Pasto Ag Museum to offer insight into tool making at Ag Progress Days

July 19, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Visitors to Penn State's Pasto Agricultural Museum always get to see tools, but at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 14-16, they will get to see how they were created by old-time craftsmen.

A new permanent exhibit, "Wood, Iron and Steel — Tools and Tool Making for Agriculture," will be unveiled for the show. This exhibit examines the materials and methods used to make many of the tools and technology featured throughout the museum.

"It is the woodworker and his lathe, the blacksmith and his forge, and the iron master and his furnace that made possible the advancements in technology we have on display," said Curator Rita Graef. "The exhibit allows visitors to explore material science, simple machines and mechanical advantage, and inventions as applied to agricultural science."

Also new at the Pasto Museum for Ag Progress Days this year, the historic Greenwood Furnace State Park charcoal wagon will be parked outside the museum's front door. The Friends of Greenwood Furnace will display the beautifully restored original item from the iron-making operation dating to the 1890s.

Returning to the park just over the mountain from the Ag Progress Days site around 1983, it was repaired for display, but due to little information being available at the time, its appearance was historically inaccurate, Graef noted. Today, the wagon appears as it would have looked in the 19th century.

"Come and experience this unique charcoal wagon and learn more about the historical uses of Pennsylvania's forests from the living history interpreters outside the Pasto Museum," she said.

Also at the museum during the show, staffers from the Centre Furnace Mansion will provide detailed insight on the iron furnace that operated just outside State College, Pennsylvania. Established in 1791, Centre Furnace was the first charcoal iron furnace in the area that later became Centre County.

In 1855, 400 acres of partially donated Centre Furnace land became home to a school for farmers, Graef pointed out, which is now Penn State.

Another Ag Progress Days presentation related to the museum, the "Blacksmiths Working" demonstration, will be stationed just west of the Pasto location at the top of Main Street. The skill and craft of historically accurate blacksmiths (representing the late 1700s through the mid-1800s) will be depicted by Mike Reinard and Frank Gillespie. Times of the demonstration will change each day of the show, so visitors should check the daily activities board at the demonstration for details.

And finally, the museum's silent auction will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday in a tent adjacent to the facility. 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.

"We earmarked funds raised in the 2018 silent auction for enhancing interactive exhibits and displays with video touchscreen technology to 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. Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and the event also can be found on Facebook(@AgProgressDays).

  • kids, pulleys

    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.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 19, 2018