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The Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum Review

Dhilan Patel, Staff

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The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California is a non-profit organization that collects, preserves, and restores historical mechanical items. The museum uses these exhibits to give the public an opportunity to learn about past machines by showing you scale models, describing the history of certain exhibits, and classes you are able to participate in. The tour is self guided, but you can still meet people who can give you more information about what you are looking at and how it works. Admission for this tour is free for children under six, three dollars for children from 6-12, 5 dollars for adults and 4 dollars for adults 65 and older, which is not super expensive pricing. The rest of this article will review the museum under three categories of it’s exhibits, the tour itself and pricing.

First of all, the area is very large, which brings space for lots of outdoor and indoor exhibits. There is an area where you can see old steam engines, a steam powered train that you can ride in around a small exhibit, even an old Ford model ‘T’! The majority of the exhibits are outdoor, and it gets very hot and dry during the tour. But, they have other exhibits indoor such as a collection dating from the 1800’s and a blacksmith’s area where you can watch people create various things out of metal. You are also allowed to drive your car around the exhibits when walking in certain conditions can be annoying or hard. Overall, I would give this part of the museum a 4 of 5, since you can interact with objects and look at ancient machines, but having an experience outdoor might give controversy.

The self guided tour can also give controversy, because some people might like learning things independently, and others might like to have a guide give them information. Not to worry, there are people around the museum that you can talk to, and they can answer a lot of your questions as well as give you historical info. Something that is very unique about being independent on a tour is that you can choose which exhibit you want to enter first, and have the ability to learn what you want. You don’t have to walk into a museum and run through a speedy or slow tour that is directed by a tour guide. You are able to learn at a pace that you want to. Because some people might like a tour guide more, opinions may vary but I give this a 4.5 out of 5, because you can be independent in the museum, and there are people around the area who can answer extra questions that you have.

Pricing for this museum can be expensive, but that is if you bring a lot of people that are older than 12. I didn’t see any water fountains during the tour and the gift shop was selling water for $1.50, and that just adds on to how much you are spending on a day. Even though a lot of money could be spent, the money is used to recover and restore the old machines you see at the museum. They move the old tractors to the carlsbad flower fields to raise money, and spend that money restoring all of the historical machines. They hold an event during the last two weekends of June and the last two weekends of October to parade the restored vehicles around the area, where a lot of people come to see them all. Auctions are also held for broken clocks and watches from the exhibit, and there are lessons you can take for horology, blacksmithing, and weaving arts. I would give this a rating of 5 out of 5, because things can get pricey if you bring a lot of people, but you are using it for a cause that can educate everyone in the future.

All in all, this museum can be given a rating of around 4.5 out of 5, for its great opportunity to learn by yourself with the help of assistance and looking at various exhibits, but with a cost that is a little on the expensive side. Exhibits are large and contain a huge collection of amazing mechanical pieces of history. Looking at what you are interested in when you want to is nice, because you don’t have to waste time on things that aren’t interesting to you. Pricing can be expensive, but it helps preserve history as we know it through machinery. I recommend going to the museum with your family and friends if you are interested in technology from past times, or just want a fun pass time activity for an average family it is an good price.

 

Museum Website: http://agsem.com

 

Address: 2040 N Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA

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