Pasto Agricultural Museum to hold open house Blue-White Weekend

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will hold its first open house of 2013 during Blue-White Weekend on Sunday, April 21.

The museum, 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 18; The Pennsylvania Timber Show, June 7-8; and Ag Progress Days, Aug. 13-15.

According to curator Rita Graef, the museum's staff has been working diligently on new exhibits that offer many hands-on activities to demonstrate what life and work was like long ago.

"On April 21, the Sunday of Blue-White Weekend, we'll be open from 1 to 4 p.m.," she said.

"This is the first public open house of a busy season that includes home football Sunday afternoons beginning Sept 7. Every Penn State home football game weekend, we are open 1 to 4 p.m. that Sunday afternoon. Each open house features a different part of our collection, so every visit will be different!"

During a recent visit to the Pasto Museum, school children were observed turning cranks and pulling ropes to experience the work done on a farm in the old days, Graef noted.

"Seeing exhibits move and work gives visitors a real sense of how technology made the labor easier and provides insight about what kinds of trade-offs might have to be negotiated to accomplish tasks," she said.

"For example, the pulley exhibit engages visitors to see how strong they are -- encouraging them to pull up a 35-pound weight. The block and tackle provides a mechanical advantage, so it is easier to pull on the rope to lift the weight. However, the rope must be pulled many times farther to lift the weight the same distance."

According to Graef, the museum is attempting to engage elementary school students, families and today's farmers through hands-on exhibits, demonstrations and a busy calendar of events and tours from mid-March through mid-December.

"Our goal for the museum is to connect our agricultural past to the present day," she said.

More information about the Pasto Museum and its open house schedule is available on the museum's website at http://agsci.psu.edu/pasto.

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 April 15, 2013