A Place to Call Home: Two Centuries of California Living
On exhibit April 25 to October 6, 2013
Houses give us more than shelter. They give us a place to belong. Since the arrival of the first Spanish settlers, our homes have evolved in style, size and use, reflecting our changing lifestyles and cultural values. Over time, we’ve developed a unique sense of “California Living,” and changed the way people live in other places. This original new exhibition focuses on house architecture of the past 200 years - and beyond.
“Two basic premises underlie the exhibition” states volunteer curator and art historian Jan Masters, “that architecture and related aspects of our built-environment reflect our core lifestyle values, and are influenced by them. And that understanding the past will help us make better choices for the future as participating members of our local communities--and our world.”
With images, text and artifacts intended to spark interest in local history as shown through the evolution of the typical single-family home in California, the exhibition includes an overview of changes in architectural styles, forms and functions, materials and use of space indoors and outdoors through our history.
The talented volunteer committee has researched many aspects of home life. “We’re exploring sociological questions, like what makes a house a home, and what makes it change?” Masters adds. “How do houses change lifestyles, and how do changing lifestyles change our houses?” To help tell this story, the exhibition looks at the technology of everyday life, from letters and rotary dials to tablets and smartphones. Kitchen evolution, from an open fire to microwave ovens, is explored through the history of a chicken dinner. With two centuries of home-building reflected, historic preservation and the sustainability of new buildings are featured.
A series of supporting programs and family-friendly activities will take place at the museum and at other venues in and around Los Altos from May through September.
May 1-31: Satellite exhibit at the Los Altos Main Library
• Historic Preservation in a Sustainable World - panel discussion
• Preserving Landscapes – award-winning intl. landscape firm SWA
• The Evolution of the Chicken Dinner (kitchens over time)
• The House of the Future - Gary Hedden, GreenTown Los Altos
• Connections, Communications, Community - art historian Jan Masters
• Mid-Century Modern - author Heather David
• Making Miniature houses - artist Melissa Houle
• Historic Los Altos Tours