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 the use of the land over time has transformed the agricultural paradise once known as the "Valley of Heart’s Delight" into the high technology hub of today’s Silicon Valley.
Opened in spring of 2001, the Los Altos History Museum resides in an impressive three-level, 8,200-square-foot building built entirely with private donations; building ownership was transferred to the City of Los Altos in 2002. The Museum features a changing exhibits gallery as well as the permanent exhibit, "Crown of the Peninsula," that describes the rich history of Los Altos. There’s more history just across the lushly landscaped courtyard in the landmark J. Gilbert Smith House. Built in 1905, the home is nestled under majestic heritage oaks and has been meticulously refurbished to replicate a farmhouse of the 1930’s. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens and picnic tables even when the House and Museum are closed.
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 the community via interactive exhibits and hands-on activities aligned with Museum objectives. Other programs include third and fourth grade tours and curriculum for local school children, oral history collections, the traveling Ohlone kit, and much more.
Changing Exhibit Gallery
Enter the doors of the Los Altos History Museum and enjoy the changing exhibit gallery that features up to four different exhibits a year. These exhibits are designed to reflect historical content and local artifacts relevant to this area. Our lecture and educational programs further augment and enhance exhibit presentations.
Permanent Exhibit Gallery
Located on the upper level is the Museum’s permanent interactive exhibit, "The Crown of the Peninsula," which depicts the uses of local land and its inhabitants over time. 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.
Audio Tours available
Be sure to shop at the museum store that features a wide array of unique items for sale including cards, toys, books, commemorative objects, and one-of-a-kind gifts that appeal to all ages.