UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Homecoming is as American as apple pie, and in recognition, Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will focus its Oct. 16 open house, during the university's homecoming weekend, on rare old devices used to prepare and process apples.
"We'll be peeling apples using artifacts similar to those in the collection," said Pasto Museum curator Rita Graef, who urged museum visitors to bring their old apple peelers for an informal "show & tell" on Oct.16. "Everyone who visits on that day can make and take home an apple print bookmark."
The museum has several antique apple peelers in its collection, Graef noted. They range from small, clamp-on models used in the home when making a pie to larger devices that were used for processing bushels of apples for apple sauce.
"We also have a heavy-duty commercial apple peeler that cores, peels and slices apples," she said. "It's a beautiful mechanism to watch as multiple gears turn the apple, deliver the core and maneuver the blade around the fruit in one continuous and sweeping motion to remove the peel."
The Pasto Museum features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines. "By seeing and touching tools and equipment used in early agriculture and rural life, people will better understand and appreciate how early technological developments led to modern-day technologies," Graef explained.
Previously open only by appointment and during the three days of Ag Progress Days in August, the museum is welcoming visitors from 1 to 4 p.m. every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends as part of a new initiative to increase public awareness of the museum's collection. Other open houses are set for Oct. 30 and Nov. 13.
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, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45.