Los Altos History Museum

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

Ginger Summit, past Board Member for the Museum, has a wonderful display of her felt art up at the Los Altos Library. Sh...
01/18/2020

Ginger Summit, past Board Member for the Museum, has a wonderful display of her felt art up at the Los Altos Library. She dyes the wool herself too. Up for a limited time, so don't miss it!

Three cheers to @los_altos_communityinvestments for supporting Los Altos History Museum as a Corporate Member! They're h...
01/16/2020

Three cheers to @los_altos_communityinvestments for supporting Los Altos History Museum as a Corporate Member! They're helping us preserve the stories of our local community for generations to come.

The Friends of the Library of Los Altos need the support of the community to keep storage sheds near the library for the...
01/15/2020
Happening now in Walnut Creek, CA, United States

The Friends of the Library of Los Altos need the support of the community to keep storage sheds near the library for the used books they collect and sell. They need 2000 signatures on their petition! To let them know you support their efforts, please click on the link below to add your name.

Keep the Friends of the Library on the Los Altos Civic Center Campus. 260 signatures are still needed!

Three cheer to the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos for supporting the Museum as a Corporate member! They're a volunteer organi...
01/15/2020
Los Altos - Kiwanis International

Three cheer to the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos for supporting the Museum as a Corporate member! They're a volunteer organization located in the heart of Silicon Valley that raises money for scholarships and grants programs, and gives back to Los Altos through community service. To find out more about The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos, visit their website at http://www.losaltoskiwanis.org/

Rachael Myrow from KQED stopped by the Museum today to interview Ann Hepenstal, City of Los Altos Emergency Preparedness...
01/11/2020

Rachael Myrow from KQED stopped by the Museum today to interview Ann Hepenstal, City of Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, about tomorrow's event, "Be Prepared for the Big One." Stay tuned in the morning to KQED to hear what they had to say!

Curious about what a big earthquake feels like? Drop by the Museum this Saturday (Jan. 11, 10am-3pm) to ride the BIG SHA...
01/09/2020

Curious about what a big earthquake feels like? Drop by the Museum this Saturday (Jan. 11, 10am-3pm) to ride the BIG SHAKER, the world’s largest earthquake simulator! Don’t miss this chance to learn more about how you can get prepared for the Big One.

01/08/2020

What better way to build community than through group singing?

Don’t miss your last chance to see “Ham for the Holidays: Amateur Radio Operators, Then and Now”! This exhibit closes on...
01/02/2020

Don’t miss your last chance to see “Ham for the Holidays: Amateur Radio Operators, Then and Now”! This exhibit closes on Sunday, Jan. 5.

As we look ahead to 2020, all of us at the Museum resolve to bring you an exciting lineup of new exhibits, from art to p...
12/31/2019

As we look ahead to 2020, all of us at the Museum resolve to bring you an exciting lineup of new exhibits, from art to photography, stories of migrant farm workers to stories of the women's suffrage movement.

We resolve to continue offering free admission to the Museum for all visitors, engage our young residents through educational tours, involve the community through fun and informative programs, and welcome new and returning members, donors, and volunteers.

Thank you for being a part of our Museum family. Best wishes to you and yours, now and always.

History lesson for the day.
12/31/2019

History lesson for the day.

French painter Henri Matisse was born on this day in 1869.

He’s considered the founder of the Fauvism art movement, which used large flat areas of bright color and strong lines while keeping to traditional subjects including landscapes and portraits (https://bit.ly/2RN0ZWK). Later in his career, he spent three years planning and working on the Chapelle du Rosaire in France. Originally he was going to do stained glass work, but eventually “painted murals and designed everything inside and out, including vestments and liturgical objects” (https://bit.ly/2snWzew).

Patrons can learn more about Matisse at the Library: https://bit.ly/35uNqQ5

12/27/2019
Ep 4: Daniel and the Sea of Sound | SEARCH ON

Ep 4: Daniel and the Sea of Sound | SEARCH ON

When a young music lover follows the call of whales, he finds his own path. Google’s docuseries ‘Search On’ tells the stories of people on a quest for better...

It's time for some Friday Fun! Share your favorite story of 2019.
12/27/2019

It's time for some Friday Fun! Share your favorite story of 2019.

The Museum's oral history team interviewed Chinese painter Hau Beirne to preserve his story. https://industryglobalnews2...
12/27/2019
Highlight: Chinese painter's legacy saved at U.S. historical center-Industry Global News24

The Museum's oral history team interviewed Chinese painter Hau Beirne to preserve his story. https://industryglobalnews24.com/highlight-chinese-painters-legacy-saved-at-us-historical-center

Industry Global News24 - News solution that helps you connect and engage with target audiences in Business, Healthcare, Technology, Industry Latest News, Updated News, Latest trending News on industry across the world.

The staff of the Los Altos History Museum is enjoying two days off for the holiday. We are so grateful to be part of the...
12/25/2019

The staff of the Los Altos History Museum is enjoying two days off for the holiday. We are so grateful to be part of the Los Altos community, and we hope we bring a little joy to your world with our programs and exhibits. Here's to 2020!

It's time for some Friday Fun!
12/20/2019

It's time for some Friday Fun!

It's Friday the 13th, time for Friday Fun!
12/13/2019

It's Friday the 13th, time for Friday Fun!

It was our pleasure to have such dedicated and generous community members at the museum!
12/12/2019
2019 LACF Donor Appreciation Evening - %

It was our pleasure to have such dedicated and generous community members at the museum!

It was a festive celebration on December 5th, as LACF celebrated our donors at our 2019 Donor Appreciation Evening. Special thanks to the Los Altos History Museum for allowing us to use their beautiful facilities, to our event sponsor, Boston Private, and our annual sponsors WealthArchitects, Cal Wa...

Margaret Smith collected books and loved reading, so in that spirit we're launching a History House Book Club for Member...
12/12/2019

Margaret Smith collected books and loved reading, so in that spirit we're launching a History House Book Club for Members to get to know each other through a shared love of reading. Every other month, we’ll choose a work of history or historical fiction to read and chat about. First up: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Ann Barrows. Enjoy an evening in the Smith House discussing great books with new friends! Free to attend, but RSVP to Amy Ellison at [email protected]. First meeting is Tues., Jan 14th, 4-5:30pm.

If you're not yet a member of the Museum, join today at https://www.losaltoshistory.org/support/join/

A shout out to Al Holstein for building our new Docent desk, and to Wayne Hooper and Ken Parker for helping out! A group...
12/10/2019

A shout out to Al Holstein for building our new Docent desk, and to Wayne Hooper and Ken Parker for helping out! A group of Docents made good use of it at their cookie exchange yesterday. Quite festive!

Finding puzzle clues in the Escape Room in the J. Gilbert Smith House. These participants found the hidden treasure afte...
12/10/2019

Finding puzzle clues in the Escape Room in the J. Gilbert Smith House. These participants found the hidden treasure after piecing together all the clues, given by teen docents posing as ghosts of the Smith family in our first Escape Room last Friday night. What fun!

It's time for some Friday Fun!
12/06/2019

It's time for some Friday Fun!

Come shop our gift boutique in the J. Gilbert Smith House, and save 50% on everything you buy! We have unique gifts for ...
12/06/2019

Come shop our gift boutique in the J. Gilbert Smith House, and save 50% on everything you buy! We have unique gifts for the holidays, including notecards, jewelry, toys, garden decorations, ornaments and wreathes, books, and more! This half-price sale is on through the end of December, but items won't last, so come soon. Open Thurs-Sun, noon-4pm.

We'll also share tips on safety in the house year-round!
12/06/2019
Workshop shares tips for practicing holiday safety at home

We'll also share tips on safety in the house year-round!

Denise Gluhan, Los Altos Hills County Fire District emergency services manager, will lead the workshop, which also will highlight general emergency preparedness techniques. Gluhan, a retired Santa Clara County Fire captain, has extensive community outreach experience and has taught classes on emer

Grants available for emergency preparedness projects!
12/05/2019
Preparing for emergencies? There's a grant for that

Grants available for emergency preparedness projects!

“All California residents know that we should be prepared for earthquakes, wildfires and other emergency events, but sometimes it’s hard to get started,” said Ann Hepenstal, community emergency preparedness coordinator. “By offering these grants, the city wants to motivate neighborhoods an

Join Sunnyvale CERT in welcoming Dr. Tom Brocher for a discussion on preparing for the next Bay Area earthquake. And the...
12/03/2019
How to Prepare for the Next Big Bay Area Earthquake

Join Sunnyvale CERT in welcoming Dr. Tom Brocher for a discussion on preparing for the next Bay Area earthquake. And then come to our Shakeout Event on January 11 from 10am-3pm at the Museum, where you can ride an earthquake simulator!

Please note: Tom Brocher's talk will be given in Sunnyvale. You can register for it below. For the Shakeout Event, register at https://www.losaltoshistory.org/events/be-prepared-for-the-big-one/

Dr. Tom Brocher presents "How to Prepare for the Next Big Bay Area Earthquake"

What's missing from this photo? The tank on top of the Tank House! It didn't blow away in the recent storm. It's all par...
12/03/2019

What's missing from this photo? The tank on top of the Tank House! It didn't blow away in the recent storm. It's all part of the reconstruction project underway!

Thank you to all our volunteers who greet our visitors, maintain our lovely gardens, fix what's broken, organize our col...
11/28/2019

Thank you to all our volunteers who greet our visitors, maintain our lovely gardens, fix what's broken, organize our collections, work in the gift shop, help out on committees, take oral histories, and SO MUCH MORE!

Thank you, also, to everyone who visits the Museum to learn about the stories of Los Altos.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/28/2019
County of Santa Clara, California

For more holiday safety tips, come to our free workshop at Los Altos History Museum, Dec 11, 7-8:30pm.

Are you using the oven to cook holiday meals and treats?

Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from a hot stove.

Turn pot handles toward the back or side of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.

Move dish towels, bags and other objects that can burn away from the stove.

Keep an eye on what you fry. Fire could start when heat is too high.

If the oven is on fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed to suffocate the flames. If fire continues, call 911.

#CookSafely #FireSafety #HolidayBaking

County of Santa Clara, California
11/28/2019

County of Santa Clara, California

During this chilly and rainy weather, remember to check frequently on family members, friends and neighbors that are older or experiencing medical conditions to make sure their homes are adequately heated and that they are safe and protected from this extremely cold weather. Older adults can be more at risk of hypothermia because they often produce less body heat due to a slower metabolism and less physical activity. Learn about cold weather precautions for aging adults at: http://bit.ly/2GMIjTa
Consejos para gente de edad avanzada durante temporadas de frio (Spanish): http://bit.ly/2RrwFS4
年長者過好寒冬的秘訣 (Chinese): http://bit.ly/2s1jQj0
Vietnamese: http://bit.ly/2Ajuiqq

Come shop for unique gifts at the boutique in the J. Gilbert Smith House, Thursdays-Sundays, 12-4pm. All items 50% off t...
11/23/2019

Come shop for unique gifts at the boutique in the J. Gilbert Smith House, Thursdays-Sundays, 12-4pm. All items 50% off through the end of December!

11/20/2019

We are so excited to have Egen Chorus Program helping us "catch the spirit"!

Holiday Boutique at Los Altos History Museum! Volunteers are setting up the holiday boutique for tomorrow's event, "Catc...
11/20/2019

Holiday Boutique at Los Altos History Museum! Volunteers are setting up the holiday boutique for tomorrow's event, "Catch the Spirit." Please join us for free music and treats, and get a headstart on your holiday shopping!

Thanks for all you do to help keep our community safe!Left to right: Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management D...
11/19/2019

Thanks for all you do to help keep our community safe!
Left to right: Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management Director Dana Reed, City of Los Altos Police Department Captain Scott McCrossin, Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Ann Hepenstal, Los Altos Hills County Fire District General Manager J Logan, Los Altos Police Services Manager Judy Maloney

Amateur Radio emergency communications volunteer John Kristian demonstrates his radio set-up to Nadja Jackson from the L...
11/19/2019

Amateur Radio emergency communications volunteer John Kristian demonstrates his radio set-up to Nadja Jackson from the Los Altos Community Foundation. Thanks for being a part of our Emergency Volunteer Appreciation Night last Thursday!

At our Emergency Volunteer Appreciation Night, Nadja Jackson, Block Action Team Program Manager at the Los Altos Communi...
11/19/2019

At our Emergency Volunteer Appreciation Night, Nadja Jackson, Block Action Team Program Manager at the Los Altos Community Foundation, showcased emergency preparedness supplies along with projects funded by the 2018-19 City of Los Altos Community & Emergency Preparedness Grant Program.

It's time for some #FridayFun!
11/16/2019

It's time for some #FridayFun!

The Los Altos Kiwanis Club supports the Los Altos History Museum as a Corporate Member! Show them your love by getting y...
11/16/2019

The Los Altos Kiwanis Club supports the Los Altos History Museum as a Corporate Member! Show them your love by getting your Christmas tree at their tree lot.

We had a great time honoring our emergency volunteers last night. Thank you for all you do to keep our community safe!
11/15/2019

We had a great time honoring our emergency volunteers last night. Thank you for all you do to keep our community safe!

It's time for some Friday Fun!
11/08/2019

It's time for some Friday Fun!

Earthquake Country Alliance is holding a workshop on Wednesday, Nov 13 beginning at 8:30am. Dr. Jennifer Strauss will gi...
11/05/2019
Earthquake Country Alliance: Welcome to Earthquake Country!

Earthquake Country Alliance is holding a workshop on Wednesday, Nov 13 beginning at 8:30am. Dr. Jennifer Strauss will give a presentation regarding MyShake. Nadja Jackson will discuss Los Altos Block Action Teams, and Stephanie Charles will share Mountain View CERT activities as they relate to earthquake preparedness. Jamie Jones of the USGS will talk about lifeline infrastructure in the HayWired scenario. In addition,there will be a discussion about faith-based preparedness and activities from Los Altos Lutheran Church. Attendees will be encouraged to share upcoming plans for earthquake preparedness events.

You can register here: https://www.earthquakecountry.org/bayarea/nov13workshop/

Please invite colleagues in your professional network to attend this workshop. Working together we will further our goals to promote and improve preparedness, mitigation and resilience. Grant funding for ECA activities is provided by the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Earthquake a...

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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Join me in Apricot Heaven with this new blog post! Come join the Blenheim fun at B&R Farms U-Pick July 13 from 9-3, Andy's Orchards Farm Tour & Tasting July 20 from 10-2, and a Book Talk August 1st at Books Inc. Campbell at 6 pm.
Our orchardist, Phil Doetsch will be leading a walk on Saturday. Join us to learn what he does to keep our apricot trees healthy!
Celebrating the beauty of spring blossoms and the fruit we look forward to in summer is a longstanding tradition. Enjoy this new blog post!
Here are some thoughts about my love of apricots and orchard history in a new blog post that springs from my recent TV interview.
I hope you will join us in a day of celebration with Lisa's new blog post, National Apricot Day! There are so many ways to enjoy California’s most wonderful fruit, even in January.
Los Altos Golf and Country Club golf course and clubhouse in Los Altos, California aerial - Copyright 2018 David Oppenheimer - Performance Impressions aerial photography archives - prints and licensing: www.performanceimpressions.com
The Saratoga IOOF and Saratoga Historical Foundation are co-sponsoring a free lecture Nov. 10 by Lisa Prince Newman based on her new book, “For the Love of Apricots: Recipes and Memories of the Santa Clara Valley.” The lecture and the book cover the region’s orchard heritage, when it was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight, with a focus on the apricot. Lisa Prince Newman’s book combines history, personal memories from a childhood in Saratoga surrounded by orchards and recipes using apricots. The lecture starts at 5 p.m. at the Saratoga IOOF, 14414-A Oak Street, Saratoga.
Sharing the Joy of Apricots with you in this new blog post!
Talented curator Jane Reed of the Los Altos History Museum shares many local stories in "Right Here," honoring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. My grandfather, Joseph Roy Chapman, is just one of the featured veterans. The exhibit opens today. I'll be a docent today so please stop in, noon-4 PM, 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos.
Apricots are ripening and arriving soon and so is my cookbook with recipes and memories of the Valley of Heart's Delight!
Its #GivingTuesday! I love working in Non-Profit, but it can't be done without the support of the community. Give to a cause passionate to you whether that be animal rights, history, health, or environmental!
I hope you enjoy this new blog post about Apricot Orchard Generations!