Intercom Online......June 15, 2000

Your summertime guide to museums


Frost Entomological Museum

Student groups of all ages marvel at the live displays of giant cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, wax moths and other living creatures in the Frost Entomological Museum. One of the major regional collections in the United States, the museum holds more than 500,000 preserved insect specimens and an extensive microscopic slide collection dedicated to the research, education and preservation of insect biodiversity.

An Australian walking stick rests on the hand of R.P. Withington,
research assistant at the Frost Entomological Museum.

Masks from Mexico and Peru are among the treasures
visitors will find at the Matson Museum of Anthropology.

Matson Museum of Anthropology

Exhibits in the recently renovated Matson Museum of Anthropology include a full-scale model of a home in early Mesoamerica, reproductions of painted murals from southern Mexico, and stone carved statuary of the Inuit peoples of Arctic Canada and Greenland.

Annual museum events include Children's Day activities conducted by graduate students and an archaeology summer camp for junior high school students.


"The Quarry," a painting by Floyd Gahman, is one of
many pieces of art in the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum.


Photos by
Greg Grieco

Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum

The Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and Art Gallery displays more than 22,000 rocks, minerals and fossils featuring push-button displays of dozens of the electrical, optical and physical properties of minerals and other materials. The museum is also home to the nation's most extensive collection of paintings and sculpture reflecting the impact of mining and related industries over the past century and a half. Museum exhibits are available for research or teaching and an online virtual gallery brings paintings of miners, glass blowers, coal stacks and the beauty of other industrial art to viewers worldwide.


Rocks and minerals of all shapes and sizes can be
found in the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum.


Visitors browse in one of the Palmer Museum's galleries, above. At right is one of the famous lion's paw sculptures that rest outside the museum's entrance.

The Palmer Museum of Art

Playing on a long tradition of lion sculpture and the Penn State mascot, the entrance of the Palmer Museum of Art is guarded by two giant lion pawsmuseum1 ready to pounce. Inside the museum, seven galleries present selections from a 4,000-work permanent collection. The collection represents 35 centuries of international artistic creation including delicate Phoenician glass from the fifth century B.C., stone sculptures from India, masks from sub-Saharan Africa, contemporary photography and watercolors by John Singer Sargent, Arthur Dove, John Marin and Edward Hopper. Placing a strong emphasis on education and outreach, the museum offers workshops for families, teachers and University students, as well as gallery talks, lectures and traveling exhibitions.


Farm machinery from before the turn of the century
can be found at the Pasto Agricultural Museum.

The Pasto Agricultural Museum

The Pasto Agricultural Museum in Rock Springs is a tribute to the everyday ingenuity of farmers and rural homemakers. The museum collection includes a 3,000-year-old clay sickle used for grain harvesting, early lamps made of animal fat and rushes, a charcoal-heated clothes iron and a dog-powered treadmill used to churn butter and wash clothes. Many items have been restored to working order, so visitors can turn cranks and pull levers, making the museum a popular attraction at Penn State's annual Ag Progress Days.

Collecting knowledge and bringing education to life

By Celena E. Kusch
Special to Intercom

Who built the first hand-cranked ice cream freezer? How do you measure radioactivity in minerals? What materials did early Native Americans use to build their homes? There's no need to phone a friend for these answers. From quiz-show trivia to hard analysis, Penn State's museums offer their hands-on answers to thousands of visitors each year.

Five major museums at University Park house significant research and educational collections in the fields of agriculture, anthropology, entomology, earth and mineral sciences, and the fine arts.

According to Joyce Robinson, associate curator of the Palmer Museum of Art, these museums have had a profound impact on the community.

"As we grow our outreach grows to the students and the wider community, the Palmer is not only the academic art museum of Penn State but one of central Pennsylvania's principle cultural institutions for the area between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia," Robinson said.

Like the Palmer, all Penn State museums provide educational resources for Penn State faculty and students, local and regional elementary and high school teachers and students, community members, hobbyists and researchers around the world.

These pages contain descriptions of, and glimpses into, the University's museums. For more information, check the Web sites listed for each museum.

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