Los Altos History Museum

Los Altos History Museum One of the top 25 museums in Silicon Valley (2012 San Jose Business Journal Book of Lists)

Located in one of the few remaining apricot orchards of Santa Clara Valley, the Los Altos History Museum explores the rich history of local people and how land use over time has transformed an agricultural paradise once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight into the high-tech hub of today’s Silicon Valley. With the mission to “collect, preserve and interpret the history of the Los Altos area,” the Museum provides educational opportunities for children and adults to learn about our community via exhibits and hands-on activities. Educational programs include 3rd & 4th grade curriculum tours, the annual 3rd-6th grade essay contest, oral histories, traveling Ohlone kit, and much more. Opened in spring of 2001, the Museum resides in a three-level, 8,200-square-foot building which houses a changing exhibits gallery as well as the permanent exhibit, Crown of the Peninsula. The heart of this exhibit – and a key attraction for children of all ages – is a replica of downtown Los Altos in 1932 that features a model railroad and many of the sights and sounds of that era. Visitors can also take a journey with the Ohlone Indians, Mexican land grantees, early California settlers, and apricot growers as they make what is now Los Altos their home. Learn about more recent Silicon Valley residents who have transformed the area from vast orchards to a culturally diverse community and high technology hub. There’s more history just across the lushly landscaped courtyard at the landmark J. Gilbert Smith House. Built in 1905, the Craftsman-style redwood home is nestled under majestic heritage oaks and has been meticulously refurbished to replicate a farmhouse of the 1930s. Enjoy outdoor agricultural equipment displays, the 1915 tank house, and a 3-seat outhouse. Visitors enjoy the gardens and picnic tables even when the House and Museum are closed.

Congrats to State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria for winning 1st place with their apricot pizza in the savory categor...
07/03/2019

Congrats to State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria for winning 1st place with their apricot pizza in the savory category of the Apricot Tasting Competition at the #ApricotSTEMFair2019. So yummy!

A big shout-out to Jonas Dino from NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Silicon Valley who captivated ev...
07/02/2019

A big shout-out to Jonas Dino from NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Silicon Valley who captivated everyone at the #ApricotSTEMFair2019. He brought a rock that came all the way from the moon!

Thanks to Dr. Nellie Meyer, Julia Lovin, and Mayor Roger Spreen for judging the apricot tasting competition at the #Apri...
07/02/2019

Thanks to Dr. Nellie Meyer, Julia Lovin, and Mayor Roger Spreen for judging the apricot tasting competition at the #ApricotSTEMFair2019. The entries were all so delicious, they had a tough job choosing the winners!

07/02/2019

Where were you on October 17, 1989?

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the disastrous Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the entire Bay Area. In partnership with the City of Los Altos, the Museum is developing a new exhibition to commemorate this event and help visitors get ready for the next emergency. Our Community Prepares: Acts of Nature, Then and Now will open September 19, 2019.

As we develop this exhibition, we hope that you will consider sharing your own experiences with us. Do you have stories, photos, or artifacts related to the Loma Prieta earthquake or other local natural disasters? How did these acts of nature affect your lives? How did our resilient community come together to help each other cope and rebuild? What steps have you and your family taken to prepare for the next one?

Please feel free to respond below in the comments or email our Exhibition Curator, Dr. Amy Ellison, at [email protected].

Everyone loved Go Go Biblio! Thanks for participating in the #ApricotSTEMFair2019.
07/02/2019

Everyone loved Go Go Biblio! Thanks for participating in the #ApricotSTEMFair2019.

The Go Go Biblio sure had fun at the Los Altos History Museum's Apricot Stem Fair yesterday! Keep an eye out for the Go Go Biblio at community events all summer. You can check out books, learn about library programs, or just come say hi - we would love to see you!

One of the entries for the Apricot tasting contest received an honorable mention for creativity in design and plating - ...
07/01/2019

One of the entries for the Apricot tasting contest received an honorable mention for creativity in design and plating - TreMonti's Apricot inspired dessert complete with green marzipan "leafs". Thank you for your entry!

07/01/2019

We had a wonderful time at the Apricot STEM Fair today!

We are looking forward to a cooking demonstration from Lisa Prince Newman at the Apricot STEM Fair on Sunday June 30th. ...
06/29/2019

We are looking forward to a cooking demonstration from Lisa Prince Newman at the Apricot STEM Fair on Sunday June 30th. See her make salsa and compote from her For the Love of Apricots cookbook from 10am to 12:30.

Would you like your apricot beverage served by a robot? Come see the CotBot in action at the Apricot STEM Fair this Sund...
06/27/2019

Would you like your apricot beverage served by a robot? Come see the CotBot in action at the Apricot STEM Fair this Sunday, June 30, 10am-3pm. It's free to attend! Apricot beverages provided by Robert Moreno and CotBot, via the Google Home Hub. #ApricotSTEMFair2019

Ever wonder about the journey of a water drop? Find out more at the Apricot STEM Fair June 30 from 10am-3pm at Los Altos...
06/26/2019

Ever wonder about the journey of a water drop? Find out more at the Apricot STEM Fair June 30 from 10am-3pm at Los Altos History Museum. Santa Clara Valley Water District will be offering a fun game of chance! SCVWD

Guess who's participating in the tasting contest at the Apricot STEM Fair June 30? These fine Los Altos establishments. ...
06/25/2019

Guess who's participating in the tasting contest at the Apricot STEM Fair June 30? These fine Los Altos establishments. Come taste their apricot dishes, and see who wins the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize! Tasting contest is from 11am-1pm, and costs $5 a ticket. The Fair is free to attend! #ApricotSTEMFair2019

Asa Los Altos
Bumble
Cafe Nur
Draeger's
Gourmet Works
Original Pancake House in Los Altos
Present Los Altos
Red Berry Coffee Bar
State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria
Tre Monti restaurant

Learn to cook with an Instant Pot from award-winning personal chef Joni Sare on July 8 from 6-pm. Space is limited, so r...
06/25/2019
"Slow Food" Cooking Class: Instant Pot | Los Altos History Museum

Learn to cook with an Instant Pot from award-winning personal chef Joni Sare on July 8 from 6-pm. Space is limited, so register now!

Jul 08, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm - "Slow Food" Inspired Cooking Class with Joni Sare A class for those who want convenience in their kitchens and a shortcut to good healthy food using an Instant Pot. The [...] "Slow Food" Cooking Class: Instant Pot

Have you ever seen a moon rock up close? In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we have invited NASA Ames...
06/20/2019
Apricot STEM Fair | Los Altos History Museum

Have you ever seen a moon rock up close? In honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, we have invited NASA Ames Research Center to participate in our Apricot STEM Fair with some hands-on activities and the chance to see a moon rock! Don't miss this FREE family event. June 30, 10am-3pm https://www.losaltoshistory.org/events/apricot-stem-fair-2/ #ApricotSTEMFair

Jun 30, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm - In the spirit of our local pioneers and entrepreneurs, this fun family event will provide an opportunity to explore hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities presented by local [...] Apricot STEM Fair

We're looking forward to tasting Draeger's apricot specialty at the food tasting contest at Los Altos History Museum's #...
06/19/2019
Apricot STEM event features family-friendly activities

We're looking forward to tasting Draeger's apricot specialty at the food tasting contest at Los Altos History Museum's #ApricotSTEMFair on June 30.

In the apricot specialty tasting competition, visitors can sample their way through the museum’s latest exhibition, “Silicon Valley Eats: A Taste for Innovation,” by purchasing a $5 ticket. A panel of judges will award ribbons to the winning dishes submitted by local residents, restaurants a

A big shout-out to Eco City Cycles for the pedicabs that shuttled our special guests to Friday's Garden Party in style. ...
06/18/2019

A big shout-out to Eco City Cycles for the pedicabs that shuttled our special guests to Friday's Garden Party in style. And to Jeannette Arnold for peddling. What fun!

Cheers to The Post in Los Altos for creating a signature cocktail, the "Los Altan," for our Garden Party Evening of Memo...
06/18/2019

Cheers to The Post in Los Altos for creating a signature cocktail, the "Los Altan," for our Garden Party Evening of Memories & Mysteries. The concoction of apricot brandy, Bulleit Bourbon, lemon juice and syrup was delish! Bottoms up!

Thank you to all who attended the Winchester Merriman Garden Party. The funds we raised at this evening of Memories and ...
06/18/2019

Thank you to all who attended the Winchester Merriman Garden Party. The funds we raised at this evening of Memories and Mysteries will support the Museum's changing exhibition program, ensuring that we continue to preserve and share the stories of our community.

It's #NationalDoughnutDay! In 1938, women of the Salvation Army served doughnuts to American soldiers in World War I to ...
06/07/2019

It's #NationalDoughnutDay! In 1938, women of the Salvation Army served doughnuts to American soldiers in World War I to boost morale. To honor these soldiers, and the "Doughnut Girls" who sweetened their day, the Museum is giving FREE DONUTS to our 1st twelve visitors today! We open at noon.

Friday, June 7, is #NationalDonutDay! This sweetest day of the year was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army to commemo...
06/06/2019

Friday, June 7, is #NationalDonutDay! This sweetest day of the year was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army to commemorate the women who served fresh donuts to American soldiers as a way to boost morale during World War I. The "Donut Lassies," as they were called, increased the popularity of the donut in the U.S. when the war ended.

To honor the soldiers, and the women who sweetened their day, the Museum will give out FREE DONUTS to the first TWELVE VISITORS on Friday who visit our exhibition, "Silicon Valley Eats: A Taste for Innovation."

Join us for the opening reception of our exhibit Gadgets Galore! Transforming the American Household. Sunday, June 2nd, ...
05/30/2019

Join us for the opening reception of our exhibit Gadgets Galore! Transforming the American Household. Sunday, June 2nd, 2-4pm. The exhibit will be on display in the J. Gilbert Smith House through Sept 15.

Congratulations to Jane B. Reed for her outstanding volunteer service at Los Altos History Museum! Jane won the Special ...
05/30/2019

Congratulations to Jane B. Reed for her outstanding volunteer service at Los Altos History Museum! Jane won the Special Recognition Award at our appreciation event yesterday evening. Senator Joe Simitian presented the award, alongside the Museum's Executive Director Elisabeth Ward.

Do you have an apricot specialty dish worthy of a blue ribbon? Enter our apricot tasting contest, judged by a celebrity ...
05/23/2019

Do you have an apricot specialty dish worthy of a blue ribbon? Enter our apricot tasting contest, judged by a celebrity panel, at our Apricot STEM Fair June 30 from 10am-3pm. Museum member Nomi Trapnell won first place last year for her Apricot Brie Tartletts!

Show us your culinary talents in these categories: appetizers or preserves, entrees, and fruit or dessert. The only rule: apricots must be an ingredient. Enter by June 7! For an entry form, email [email protected].

Cheers! We look forward to more cocktails like these in the future!
05/23/2019

Cheers! We look forward to more cocktails like these in the future!

A shout-out to Rustic House Oyster Bar & Grill - Los Altos for participating at our Modern Mixology event last night wit...
05/23/2019

A shout-out to Rustic House Oyster Bar & Grill - Los Altos for participating at our Modern Mixology event last night with a futuristic drink that bubbled and steamed! Wowza!

Thanks to all who attended our Modern Mixology event last night! We enjoyed drinks from the future prepared by Rustichou...
05/23/2019

Thanks to all who attended our Modern Mixology event last night! We enjoyed drinks from the future prepared by Rustichouse, Wine Meats Cheese, and Institute for the Future. Some brave souls even snacked on crickets!

Are you a teen looking for a fun, interactive volunteer experience? The Museum is launching a new Teen Docent Program. D...
05/21/2019
History Museum Launches Teen Docent Program | Los Altos History Museum

Are you a teen looking for a fun, interactive volunteer experience? The Museum is launching a new Teen Docent Program. Deadline to apply is June 15! #volunteer #teen

LOS ALTOS, CA (May 21, 2019) – Los Altos History Museum announces the formation of a teen docent volunteer program, a free opportunity for teens to fulfill volunteer hours and enhance their college resume in a fun and interactive way. Following a week-long training seminar July 15-19, participants...

There's still time to purchase a ticket to Sunbeam Foundation's fundraiser! Deadline is May 23.
05/21/2019
History Museum Joins Sunbeam Foundation in Raising Funds to Beat Ewing Sarcoma | Los Altos History Museum

There's still time to purchase a ticket to Sunbeam Foundation's fundraiser! Deadline is May 23.

We live in the Valley of Heart’s Delight, surrounding ourselves with technology, innovation, fertile soil and temperate climate, an open door to success. I’ve nurtured my own heart’s delight here as a member of the Sunbeam Foundation, an organization aimed at finding a cure for Ewing Sarcoma, ...

And if you're feeling particularly adventuresome, try the drink made from crickets!
05/21/2019
Modern Mixology | Los Altos History Museum

And if you're feeling particularly adventuresome, try the drink made from crickets!

May 22, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm - Join us for happy hour and expand your palate with tasty and innovative cocktails. Creative drinks made by Rustic House and Wine Meats Cheeses, and cocktails of the future designed [...] Modern Mixology

A big shout out to LAEF - Los Altos Educational Foundation for holding their fundraiser event at the Museum last night. ...
05/17/2019

A big shout out to LAEF - Los Altos Educational Foundation for holding their fundraiser event at the Museum last night. We love to host local nonprofits like LAEF who do great work in the community. The Foundation’s donors provide over a million dollars of support to the local school district!

Visit our website to find out about our nonprofit rental rates.

Congratulations to Covington Elementary School for taking home the prize trophy for the most winning essays written by s...
05/17/2019

Congratulations to Covington Elementary School for taking home the prize trophy for the most winning essays written by students for the Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest! We hope these young scribes continue to share their work with the world.

Congratulations to the winners of the Margaret Thompson Essay Contest. These young writers impressed us with their creat...
05/17/2019

Congratulations to the winners of the Margaret Thompson Essay Contest. These young writers impressed us with their creative response to our prompt, "Inspired by Juana!" based on our exhibition about Juana Briones. The students wrote about what they admired in this 19th-century healer, advocate, and landowner, and how they were inspired by Juana to make a difference in the future. The contest was a collaboration between the Museum and the City of Los Altos Historical Commission. Thanks to all the students who submitted their work!

You're making us hungry!
05/17/2019
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

You're making us hungry!

A generous helping of two types of chips -- semisweet and milk chocolate -- makes these soft, cakey cookies even more tempting than usual.

Calling all doggie owners!
05/17/2019

Calling all doggie owners!

Calling all canines (and their owners)! Do you have a fashion-forward pooch? Do they have what it takes to strut their stuff on the runway?

Then consider joining LACF's fiscally-sponsored program, Together We Can (TWC), for its first-ever Dog Fashion Show, June 1, 3:00-5:00pm at Los Altos Community Foundation. The show will benefit Pets in Need and TWC.

For tickets and more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/twc-dog-fashion-show-tickets-61185849523

We had a great time dancing to the tunes of Big Basin Acoustic last night. Thanks to all who attended the event! Next We...
05/16/2019

We had a great time dancing to the tunes of Big Basin Acoustic last night. Thanks to all who attended the event! Next Wednesday from 5-7pm is Modern Mixology. Should be fun!

05/15/2019

Music in the *Museum tonight! Join us for this free program and Museum open hours, 5pm to 8pm.
*moved indoors on account of the storm!

Come in from the rain this evening and enjoy music at the Museum with Big Basin Acoustic. Browse our new exhibit, sip wi...
05/15/2019

Come in from the rain this evening and enjoy music at the Museum with Big Basin Acoustic. Browse our new exhibit, sip wine, nibble tasty treats. We're open from 5-8pm! Hope to see you.

Congratulations to Museum Board Member Julie Rose for winning the 2019 Walter Singer Award through the Los Altos Chamber...
05/14/2019
State of the Cities - Los Altos & Los Altos Hills

Congratulations to Museum Board Member Julie Rose for winning the 2019 Walter Singer Award through the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce. She will be honored for her "undeniable impact in the Los Altos community" at a State of the Cities luncheon Friday, June 7th 2019 - 11:30 - 1:15 PM at Fremont Hills Country Club.

Mayors Lynette Lee Eng of Los Altos and Roger Spreen of Los Altos Hills will also present on the state of their cities.

More info: https://www.losaltoschamber.org/events/details/state-of-the-cities-los-altos-los-altos-hills-2257

Come join us for a luncheon featuring the Mayors of our two cities - Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Mayors Lynette Lee Eng of Los Altos and Roger Spreen of Los Altos Hills will present on the state of their cities.

Our Museum Shop is the perfect place to pick up a last minute Mother's Day gift. Open Noon to 4pm today and tomorrow!
05/11/2019

Our Museum Shop is the perfect place to pick up a last minute Mother's Day gift. Open Noon to 4pm today and tomorrow!

A big shout-out to Robin Chapman and Dr. Gloria Hom for the fascinating talk last night about Bayside Cannery owner Thom...
05/10/2019

A big shout-out to Robin Chapman and Dr. Gloria Hom for the fascinating talk last night about Bayside Cannery owner Thomas Foon Chew. Thanks for sharing stories about this cannery pioneer! Robin Chapman

Our night of Magic at the Museum was a hit! Magician Phil Ackerly had us all laughing with his comedy and tricks. Thanks...
05/10/2019

Our night of Magic at the Museum was a hit! Magician Phil Ackerly had us all laughing with his comedy and tricks. Thanks to all who attended!

Looking for a fun family activity for tonight? The Museum will have a free magic show in the courtyard at 6:30pm. Come o...
05/08/2019

Looking for a fun family activity for tonight? The Museum will have a free magic show in the courtyard at 6:30pm. Come on by and enjoy the fun!

Address

51 S San Antonio Rd
Los Altos, CA
94022

Directions to the Los Altos History Museum: VTA bus 40 runs along San Antonio Road - get off at downtown/main library stop. From El Camino Real: Turn South onto San Antonio Road (toward the mountains). Go past the third traffic signal and take the next left into the library parking lot. Continue through the parking lot until you see the History Museum on the left. From Foothill Expressway: - Going Northwest, turn right on San Antonio Road. Go north to the Los Altos Library and turn right into the library parking lot. Continue until you see the History Museum on the left. - Going South, turn left at Edith Avenue. Continue to the intersection at San Antonio Road, Main Street and San Antonio Road. Turn right onto San Antonio Road and immediately move into the left turn lane to turn into the library parking lot. Turn left and continue through the parking lot until you see the History Museum on the left.

General information

The Museum and J. Gilbert Smith History House are open Thursday-Sunday, noon-4pm, and are FREE. We are closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. For more information, go to www.LosAltosHistory.org. The Museum is located behind the Los Altos Main Library in the Civic Center area on San Antonio Road. It is a short walk from the Library to the charming J. Gilbert Smith historic house, museum and gardens nestled under shady heritage oaks. Disabled parking is provided; the Museums is wheelchair accessible. The J. Gilbert Smith House does not have wheelchair accessibility to the second floor; a visual guide is available for those unable to access the second floor. Self-Guided and Docent Tours Available Explore the main museum on your own or opt for a docent guided tour at no additional charge. The J. Gilbert Smith House requires a docent guide. A free audio tour is available at the Museum Store for the upper level permanent exhibit. Special tours may be scheduled for groups of ten or more; a month’s lead time is required. Please call 650.948.9427, Ext. 89.

Opening Hours

Thursday 12:00 - 16:00
Friday 12:00 - 16:00
Saturday 12:00 - 16:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(650) 948-9427

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