Timbering Featured at Pasto Ag Museum

11/17/2012 7:00 AM

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The next in a series of open houses at Penn State’s Pasto Agricultural Museum will focus on the history of timbering in Pennsylvania and its significance in America’s past.

The event is set for 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18.

Pennsylvania has long been the top hardwood state in the country, with a forest products industry that now employs about 10 percent of the commonwealth’s manufacturing workforce.

“Timbering has always been vital to the Keystone State’s economy and to the livelihood of many of its residents,” said Pasto museum curator Rita Graef. “But the enterprise of moving logs from the forest to saw mills 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.”

Featured at the Nov. 18 Pasto Museum open house will be a 20-minute, black-and-white silent movie shot in 1926 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 saw mill.

Paul Fagley, historian and cultural educator at Greenwood Furnace State Park, will interpret the film and answer questions.

The film will be played with narration several times during the open house. Tours of the entire museum will be offered, with demonstrations of some exhibits available.

Operated by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the museum will be welcoming visitors 1-4 p.m. every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends as part of an initiative to increase public awareness of the museum’s collection.

The final open house this fall will be Nov. 25 and will focus on lighting before electricity.

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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