Pasto Ag Museum to offer thought-provoking exhibit at Ag Progress Days

August 02, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Visitors to Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum always have been encouraged to think about what it was like to be a farm family member in the distant past, but a special exhibit to be unveiled at Ag Progress Days will ask them to ponder what an old-time farmer thought about each day, and then compare that to what today's farmer thinks about every day.

It's a thought-provoking exercise, pun intended, according to Rita Graef, curator of the Pasto Museum, and it can be enjoyed in air-conditioned comfort Aug. 15-17 during the show.

"Farmers always have considered quite a few things, but we've picked five things they have had to consider every day — the weather, manure disposal, the integrity of fences and property boundaries, threats to their crops from pests, and using tools and maintaining their equipment," she said. "The exhibit features interactive activities that ask visitors, 'What do you think about every day?' and 'Do farmers and nonfarmers think about the same things?'"

 Also at the Pasto Museum during Ag Progress Days:

-- The Axe Whisperer will put on a demonstration at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

-- The Historic Eastern Longhunter char cloth and fire-starting demonstration will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. "Visit with an Eastern longhunter to learn what life was like in the 1750s," Graef said. "Learn how people who carved out this land cooked their meals, stayed warm in the winters, and made wisps of light through the night. Join Dave Benner as he discusses the art of fire-making before the Bic lighter."

-- The Centre County Historical Society will share everyday objects of an earlier time.

-- Penn State University Press will feature some of its newest releases; and authors will be on hand to sign books.

-- Visit with Pam, the fiberglass milking cow. 

-- A silent auction will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, inside the museum. Bidding closes at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The annual event is the venue's single biggest fundraiser, helping to support programming and exhibits that serve museum visitors, Graef noted.

"We earmarked funds raised in the 2017 silent auction for enhancing interactive exhibits and displays that connect our agricultural past to the present day," she said. "Auction donations are accepted through the Monday before Ag Progress Days. Please be generous with your auction donations and bids. Take home a little bit of history." 

The approximately 1,500 items in the Pasto Museum's collection are concentrated in the time period between 1775 and 1940, although the assemblage of objects spans 6,000 years, from 4000 B.C. to the 1940s.

"Our emphasis is to provide visibility for technological developments in agriculture between 1775 and 1940," Graef said. "The mission of the Pasto Agricultural Museum is to provide the public with an understanding and appreciation for early agriculture and rural life, especially in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States."

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 17. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event here.

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    The approximately 1,500 items in the Pasto Museum's collection are concentrated in the time period between 1775 and 1940. The artifacts are a hit with both young and older visitors.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated August 03, 2017