Pasto Agricultural Museum to hold open house on Blue-White Weekend

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum will hold its first open house of 2015 during Blue-White Weekend from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 19. The event will feature both inside and outside exhibits.

Inside the museum, the focus will be on the Oregon Trail and what emigrants would have taken with them for their 2,200-mile journey west, from the Missouri Valley to California and Oregon in the mid-1800s.

"Join us and look at the items that would have been packed in the wagons of early pioneers. See and touch personal and household items, tools, tin ware, cast iron, wooden utensils and more," urged curator Rita Graef. "Consider what food was required for the six-month journey, how it was preserved and prepared. Appreciate the decisions that would have been made by those setting out – expecting never to return – about what to take and what to leave behind."

Outside the museum, an 1840s kitchen garden is taking shape. It will eventually contain herbs, fruits and vegetables that would have been found in kitchen gardens in the region; with culinary, medicinal and fiber coloring (dying) plants represented.

"These gardens would have been just outside the kitchen door in the early to mid-1800s," Graef explained. "Before the civil war and the dawn of transportation and road systems, rural farmwives depended on what they could find locally to flavor a meal, sooth a toothache or settle an upset stomach. Most families in this region grew some of their own flax to produce the fiber they needed for weaving into linen cloth. Natural plant materials would have been used for coloring."

Penn State Master Gardeners will be on hand to help visitors understand why a soil test is an important step in establishing a new garden or revitalizing an existing one.

"Many gardeners have questions about how to collect samples correctly and even more have questions when they receive the results," said Graef. "This program will demonstrate how to collect soil samples and provide an overview of what to expect from the test results. Soil test kits will be available for purchase, cash or check only."

The April 19 open house will be the first public open house of a busy season. The Pasto Museum, which features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines, will be open for the Master Gardener Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 16.

Also, beginning Sept. 5, the museum will be open 1 to 4 p.m. on the Sundays of every Penn State home football game weekend. Each open house will feature a different part of the facility's collection.

More information about the Pasto Museum and its open house schedule is available on the museum's website.

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.

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Last Updated April 03, 2015