- Past Tents: The Way We Camped
- Sat, Sep 10 - Sun, Jan 01
- Gateway Science Museum - Chico
- Museums & Historical Sites
- Total event:
- Places left:
- Total waiting list:
- Places left waiting list:
Sept 10-Jan 2011 | Wed–Fri 12–5 pm | Sat–Sun 10 am-5 pm
625 Esplanade, Chico
Adults $5 | Children $3 | Free for members
Presented by The Gateway Science Museum
Take a whimsical excursion through one of our favorite pastimes — Camping!
Past Tents explores camping in California from post-Gold Rush times to the mid-1900s. Early camping was an enterprise of independence, simplicity and festivity. It offered a change of pace, the splendor of scenery, and an opportunity to be close to nature and escape the trappings of society for a time.
Through whimsical photos, vintage canvas tents, and 3-D images of a by-gone era, you’ll explore three camping themes:
Round the Campground
The location and character of campsites were as varied as their inhabitants. They ranged from the simplest blanket-and-fry pan outfits to elaborate, open-air housekeeping extravaganzas. There was wood to gather, tents to stake, and socks to wash, but also hikes, swimming holes, and general all round festivity that is part of camp trappings. In the evenings there were songs, skits, and stories around the campfire. But mosquitoes, scorpions, boot blisters, critter-commandeered food supplies, heat and chill, lost trails, and sudden downpours could also plague outdoor living.
Hitting the Trail
When pleasure parties first took to the hills they hit the trail on foot, on horseback, or by steamboat, visiting, singing, and sightseeing as they went. Some early campers took as little as a bedroll, a pair of boots and some food, depending on the local flora and fauna to supply their vacation needs. Others took the servants, the living room rug, the bathroom cabinet, and the kitchen sink, lugging it all along with the help of wagons or mules.
Open Roads, Open Fires
With the invention of the automobile, autocamping quickly became a popular diversion. Autocampers packed tents, cots, and other equipment on their running boards and took long scenic journeys, even though, with bad roads and multiple breakdowns, the average speed was only 20 mph. They set their own schedules, planned routes far off the beaten tracks, and camped on the side of the road, in open fields and barns along the way.
“Past Tents: The Way We Camped” was produced by the California Historical Society and The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, and based on the book co-published by Heyday Books and The Bancroft Library in 2006. The exhibition tour is organized by Exhibit Envoy.
For more information please visit www.gatewayscience.org or call (530) 898-4690.
- Gateway Science Museum - Website
- 625 Esplaade
Next to Bidwell Mansion
The mission of the Gateway Science Museum is to create a life-long learning environment that enables people to explore, interpret, and celebrate the magnificent natural heritage of our region through science, research, and education.