Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

About Us - Overview

Our Mission Statement:

The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, a nonprofit corporation, collects, preserves and displays examples of mechanical ingenuity and crafts associated with the early days of the American farm and rural community. The Museum offers educational and recreational opportunities to the public through exhibits, demonstrations, activities and programs displaying the art of invention fulfilling necessity. Acknowledging the past provides direction for the future.

pic of satellite view of museum

Located on 55 acres of rolling farm ground, 2011 will mark the 35th year the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum has been in Vista. Over that period our Museum has grown to become one of the premier educational and recreational facilities in North San Diego County. With around one thousand volunteers, our Museum's collections focus on the 1849 through the early 1960's era with exhibits that actively demonstrate farm equipment and tools from horse drawn through modern row crop.

Unique from traditional Museum, our collection is maintained in operating condition and used during a wide range of events held here on the grounds. Volunteers operate our equipment to help maintain and repair, our property and our collections. While our Museum is operated as a semi-static museum most days we do have active demonstrations throughout the week. Our Weaving exhibit is open every Thursday for demonstration and teaching. Blacksmithing is taught and demonstrated every Saturday from beginning through advance classes and our N' Scale Model Railroad building is open every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

While all of our exhibits are here on a daily basis for you to come look at and enjoy during our June and October Tractor Shows (June 18th, 19th, 25th & 26th, 2011 and October 15th, 16th, 22nd & 23rd, 2011) our whole grounds come alive with activity. Visitors have the rare opportunity to see crops taken from the field through to the kitchen. Traditional crafts and trades include farriers, weavers, rope makers and woodcarvers. Volunteer members supply support and man [and woman] power for all Museum programs and operations.

During this time just as in the 19th century, our Farmhouse is the center of activity. In our country kitchen volunteers show what a farm wife did. Using cold food storage options like the ice box and cooking on a coal and wood burning stove. Our volunteers prepare fresh bread and cookies, and there are tasty complimentary samples. In our country parlor volunteers show how a farm woman spent her days. Sewing clothing for the family and quilt making on turn of the century foot treadle sewing machines.

On our farm we have a Blacksmith shop and a Wheelwright shop. Steam and gas, stationary and mobile, industrial power units. Each year we grow a crop of winter wheat, demonstrating local dry land farming techniques. During our twice yearly tractor shows, we demonstrate harvesting and shocking. Our Gristmill grinds crops into flour that you may purchase at a reasonable cost. During the summer months we grow a crop of irrigated Sorghum Cane, which is harvested and processed into Molasses, during our October Tractor Show.

The nature of our Museum's programs evokes nostalgic memories of rural lifestyles and family traditions. More importantly, we believe it offers a means for young people to learn about and build upon the reassuring foundations of the past. It is our Museum's goal to capture an important element of our society and preserve it for present and future generations.

The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum is literally a self sustaining non-profit corporation. The bulk of our Museums operating budget comes from activities and events promoted, planned and manned by our volunteer members. Our museum is also generously supported by the County of San Diego which provides our 55 acre museum site; and numerous corporate sponsors. Many of our Museum's educational programs, exhibits and our endowment fund are funded via grants and individual donors. Our museum is registered as a non-profit corporation and all gifts of collection items, cash or tangible property are tax deductible. Contact our Museum office for details.

Our collections number well over 20,000 items, ranging from a 300 HP Allis Chalmers Corliss stationary steam engine with a 19,000-pound flywheel, to rare manuals and photographs. In recent years new buildings have been completed to house and exhibit our collections.

We have educational programs from pre-school through college internship studies. Our museum's elementary program, School of Times Past, continues to expand to meet demand. Internship studies in Museumology, Collections Management and Small Business Administration are offered. Our Museum currently sponsors a Cub Scout Troop, a Boy Scout Troop (744), and the Buena Vista 4-H.