Penn State has always been a looking glass for central Pennsylvania.
When it was born in 1855 as Farmers High School, Centre County, like most of the state, was awash in farmland.
Engineering was added as the country became more industrial. When computers took over the world, Penn State became a great place to study them.
Sometimes, the university has been the catalyst for the growth of local industry instead of following it. When Sinterstahl (now PMG) settled in Philipsburg, the powdered metals company wasn’t shy about saying one of the reasons was proximity to Penn State’s cutting-edge education in the industry.
Whether the university is the chicken or the egg, it isn’t surprising that Penn State would be talking about the Marcellus Shale industry.
On Wednesday, the Palmer Museum of Art will host a tour and panel discussion, “Boom/Bust Cycles of Extractive Industries in Pennsylvania.”
An exhibition, “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project,” will be available for viewing from 4:30 to 5 p.m., followed by the panel discussion featuring professors of literature, history, sociology, theater and women’s studies from 5 to 6 p.m.
Panelists will discuss historical and social aspects of central Pennsylvania’s traditional industries, including mining and lumber, and the new focus on natural gas.
They will follow that with ideas about how that will move into the future.