Pasto Agricultural Museum to be open for events in May, June

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Pasto Agricultural Museum will be open for two upcoming public events that bring the Ag Progress Days grounds, where it is located, to life this spring.

The museum will open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in conjunction with the third annual Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale. It also will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 7 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 8 in conjunction with Timber 2013, the Forest Products Equipment and Technology Exposition.

This year's Garden Fair and Plant Sale, organizers promise, will be the premier home gardening event in Centre County and the surrounding region, featuring more than 7,000 varieties of plants and vegetables, 30 invited vendors, talks on topical gardening-related subjects, demonstrations and exhibits, and a compost workshop.

It also will include a special exhibit on gardening history and free tours at the Pasto Ag Museum.

The plant sale will feature thousands of potted plants including perennials, annuals, herbs, houseplants, vegetables, noteworthy plants, pollinator and native plants. There also will be a silent auction, garden-related resale items, and food and beverages for sale. Penn State Extension Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer gardening questions and help visitors with their shopping.

Pasto Museum curator Rita Graef pointed out that the exhibit "Manual Tools for the Serious Gardener" has been held over and will fascinate folks with an interest in gardening.

"The exhibit features 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, using them would have been hard work!"

Graef, who noted that organizers of the Garden Fair and Plant Sale asked her to bring a part of this special Pasto Museum exhibit back for this one special event, listed some historic gardening tools to be shown: 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.

More information about the Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale is available on the event's website. Details about the Pasto Museum exhibit of old gardening tools can be found online.

The Timber 2013 expo aims to put attendees "in the driver’s seat" with hands-on demonstrations of state-of-the-art machinery. This is an opportunity for forest-product companies to enhance their business and production practices, as well as shop for goods and services from commercial vendors, all in one convenient location.

Graef said that during the show, the Pasto Museum will offer tours and feature a 20-minute, black-and-white silent movie shot in 1926, running on a continuous loop, showing the activities of the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Co.

"It features rare footage of the entire timbering process, from cruising a stand of virgin hemlock, cutting trees with hand saws, peeling the bark, loading and transporting, floating and finally milling the huge logs at an old sawmill," she said. "Tours of the entire museum will be offered, with demonstrations of some exhibits available.

"We invite folks to come in out of the heat and enjoy our air conditioning while they watch the movie and enjoy our new exhibits."

The old film includes early bulldozers used for clearing land and images of a Heisler locomotive, manufactured in Erie, a machine used specifically for logging. An American Hoist and Derrick loader is shown, loading narrow-gauge rail cars to send to the sawmill.

"Timbering has always been vital to the Keystone State's economy and to the livelihood of many of its residents," said Graef. "But the enterprise of moving logs from the forest to sawmills has become much easier with the advent of modern equipment and tools. It is fascinating to look back at how logging was accomplished in the early days."

Operated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the Pasto Museum also will welcome visitors during Ag Progress Days, Aug. 13-15, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends as part of an initiative to increase public awareness of the museum's collection.

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 -- the museum features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines.

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Last Updated May 10, 2013