September 21, 2018
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A taste of nostalgia – Penngrove’s Power Up! Event

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
July 6, 2018

•For musuem hours call, 707-795-4849.

July 14 marks the 21st anniversary of the Penngrove Power and Implement Museum’s Power Up! Event, a day dedicated to seeing motive power in action. This free event happens the second weekend every July and showcases both the museum’s equipment, as well as motive power possessions that others such as car, radio, engine, steam clubs and robot and scout troops exhibit.

“We invite different clubs to join us,” says Nancy Phillips who serves on the Board of Directors for the museum. “Branch 31 of the Small Engine Club joins us and brings some of their cute little engines. This year the Diablo A’s [Model A Ford Club] is bringing about eight model A’s.”

In past years the museum, whose equipment is all in working condition, has run Fairbanks-Morse engines, tractors, other farm implements and an air-compressor which provides starting power for the stationary engines. Often the Pratt & Whitney R4360 is started up, with 28 cylinders turning over and pushing the test prop around.

“Some people come every single year because we change things – otherwise we would get bored ourselves,” says Phillips. “I’m there every month and I see things I didn’t know we had. If you have any curiosity about the past and where we came from, you’d be interested.”

The Penngrove Power and Implement Museum is dedicated to preserving the equipment and machinery that have helped transition our country from manual labor and animal power to external power sources such as steam, internal combustion, diesel, gas and electricity as the country evolved. Visiting the museum is like taking a walk back in history, to see how early American machinery worked in the original way they were meant to be operated.

“In the museum there are probably over 10,000 pieces, if you count every tool and device,” says Phillips. “It is a large barn with three levels and we have something on every level. There is a factory that runs on flat belts, there are displays upstairs of vintage kitchens, old cameras, office machines, egg washing machines, scales, camping equipment, a military display and I have vintage quilts and vintage clothing I display. We have engines, tractors, trucks and a train. It is power and implements.”

While Power Up! is a free event, donations are appreciated and the day serves as the museum’s biggest annual fundraiser with the funds going to overhead expenses as well as restoration costs. Volunteers manage both the event and the ongoing museum operations and more volunteers are always needed to handle restoration projects, maintain the grounds, design interior displays, fundraise and manage administrative duties.

“If we had more volunteers, we could be open more – hint, hint!,” quips Phillips. “If I had 12 volunteers that wanted to be docents I could be open one more day every month.”

In addition to the days the museum is open to the public, the museum also leads school tours for grades 3 and up and Phillips encourages teachers in the community to contact her for information on having their group visit and learn a part of our agricultural and industrial history. 

The Power Up! event draws approximately 400 people and Phillips expects this year to be no different. 

“There is never a crabby face,” says Phillips. “Everybody has a smile and is happy to be there – I just love it.”