Historic herbarium featured at Pasto Museum open house Oct. 11

October 07, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The fourth in a series of fall open houses at Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum, to be held Oct. 11, will focus on the Pennsylvania Agricultural College Herbarium, established by the University's first president, Evan Pugh, in the 1800s.

The original core of Pugh's "PAC Herbarium" still exists and now is located in 13 Whitmore Laboratory on the University Park campus, but specimens from the collection will be exhibited at the Pasto Museum during the open house.

"We are excited to feature the little-seen PAC Herbarium -- this is a very special collection," said Rita Graef, Pasto Museum curator. "The current curator of the collection will be on hand to share samples and discuss how specimens are selected, stored and used by researchers. Those plant specimens, as well as seeds and other samples, support scientific research in several departments and colleges at Penn State. And the sheets are simply beautiful to look at."

Hands-on activities at the open house will include making prints from plant materials on natural fibers. Graef suggests that visitors bring their own white, cotton t-shirt, but the museum will provide cotton squares for print making.                         

"Our fall open house series is a great time to experience the Pasto Agricultural Museum," said Graef. "We feature a different part of the collection from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday after home football games, so the experience for visitors is different each weekend,"

Other open houses this fall will feature the following themes:

--Nov. 1: Penn State Arboretum and Penn State Master Gardeners.

--Nov. 22: Ice Cream Social Celebration, which will feature dairy and animal science and the Penn State Berkey Creamery's 150th anniversary.

Graef noted that the open houses help the public appreciate the time when energy for work was supplied by the power of humans and animals.

"By seeing and touching tools and equipment used in early agriculture and rural life, people will better understand how early technological developments led to modern-day technologies," she said.

More information on the museum and its open houses is available here. To receive information and event reminders via email, send a message to PastoAgMuseum@psu.edu. Graef can be reached at 814-863-1383 or by email at rsg7@psu.edu. Facebook users can follow the museum here.

Operated by the College of Agricultural Sciences and 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 era before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines.


  • penn state first president

    Evan Pugh

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated October 12, 2015