The Miniature Engineering
Craftsmanship Museum
in Carlsbad, CA

Hundreds of metalworking projects exhibiting outstanding
craftsmanship at the small end of the size scale



  Click photo to view larger image
3190 Lionshead Avenue,
Carlsbad, CA 92010.
(760) 727-9492,

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Federal Tax ID No. 93-1221845

Hours of Operation

Thursday through Saturday 9AM - 4PM
(Closed Holidays)

Admission: Free

Monetary and display donations are
welcomed and are tax deductible.

Overview Of The Museum
  The on-line version of our museum offers us the chance to honor the work of many craftsmen world-wide without having to possess any more than photographs of their work. We maintain a growing collection of excellent craftsmanship projects at the physical museum in Carlsbad, California. The museum, which opened in February, 2011, includes the work of the world's best craftsmen. We also maintain a growing collection of the most significant small machine tools of the past and present. The facility includes a well equipped machine shop manned by volunteer craftsmen, making it possible for visitors to watch a machinist at work. This facility will also become a gathering place where the best craftsmen can share problems and solutions with others at their high skill level in hopes of advancing the level of work for all. Our book collection features titles by some of the best craftsmen and also includes books covering the use, care and history of tools. Both are now open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM (Closed holidays). Groups and clubs are welcome, but a heads-up regarding groups of over 10 people is appreciated so we can be sure to have enough docents on hand to serve you.  CHILDREN - Children under 12 must be supervised at all times by an adult. The displays are oriented more toward what would be of interest to an adult, and the display cases are raised so adult viewers don't have to bend over too far. Although supervised children are welcome, exposed machine tools in the working shop can be dangerous and the glass-enclosed displays are not generally of a nature thatwould appeal to kids unless they have an interest in building things. The museum, however, can be an inspiring place for young people with a desire to learn how tools are used and how things are made. Keep in mind the purpose of the foundation is to acknowledge and reward craftsmanship, which is not something generally appreciated until you get a little older.  


Museum Facility

Our new building in Carlsbad, CA is over two and a half times the size of our former location in Vista and opened February 7, 2011. It houses the new machine shop, display area and foundation offices. All displays are located on the ground floor providing full handicapped access.


The Carlsbad museum is laid out on one floor for easy viewing.

If you are interested in being a part of the museum staff as a volunteer, please contact us.

Items on display in the museum have been donated by some of the world's finest craftsmen or their families. Louis Chenot's 1/6 scale running Duesenberg SJ is a featured exhibit. Young Park's 1/16 scale Corsair was sought by both the San Diego Aerospace Museum and the Smithsonian, but we were fortunate to have Mr. Park donate it to us along with his newly completed P-51 Mustang. Barry Jordan's 1/14 Bridgeport mill is the only example of his world famous work on display in the United States. A donation by the niece of the late Rudy Kouhoupt brought a very large engine collection by one of the most significant model engineers of our time to our facility. World renowned clock maker William R. Smith has donated his gold medal winning Strutt epicyclic train clock.

More exhibits are being added all the time. We solicit the donation of any significant items by craftsmen who either have no family to leave their life's work to or simply desire that it go somewhere where it will be properly maintained, displayed and appreciated by others in their field.

We are an approved 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are tax deductible at full appraised value, which might offer a sizeable tax advantage to a retired craftsman or to his family.

Click on the above image to view a 6-1/2 minute video walk-around tour of the Carlsbad museum that opened February 7th, 2011.


Panorama of the museum main display area (circa 2017)

Below are a few pictures from the early days of the museum in Carlsbad - Click on any of the below pictures for a larger image

Young Park's famous aluminum Corsair and P-51

The delicate brass sculptures of Szymon Klimek, the engraved watch tools of Roger Ronnie and the 1/14 scale Bridgeport mill by Barry Jordan

Engines from the Paul and Paula Knapp collection

Outside is a picnic area overlooking a riverbed to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather

               Panoramic photos from the past (Click on any photo for the larger image)

Shot from halfway up the stairs, this angle looks out over the museum main display area from above.

This angle is looking from the lounge area toward the main room. Young Park's aluminum P-51 is on the far right.

From the main aisle looking toward the display area. The front entrance is on the far left.

This is a similar angle to the previous one from the main aisle but from a higher angle. The Riggles Novi V8 Sprint car is in the center.

Seen from the west side wall of the main room, the tool display is on the far left against the back wall.

A 180° look from one of our GM coach models to the other looking from the back toward the front of the building.

This 2-case display is on temporary loan courtesy of the Miniature Arms Society. It  features over 70 fine miniature guns and knives.



World Class Duesenberg SJ by Louis Chenot is one of the best automotive models ever built

June and Louis Chenot pose with the model Duesenberg on the day the museum acquired it in 2013.
Lou Chenot spent 10 years and over 20,000 hours creating the 6000+ hand-made parts to build this miniature car, and it is now on permanent display at the Carlsbad museum. Duesenberg only built 588 cars total, and this is accurate enough to be considered #589. It features a running-straight eight, 32-valve engine, working 3-speed transmission and operational top, doors, steering, lights and more. The display includes some of the jigs and fixtures Lou used to shape the metal parts and mold the tires. There is also an extensive photo record of the various stages of the project.  


Miniature Engineering Museum Engine Collection Display Courtesy of Paul and Paula Knapp

Paul Knapp and Joe Martin shake hands upon the delivery of the engine collection to the museum. The new display now includes these additional 140 engines housed in glass display cases, each with their own information card telling about the engine. (Click any photo to view a larger image.)

In April, 2008 the museum received on loan a selection of 51 miniature engines from the collection of Paul and Paula Knapp. The Knapps host the site and have displayed portions of their large collection at the Denver Airport, Deer Valley Airport, Champlin Air Museum and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in the past. In 2009, we added another 90 engines. Although Paul Knapp is a skilled craftsman himself, and several of the engines in the collection are ones he built himself, he has an abiding interest in unique and well made small engines that inspired the collection. We are very fortunate to be able to share some of these fine examples with the public in our own museum. The varied collection includes radials and rotary aircraft engines, V-4, V-8 and V-12 engines, horizontally opposed engines, in-line engines, hit-n-miss engines, outboard motors and miniature rail and tether cars.

Another addition to the museum displays as of April, 2008 is the 1854 Smith & Wesson "Volcanic" lever action pistol in 1/3 scale. The miniature was built by Master Miniature Gunsmith David Kucer of Canada and engraved by a specialist in miniature arms, Roger Samson.

2003 Craftsman of the Year Barry Jordan from England donated this award winning 1/14 scale Bridgeport mill model, which is one of the most popular exhibits with the machinists who have spent many hours working on the full-size version. Even the scaled-down rotary table works.

The Museum Machine Shop

The new machine shop in Carlsbad is about three times the size of the old shop and contains several new machines. The second photo shows the Hardinge toolroom lathe that was just added and has since been repainted to a more original gray color. We are seeking volunteer machinists to work in the shop. (Click on any photo to view larger image.)

In 2006 the Foundation hired expert tool maker Tom Boyer of Escondido, CA to be the shop craftsman. Tom worked for over five years building engines and other project so visitors could see quality machining in progress. He also helped out by hosting tours through the shop and museum. Tom has retired in 2011 and now Dave Belt, a retired toolmaker is there to carry on with the work. Museum staff oversee the rest of the museum.

Machine Shop Tools

The museum's machine shop is well equipped to take on miniature projects. In addition to a Sherline 4400 lathe and 2000 milling machine for miniature parts, the shop has a Bridgeport knee mill with DRO, A Bridgeport EZTRAK with CNC assist, a Shopfox 14 x 40" lathe, a Hardinge toolroom lathe, a Deckel GK21 pantograph mill and a new larger Deckel mill as well, a DoALL bandsaw, a SunMax grinder, a Nikon 6C optical comparitor, Starrett Grade A 48 x 36 x 8" granite surface plate, Z-Corp 310 3D prototype printer, 2 Baldor pedestal grinders, a McCulloch 9" bandsaw, Delta 2" belt sander, Dumore mini drill press and a Sherline CNC cam grinder. We also have a tool room well equipped with hand tools and measuring equipment. CLICK HERE to learn more about what a machinist does and how his tools are used.

The first project Tom Boyer completed was a Seal 4-cylinder internal combustion engine. He also completed a second engine—a V4 designed by Jerry Howell. You can see parts being made in person or follow the build by going to the links above. Both engines are now run for visitors to the museum. The current project in progress is a Kinner 5-cylinder radial aircraft engine.

The museum display includes a collection of significant small machine tools from the past and present. The smaller machines are in the glass case at the left, while the larger, heavier lathes are displayed on metal shelves. The tools can be seen in detail HERE. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Visit with your group or club

On Saturday, March 9, 2009 we were visited by the Poway Cruisers car club (Left) and the Airheads BMW motorcycle club. In addition to our regular local visitors, this made for a busy day for the museum staff. Tom Boyer, Larry Simon, Craig Libuse and Joe Martin himself were on hand to talk with the many visitors. Since opening the new museum, it has become a popular destination for local hotrod, vintage car and motorcycle clubs as well as other civic organizations.

Group Tours—If you have a club or group that would like to tour the museum on one of the regular days we are open, please give us a call at (760) 727-9492 or (760) 727-5857. If you are bringing a large group it is always helpful for us to know in advance. We have hosted many local senior living groups, car and motorcycle clubs, a home shop machining club, clockmakers and many other groups. We are open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. (Closed holidays) We can open specially for groups of 10 or more on Wednesdays or Thursdays with at least two weeks advance notice. We will be happy to schedule your group. CLICK HERE to see a few groups who have visited the museum.

Making Contributions to the Foundation or Museum

What happens to your work when you're gone?

If you have spent a lifetime developing your skills and making models, engines, knives, guns, clocks or other items exhibiting fine miniature metalworking craftsmanship, you can assure they will be preserved in your name in the future by donating them to the museum. Often the alternative is to leave them to a family member who may or may not value them as highly as you do. Many of the finest items left behind by craftsmen end up sadly at swap meets or on eBay as the family members or friends seek to turn your work into cash, not recognizing the true value of the craftsmanship involved. Our goal is to see that not only is the craftsmanship put on display to educate and inspire others, the craftsman's name will forever be attached to the work. How often have you seen fine steam engines listed on eBay without a mention of who built it? This is a tragedy we hope to correct by showing others that fine work by metalworking craftsmen is every bit as valued as a painting or sculpture by a fine artist.

How to make a tax deductible contribution that benefits you now

The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship is a 501(c)(3) organization under US Tax Code. This means anyone paying taxes in the United States and making a contribution to the Foundation or the museum can deduct the full value of the donation from their income as it relates to their US income taxes. Consult your accountant for full details, but please keep this advantage in mind if contemplating what to do with your collection or if you would like some of your money to go to support craftsmanship.

Almost every item we have on display in the museum has been donated by concerned craftsmen and family members wishing to honor their work. By donating your work while you are still alive you can take advantage of this tax break, plus you can also enjoy seeing your work displayed in a fine museum setting for others to enjoy. This does not mean your kids will have nothing to remember you by. In fact, we suggest for most craftsmen who have built multiple items to select their very best work for donation to the museum, so that is how they are remembered by their fellow craftsmen, and divide their remaining work among their family. The rest of the family will value their own gift even more highly when they can send their friends to the museum web site to see how the family craftsman who made it has been honored among his peers.


In general, items valued under $5000 do not need a formal appraisal in order to be eligible for a deduction. For more valuable items we recommend you have an appraisal done before making the contribution in order to back up your evaluation should the IRS ever question it. Even for items under $5000 it is always best to have some sort of appraisal or proof of comparable value or purchase price on record to assure there are no problems with your deduction. Appraisals for the IRS require an experienced, credentialed appraiser and can cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the amount of research that must be done. The more unique the item, the more research must usually be done to find comparable sales to establish a realistic value.


One of the easiest ways to support craftsmanship and the museum through the Foundation is through a bequest in your will. A bequest may be included in the body of a will or as an amendment  or "codicil." Here is a sample of a typical bequest:

"I give and devise to the Joe martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship, or its successor, the sum of ____ dollars ($____) (or list the specific item you wish to donate) to be used for such purpose as the Board of Directors of the Joe Martin Foundation deems appropriate; provided, however, that at the time of such gift, the Joe Martin foundation or its successor remains an eligible organization under the terms of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."

To find out more or to make a contribution, contact Foundation Director, Craig Libuse. See the CONTACT PAGE for address, phone and e-mail numbers.

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