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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

3.19-20 —Ikebana Show

4.2 —Family Day at the Museum

Crab Feed

Join us for a community tradition!
29th Annual Crab Feed & Auction
a fundraiser benefiting the Los Altos History Museum

Saturday, February 6, 20166-10pm
St. William Parish Hall, 611 S. El Monte at Covington, Los Altos

More room in the beautiful new space at St. William on So. El Monte -easy to find, park and navigate!

* Round tables for spacious seating and easy conversation!

* Legendary auction items, Reserve-Your-Place events, and stunning themed baskets!

* Fun, casual atmosphere and, of course, tons of CRAB! (our supplier assures us we will have plenty!)

6pm: Silent Auction & Social Hour

7pm: Fresh cracked crab Dinner, warm sourdough bread, green salad, dessert and coffee. Cash bar for beer & wine.

8pm: Live Auction and Basket Drawings.

Tickets $95/members, $110/non-members.
Tables of 8 or 9 and 10 or 11 available.
Download, print & mail your order form here.

Your support keeps our Museum flourishing! Thank you for helping preserve and share  our local history to enrich our  community and to shape a more informed future.

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.

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.

Vintage Tintype Photography

Now on exhibit in the Smith House Gallery

Coinciding with the current exhibit Reflect + Create: Where Art & History Intersect, Emmy Award-winning instructor, Russell Brown from Adobe Systems, recently taught a workshop on Vintage Tintype Photography. Participants learned how to create "new" vintage tintype images using inkjet-printed emulsion transferred onto aged metal. The end result is reminiscent of the photographic processes of the late 1800s including tintypes, cyanotypes, and ambrotypes.

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.


Support the Museum!

It's not too late to contribute to the Los Altos History Museum's 2014-2015 annual campaign. Click here to download our Annual Fund Donation Form, then mail in your gift today! Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

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!

Quick Links:
Click on these links for more info

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