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Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

School of Times Past - Grades K -8

In 1976, a group of collectors and enthusiasts formed the California Early Days Gas Engine and Tractor Association to celebrate their love of the history behind the early days of farm equipment and life. This pioneering group founded the museum and negotiated the original lease with the County of San Diego to secure the 55 acres of rolling farm ground in North County. Starting with a few old-time engines and equipment pieces, the museum now boasts more than 20,000 items, ranging from a Corliss Steam Engine with a 19,000-pound flywheel to a room decided to the preservation of rare manuals and photographs.

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From the earliest days, one of the most unique aspects of the museum is its dedication to the continued operation and preservation of early technology. Unique from traditional museums with static displays, the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum's equipment is maintained in operating condition. In addition to the working equipment, the museum is also a living history example of early agriculture. Much of the property to this day is still set aside for farming. Dry-land crops that were typical to the area around the turn of the century such as wheat and oats are still grown today. Intermittently corn, sorghum or other irrigated crops are cultivated.

During the bi-annual Harvest Fairs in June and October, the grounds come alive with activity. Visitors have the rare opportunity to observe a threshing machine in operation, blacksmiths working at their trade, women baking bread in a woodstove from wheat grown, harvested and ground into flour, right on the property. Visitors can also watch steam and gas engines providing power for pumping water, grinding grain and other chores typical on early American farms. Volunteer members supply support and manpower for all programs and operations, ensuring history stays alive.

The museum's elementary program, School of Times Past, continues to expand to meet demand. The museum enables students to observe early historical equipment and participate in fun projects with the Museum's school educator, Ms. Whimplewort. Internship studies in museology, collections management and small business administration are also offered.

Numerous documentaries focused on the museums collections have been filmed for the video market and television programming. Classic museum equipment has been used in countless movies and television productions including Stargate, Mulholland Falls, LA Confidential, Modern Marvels, Pearl Harbor and Seabiscuit, among others.

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School Days Schedule

9:30 - 10:30: Farm Living w/ Ms. Whimplewart. Educating students on home life, school life and free time during the early 19th century by touring Museum Exhibits such as the farmhouse and old fashion schoolhouse.

10:30 - 12:00: One Activity of Your Choice. Select one activities from the list below, each activity is complete with a hisotical analysis of the project.

  • A. Weaving Creation of bookmarks using an Inkle Loom (Age Recommendation - Grades 4-5)
  • B. Grist Mill/Farmhouse The process of Corn Bread, from the Mill to the kitchen (All Ages)
  • C. Blacksmithing History & Demo
  • D. Rancho Guajome Adobe (Thursday Only) Visit the Adobe via a wagon pulled by an Antique Tractor and take part in a tour of the historical Rancho and Adobe Brick Making.

12:00 - 12:30: Lunch. Bring your own lunch or the Museum offers a $5.00 per student sack lunch with advance arrangements.

12:30 - 1:00: Wagon Ride (Optional- No Additional Charge) Students wrap up their day at the Museum with a tractor pulled Wagon ride of the 55 acre site.

~ School Of Times Past Registration ~