum will hold its annual volunteer meeting. On May 22, the museum will be open at 11 a.m., with a luncheon at noon, followed by the volunteer meeting.
"As we move through the season, we want to provide reasons for visitors to return," Graef said. "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."
There's something about the Pasto Museum that is surprisingly compelling, Graef suggested.
"Visitors really seem to enjoy connecting with our past," she said. "By seeing and touching tools and equipment used in early agriculture and rural life, people can better understand and appreciate how early technological developments led to modern-day technologies," she said.
Previously open only by appointment and during the three days of Ag Progress Days in August, the Pasto Museum -- which was recently 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 this fall," Graef said. "We are continuing to try to increase public awareness of the museum's collection."
More information about the Pasto Museum and its open house schedule is available at http://agsci.psu.edu/pasto online.
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.