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Victorian Home Opens to Public as Window on the Past

The Kellogg House, at left, a renovated Victorian home on an 11-acre parcel in Santa Ana, will be opened to the public today as part of an effort by the Exploratory Learning Center to give visitors a hands-on experience of history and science.

Guided tours of the historic home, which adjoins Centennial Regional Park, will offer the public a chance to “explore and experience what life was like in Orange County at the turn of the century,” says Kay Crawford, ELC’s projects coordinator.

The Kellogg House and the other buildings are the historical component of what is to be a discovery museum. ELC program director Susan Moore-Laux said that in about three to five years the organization wants to start work on a science museum and a natural science park at the site.

Moore-Laux said the learning center would like to apply history and science together and yet give the park the “quality, the excitement, the entertainment and the recreation of Disneyland.”

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She said the center has taken as its models the restoration of colonial Williamsburg, Va., and the Greenfield and Ford’s Museum in Detroit.

Learning Center officials said the Kellogg House has been restored to its original design, and everything inside (the shoes above, for example) is faithful to the era.

The tour is made up of six 20-minute segments, Crawford said, with four segments conducted inside the Kellogg House. The other two segments--in the citrus grove and at the historical plaza--deal with agriculture and games.

The Kellogg house was built in 1898 by Hiram E. Kellogg, a map maker and civil engineer who lived in Orange County during the Victorian era.

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The idea for the learning center originated with the Santa Ana School District, and the land was donated by the federal government. The district decided to build a museum on the property in 1977, but decided it was not feasible. As a result the ELC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1981 to take over the project.

In the picture at left is Karen Johnson, executive director of the Exploratory Learning Center, and Ray Warren, a board member.


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