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  • Elsy Hernandez

Voted Best Educational Destination!

Since its opening, the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum has strived to curate an educational and engaging experience for all visitors, and today this mission continues.

The museum has various ways of doing this. Each year, MCARLM hosts their "4th Grade

History Jamboree" during which 4th grade classes from local elementary schools receive a California Gold Rush experience. This includes things like exclusive pop-up exhibits that fit right into their history curriculum among other things like gold panning, eating era-correct foods, and learning what it was like to be a student at this time.

Additionally, on a daily basis MCARLM works to maintain their historic buildings – the Gloria School House, the Spreckels House, and the Train Depot – which are open Tuesday to Sunday and available for tours. For a unique and charming experience that relates history to the present, MCARLM is a must-see destination.

MCARLM not only teaches you about their community’s rural and agricultural past, but lets you experience it too. The three buildings are authentic from the 19th and 20th centuries and furnished with donated pieces from their corresponding eras. The tour guides will walk you through each building as they recount the facts and details of an average day in these buildings. A tour of the Gloria Schoolhouse will greet you with the ringing of its vintage yet fully functional bell. Once inside, you can sit in any of the room’s bountiful desks as your tour guide explains ornate details like the discrepancy in the desk sizes and the Schoolhouse’s elaborate history. Our immersive tours connect you with history on a deeper level so that you will have a fun and memorable visit.

On the weekends your tour guides will be the MCARLM local high school interns. The MCARLM intern program takes four high school upperclassmen annually and trains them as museum tour guides. The intern tour guides are young history enthusiasts who will deliver an energetic and distinctive experience. Their comprehensive knowledge of pop-culture and the latest world events bring to life the times of the past. Their modern lenses help you better understand the significance of Monterey County history. It is an especially great opportunity to catch a tour on weekends when visiting the museum with younger kids; the younger tour guides will easily connect with them and help make their visit as entertaining as possible.

While the museum specializes in agricultural and rural history, the information it showcases is dynamic and diverse. The exhibits range from local indigenous tribes to California Vaqueros to the advertising styles of local produce. The outside exhibits also display various forms of rural living: the small schoolhouses of the time, a typical farmworker’s home, a local train depot, and many old-school tractors. Even if you don’t relate to the rural lifestyle itself, the museum’s varied exhibits will offer you something worthwhile.

The museum itself is located in the beautiful San Lorenzo Park making this a perfect day trip. After your visit to the museum you can enjoy your day at the park with a picnic or scenic walk. A visit to MCARLM is a fun and educational trip for the entire family or solo visitors as well!

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