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Our Mission: History inspires imagination, stimulates thought and transforms society.

The Los Altos History Museum preserves and shares our local history to enrich our community and to shape a more informed future.

inspire explore celebrate

Current Exhibit

Spirits Return: Cultural Traditions Keeping  Memories Alive
October 29, 2015 - April 17, 2016

Human beings all over the world follow traditions by which they honor and celebrate their ancestors. These rituals and celebrations often share similar elements, like visiting the graves of loved ones with food and drink, or erecting altars to honor the departed, and inviting them to come back to visit. We tell stories, so that those who never knew their ancestors connect to their heritage, and those who did know them continue to remember.

These traditions cultivate a sense of identity and nurture values of family loyalty and pride. This new exhibition is a multi-cultural look at how we remember our loved ones who have passed on.

Exhibit Programs

Ikebana Flower Show
Saturday & Sunday, March 19 & 20, 2016noon-4pm
Los Altos Library, 13 So. San Antonio Road, in the Civic Center. Free.

Join us to view beautiful flower arrangements by Katsuko Thielke (bio) and her students and learn more about the art of Ikebana at a free two-day Ikebana pop-up exhibit brought to you by the Los Altos History Museum and the Los Altos Library in conjunction with the Museum's current exhibit Spirits Return: Cultural Traditions Keeping Memories Alive. Live demonstration: 1pm both days.

4.2 —Family Day at the Museum

32nd Annual Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest

2016 Theme – Traditions and Stories that Celebrate Your Ancestry

Think about a tradition that is special to your family.  Think about stories that are specific to members of your family or ancestors.  Interview or talk to a family member about these stories or traditions.  Write an essay that tells others about your family tradition or ancestral story.  As you write, develop an essay with an organized flow of ideas, use interesting vocabulary, and communicate your story or tradition in a creative manner.

To download the writing prompt, click here.

New Exhibit at the Historic Smith House

Visit the Los Altos History Museum to get a glimpse of early Los Altos. Photos from the Museum's collection are now on exhibit on the second floor of the 1905 J. Gilbert Smith house and show early businesses and industry, the influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and what community life was like. A special section is dedicated to photos showing the Smith Family and their home.

Open Thursday-Sundaynoon-4pm. Free.

Upcoming Events

exhibit events

2.20 & 4.9-Learn how to build your dream train layout in 2 workshops. No experience required. $30, or 2/$50. 10am

March-launch of the  Essay Contest for 2nd-6th grades. Prizes awarded in May at the Ice Cream Social & City Council meeting.

3rd & 4th  grade school tours, weekdays 9-noon in April & May. Teachers & Homeschoolers: contact us to join in.

4.28-new exhibit opens: Many Communities, Many Voices: Personal Narratives from the Oral History Collection. Reception 5.1

Info: 650.948-9427 x14 or hello@losaltoshistory.org

Schedule subject to change: know what's going on-join the Museum or SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTICES on our website.

Bob Grimm Memorial

On May 2 friends and family gathered to celebrate and honor the life of Bob Grimm who passed away on March 21 while on vacation in Tanzania, Africa. Below is a video of the memorial service. You can also watch it by clicking here.


LAHM in My Out & About Magazine

The Los Altos History Museum was voted the best museum for Silicon Valley and the Coast by readers of My Out & About Magazine in their annual "What Do Locals Love" ballot!


Virtual tour of the J. Gilbert Smith House

Check out the virtual tour of the J. Gilbert Smith House on YouTube done by the Library: 3 chapters! Watch below or click here.


County History Today is a video series that highlights points of interest and historical sites in Santa Clara County, California. This video is the first part of a series of three videos that showcases the J. Gilbert Smith House in the City of Los Altos, CA.

Support LAHM through AmazonSmile!

Bookmark the Los Altos History Museum AmazonSmile page and use it every time you shop at Amazon.com. By using this link, 0.5% of your eligible purchase total will benefit the Los Altos History Museum.




The Los Altos History Museum

Snoopy Plate from California Association of Museums

Did you know that Snoopy supports museums like the Los Altos History Museum? Pre-order a Snoopy license plate here and support all California museums! Once 7,500 license plates are sold, a new museum grant program will be established by the state. Plus, how cute will Snoopy look on your car!

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