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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.

Exhibit Information

Current Exhibit:

Reflect + Create: Where Art and History Intersect
May 7 - October 4, 2015

Artists, makers and creators from throughout the broader community have been creating new work inspired by items in the Museum collection. “Creating things is uniquely human,” says exhibit coordinator Johanna Fassbender. “It connects us to the world around us and is a form of storytelling. Objects in museum collections also inspire storytelling and can help us draw unexpected connections to contemporary issues and perspectives.” To that end, several objects and oral histories were chosen from the collection as the starting point for this exhibit; local artists, makers and creators are being inspired by these old things to create something new and original that explores their connections to our past, and present.

Exhibit Programs:

Historic Techniques -  Panel with California Artists
Thursday, September 24, 7pm

Join us for a fascinating panel discussion with California artists working at the intersection of art, science, and history. As part of the discussion, the artists will show off their work, and we'll finish the evening with a documentary/performance by Ben Wood about British photographer Eadweard Muybridge - via a magic lantern - which will bring the audience back to the experimental period of the 1870s when Muybridge captured the horse in motion.

This program is a partnership between the Los Altos History Museum (LAHM) and the California Historical Society (CHS).

$5 for LAHM and CHS members, $10 for non-members. Register by calling 650-948-9427 x14.

The photo shows video work by Ben Wood from 2011. It was a video installation projected onto Saint Ignatius Church in San Francisco on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Photos & Stories Wanted for New Museum Exhibit

How do you keep memories of your loved ones alive?

The Los Altos History Museum is looking for your stories and photos for its new exhibition, Spirits Return – Cultural Traditions Keeping Memories Alive, opening October 29, 2015. The exhibit will showcase how different cultures remember, honor and celebrate their ancestors--around the world and right here in the Bay Area--including Dia de Los Muertos (Mexico), Obon (Japan), Qing Ming and the Hungry Ghost Festival (China), Chuseok (Korea), Shradh (India), All Saints and All Souls Days and Memorial Day.

How we remember our ancestors is very personal. Our diverse volunteer committee has been doing lots of research, but we need community stories and images to bring real meaning and impact to the exhibit. How do you honor, celebrate and remember your ancestors? Do you follow specific traditions? Have you created your own traditions? We would love to hear from you! Share your stories and images by September 30 using this form or contact Johanna Fassbender, jfassbender@losaltoshistory.org or 650.948.9427 x16.

Past Exhibit Programs:

May is Preservation Month and Museum Month!
Wednesday, May 20, 5:30pm & 7pm
Join us at the Museum at 5:30pm for a reception and historic plaque presentation by the Historical Commission. Then meet at the Los Altos Library for a special program at 7pm, where Krista van Laan will discuss her new book Frank Delos Wolfe: California Prairie Architecture, with a special focus on the architect’s Los Altos residences, most notably the Paul Shoup house. The book will be available for purchase. Free.


Vintage Tintype Photography
Saturday July 11, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Create a classic or wacky portrait with a vintage flair! We’ll produce that old-world look using modern-day tools through a gelatin transfer process to a distressed metal surface. The results are like nothing you have seen before: each transfer is totally one-of-a-kind and the colors seem to jump off of the metal surface. Class is full. To be added to the waitlist call Grace at 650-948-9427 x14.

Instructor: Russell Brown, Senior Creative Director, Adobe Systems
$10 Museum Members; $20 Non-Members
Proceeds benefit Museum programs


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: With mastery and breath-taking style, Russell Brown, Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems, has helped leading designers, illustrators and photographers to master the software tools that have made Adobe's applications the standard by which all others are measured. He shares his delight in testing the creative limits of his tools. 


Art/Object Photography and Lighting Workshop
Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 10am-2pm

Learn how to properly photograph an object or art piece in this workshop with Richard Dischler Photo Workshops and Keeble & Shuchat Photography. Richard and his staff will teach you how to effectively and appropriately light your object without the need for professional equipment. Bring one object/photo/art piece to photograph. Please limit the dimension of the object/art piece to 12" in length, 12" in width, 4" in height and around 3 pounds in weight. Limited to 20 students. Fee: $29. Register with Grace at 650-948-9427 x14.

Photo by Charles Mujie


Death and Life of an Object
Thursday, August 27, 7pm
Join us at the Mountain View Library for a discussion about the meanings embedded in historical and everyday materials and the ways artists have used them in creative expression. Marianne Lettieri is a visual artist who works with cultural artifacts and common objects. Her mixed media constructions incorporate visual metaphors such as architectural fragments, ephemera, clothing, and tools to explore life's preoccupations and the shared human desire to remember.

Lettieri has an M.F.A. in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University and B.F.A. from University of Florida. Her artwork is in the collections of the City of Palo Alto, Oracle Corporation, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction. More information about the artist is available at www.mariannelettieri.com.

Recent exhibitions include:
"House/Work" - Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame
"Evidence of Life" - Badè Archaeology Museum and Doug Adams Gallery, Berkeley
"Poetics of Disposability" - Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara
"Changing Context" - Azusa Pacific University
"Metaphors and Memories" - Community School of Music and Arts, Mountain View